Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
As someone with an intrinsic drive to work for social justice, I explored many options – including direct social service, community education and organizing, and non-profit management – before deciding that research is the path through which I might make the greatest impact upon the world. After my Master's degree, I worked in an academic research job for a few years, which strengthened my desire to further my research training.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC has the most established graduate program in interdisciplinary studies in the country, one of the few in Canada to offer a doctoral degree option, and one of the largest of its type in all of North America. UBC also has very strong programs and world-class expert faculty in multiple fields on which I will draw in my interdisciplinary research. Finally, I love Vancouver and am thrilled to be based here for my studies.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
As someone who worked outside academia for several years and did my first graduate degree while parenting a toddler, I have been pleased to find that, rather than causing me to fall behind other students, my life experiences have contributed to making me a strong and effective student/researcher.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
The goal of my PhD project is to generate usable theory that can be applied to improve the way we communicate health information to pregnant youth and their health care providers, in order to improve the health of teenage mothers and their babies.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
Winning an award offers affirmation of my research plans and approach, and also allows me the financial security to focus more fully on my studies and PhD research.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Plan ahead. Daycare and housing wait lists in Vancouver can be quite long, the weather can be quite wet, and award deadlines can come quite soon in the school year, so a little prior planning can go a long way toward smoother logistics when coming to UBC Vancouver.