Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree because I think scientific research is often the great intersection of art and science, which have long been my two greatest interests. I once heard graduate school described as the process of "learning to think outside the box," and I've found that to be true. The fostering of creativity and innovation is such an integral part of research and has always really appealed to me.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
After completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I wanted a change of scenery, and was in the process of applying to graduate schools all across Canada. I wanted to attend a competitive and highly-ranked graduate school that would be recognized globally after I graduated. I also love the fact that Vancouver is a beautiful coastal city close to the ocean and the mountains, you'll never run out of weekend adventure options!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
Evaluating different programs at various universities prior to choosing UBC, what really attracted me to UBC's Department of Medical Genetics was that faculty in the department, as the name would suggest, were highly focused on human medical genetics, with an eye towards knowledge translation wherever possible. This department and program give trainees a fantastic background in basic clinical genetics concepts upon which to build their research careers.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Something I wasn't expecting about attending UBC was how supportive and wonderful my department is. The Graduate Advisor and Graduate Program Assistant go out of their way to help students through their programs, ensuring that everyone is making timely progress and has the support they need.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I think undergraduate research experience was really critical in preparing me for my graduate career. Having experience working independently and managing a project on my own time was an invaluable experience that taught me what works and what doesn't. Undergraduate research experience also gave me an idea of what type of laboratory and supervisory style I wanted in a graduate school experience.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love exploring the area surrounding Vancouver and getting out into nature. I also love going on runs through the city or Pacific Spirit Park and hunting down the best local coffee shops.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
I would encourage new graduate students to choose their supervisors and laboratories very carefully! Laboratories and supervisory styles are so varied, and I truly believe that there is a "best fit" for each student. Take the time to speak to potential PI's and the members of their laboratories to understand what the lab culture is like, and compare/contrast that with what type of supervisory style you think you might thrive best in!