Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I grew up wanting to pursue a doctorate degree - to be a scientist, to make significant positive changes in the world. So honestly? Grad school was a choice I made when I was twelve and I basically stuck with it.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I decided to come to UBC, primarily because of my current PhD advisor and the project I was offered to work on. However, Vancouver as a city, and its weather as opposed to the harsher north-east winters) played a huge part in that decision too!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I am a part of a new research team (iREACH) that focuses solely on research in air pollution and the impacts of bad air quality on health and climate. As a citizen of India (that has significantly worse air quality), it is important to me that I work on the air quality in developing countries, which is exactly what my program was offering me.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Vancouver is rated as one of the best places in the world to live in. I realized that it is actually true when I spent some time in the city over the summer! Plus, cherry blossom season and Stanley Park are beautiful perks.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I have a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Its curriculum is work-intensive and required us to spend all our time basically working. UBC is as rigorous, but being at CMU made me learn how to have a work-life balance and how not to lose myself in work.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Biking in Stanley Park is one of my favourite things to do when the weather is good. As a person who grew up in an almost desert-like environment, I feel the desire to appreciate greenery and nature as much as I can. However, during winter (basically, the period of never-ending precipitation), I prefer indoor activities such as swimming. When I get some time off, I travel. Vancouver has a lot of places you can visit over the weekend, which is always a treat for when life gets busy.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
It is very easy to drown yourself into work as a graduate student, however, Vancouver has a lot to offer and you shouldn't miss out on that (because there ALWAYS will be work to do). So relax and don't stress out too much.