Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I wanted to build upon and expand my skill set to include epidemiological and bioinformatics skills. Through previous courses, I became more interested in public health and wanted to integrate my biology/biochemistry background with this. I also love the feeling of making a scientific discovery and wanted to dive further into my research area!
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I decided to study at UBC because of its strong reputation in Canada. I loved visiting Vancouver, it is close to home, and allows me to still be situated in BC. When looking for potential supervisors, I found my current supervisor was located at UBC and their research aligned well with my interests and future aspirations.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
Coming from a different background than my current degree, I wanted to have a strong foundational epidemiology skill set. SPPH offered a range of courses that taught the basic fundamental skills but allowed me to further build on them to a more advanced level. I also wanted both clinical and laboratory experience for my project. I get to collaborate with many research professionals at different sites and this allows me to have the environment I need in order to complete my research.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I grew to love the rain! Vancouver is unique in that if you want to experience the city you can but are also able to escape and go explore the mountains and surrounding nature.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
The period after I have all my required courses, comprehensive exam, and propsal defense completed is what I look most forward to. This is when the bulk of my research will be conducted and I will get to utilize the skills I have obtained from my coursework. I look forward to conducting my study and working through the potential challenges so that I can gain the experience I want.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
I think as with all graduate students, being able to find the right type of job and standing out as a competitive applicant will be challenging.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
SPPH has many divisions of research with a broad range of areas, which provides endless collaborations and the opportunity for networking. I have also had amazing mentors, especially female role-models that have overcome challenges of their own and this pushes me to strive to face my own challenges and continue in my STEM field.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
My parents have been my biggest motivators.They immigrated to Canada and as I was growing up watching their struggles and barriers they faced, they taught me the value of hard work. Throughout my post-graduate studies, I have always taken their advice and this has influenced and shaped my work ethic. They will never cease to be my motivation to keep growing as an individual and achieving my goals.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I like to explore local restaurants, go on nature walks or hikes, and take a scenic drive a few hours away to visit back home.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Getting involved is key. I found that attending workshops, seminars, talks etc really helped me gain additional support and allowed me to explore other possiblities with my research. Forming study/support groups with my cohort was helpful in us getting together to discuss things we were all experiencing. Do not be shy and miss out on opportunities!