Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
My clinical experiences as a nurse drew my attention to key challenges in our healthcare system and our approaches to care with people who use drugs. I pursued graduate studies to better equip myself to address these challenges, including by advancing my research knowledge and by developing the necessary partnerships.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I was first drawn to UBC because it is one of few schools to offer dual master's training in nursing and in public health. After finishing my master's, I decided to stay in the city and because I was fortunate to have found excellent mentors at the school.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The School of Nursing at UBC has a strong reputation and is home to several faculty members who are leaders in equity-oriented research. My established relationships with my master's thesis committee and PhD co-supervisors, Drs. Emily Jenkins and Rod Knight, were big draws for me to stay at UBC for my doctoral research.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I had never been to Vancouver before moving here for grad school, so everything was a surprise! The best surprises have been the people I've met, the beautiful cherry blossoms (even though I'm allergic!), and the tireless local activism, particularly when it comes to harm reduction and human rights-based drug policy.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
My education and practice as a nurse have been instrumental in preparing me for PhD studies, especially when it comes to things like time management, prioritization, and always thinking about people and the bigger picture first. I've also gotten to work with incredible mentors who have kept me inspired while also providing tons of opportunities for learning and growth. An internship I did with the BC Centre on Substance and my PhD co-supervisor, Dr. Rod Knight, stands out as being of one of the most influential training opportunities I have had.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Make sure to find supportive supervisors and a research topic you are passionate about. Try new things, make friends, and take the time to care for yourself and to have fun alongside your studies. And learn how to say no to things and to determine when your work is "good enough"!