Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
As a practicing Registered Sign Language Interpreter with over a decade of experience, I have had the honor of working in a wide variety of systems and situations. Through my work, many questions arose around the complex and varied ways that interpreters can positively and negatively influence interaction and communication between people. Yet, there were insufficient resources, and research, to answer the complex questions that arose in my practice. After repeatedly witnessing the ways that the lack of resources and research negatively impact interpreters, and in turn the communities they work with, I decided I wanted to work towards changing this situation. Thus, I am pursuing a graduate degree to allow me to better work alongside the various communities who use interpreters, to help build and improve interpreter practice and services.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
Beyond the excellent reputation, I was drawn to the wide variety of research being conducted at UBC. Indeed, this variety is reflected in the course offerings at UBC, allowing me to explore a wide range of perspectives and academic traditions at a single institution. This diversity in combination with the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (ISGP) proved to be irresistible. The beauty of my bike ride to campus also helped.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
My area of research focuses on the intersection of multiple complex systems, such as interpretation theory, health policy, interprofessional communication, power, disability studies, and health equity. As a result, a discipline-bound approach to my research would, likely, be limiting. By allowing me to construct a diverse, yet specific, course of study, the ISGP program allows me to explore and integrate different ways of knowing the world into my thesis. Moreover, this diversity allows me to better prepare for the interdisciplinary research I want to conduct upon graduation.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The best surprise has been the wonderfully enriching conversations I have had with my fellow graduate students at UBC. I always expected to have the honour to study beside brilliant emerging scholars, but the depth of knowledge, curiosity, and kindness shown by my classmates has been remarkable. It has made me even more excited to come to class!
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Professionally, my interpreting practice really helped me to understand and appreciate the diversity of human experience. Moreover, it helped me to understand various social and health systems, and how they interact. In my personal life, taking time to reflect on my privileges, beliefs, needs, and feelings have been incredibly helpful in preparing me for my graduate program. Ultimately, we are the tool through which research is analyzed, so understanding yourself, and how to keep yourself healthy, is one of the best ways to improve your research.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
When I am not studying or working as an interpreter, I really love cycling, swimming, and playing dodgeball. I also deeply value my time with the people that make up my wonderful, kind, and brilliant support network. Finally, I love playing board games and table-top role-playing games (cooperative storytelling).
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
My advice to new graduate students is based on my own experience: you do not need to prove you are worthy of being a graduate student (you are already one). For me, during my undergrad, I got into a mental space of needing to prove that I could be a graduate student. So when I arrived at grad school, it was so easy to fall back into trying to prove I was worthy of being a graduate student. However, with time and support from friends, I realized I did not need to prove my worthiness. This helped me to focus on cultivating my curiosity, learning, and enjoyment in my graduate studies -and that has been a wonderful gift.