Brett Hathaway

Investigating the neurological and behavioural mechanisms of risky decision making and cognitive inflexibility induced by reward-paired cues
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I've wanted a PhD for a really long time. My interests have definitely changed over the years, but the idea of honing in and studying a particular topic in-depth always really appealed to me. After taking a few courses in behavioural neuroscience, I had to keep going with it. Volunteering as a research assistant in Dr. Winstanley’s lab before applying to grad school really solidified the choice for me.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I already had a great working relationship with Dr. Winstanley from the last year of my undergrad and I felt there was so much more for me to learn and study here. I also wanted to stay close to family. Lastly, as I am transgender, it is important that I live in a city where I have access to appropriate services and I am treated with respect.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I love the interdisciplinary nature of the neuroscience program at UBC. There are many opportunities for collaboration and to learn about topics I had never dreamed of that fascinate me deeply.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Easy access to nature that has not been altered too much by human activity. Whenever I get stressed, a trip to Wreck Beach or Pacific Spirit Park really helps for grounding myself and finding some inner calm.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Many experiences in my life have taught me important lessons in self-confidence and not letting fear stop me. Also, my friends and family have supported me and encouraged me through so much, I truly wouldn't be here without them.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Writing in my journals, Tarot, spending time in nature, reading, video games, music, and of course Netflix.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Don't feel that you have to do and be everything right off the bat. There will be time to find your path, learn what you need to learn, and reach your goals. Stressing too much about it at the beginning will only hold you back in the long-run. Also, grad school has a tendency to make us feel competitive and isolated, but you will have a much easier journey and attain greater success if you reach out to the people around you.


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