Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
During the last years of my undergraduate degree, I became interested in Medical Genetics and the technologies that increase the potential of gene therapy in the future. Pursuing a graduate degree in this field has been the perfect path for me since I can acquire knowledge and experience while building an academic network with like-minded scientists. I also appreciate that I can receive direct mentorship from my supervisor and other members who have advanced many aspects of our global advancements in genetics.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
During my undergraduate courses at UBC, I often stumbled upon concepts that were discovered, or technologies that were developed by scientists and geneticists at UBC. During my last undergraduate year, I met my current supervisor in a Medical Genetics course and found that his lab focuses on areas that are perfectly aligned with my research interests and career aspirations. So, I chose UBC in order to integrate into the scientific community of the Medical Genetics program, a program that has been gaining traction on its reputation and is now being recognized globally.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
Initially, I was attached towards the Medical Genetics program because of the scientists who are leading innovative research. As I started the program, I found it a perfect fit for me in many more aspects. Being part of a community with like-minded peers, having the opportunity to take part in both social and academic events, and finding mentors outside of your lab who are willing to take time out of their busy days to assist you are all things that continue to attract me to this program.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
When I first started attending UBC, I was astonished by the beautiful campus. After becoming more familiar with the professors and researchers, during both my undergraduate and graduate degree, I was surprised by UBC’s contributions to the most cutting-edge research conducted globally. In addition to the academic aspects, life at UBC and Vancouver has introduced me to many amazing people that continue to support me in my journey.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I really enjoy the opportunity to attend conferences in my research area. In my first year of graduate school, I attended a nanomedicine conference hosted by UBC where I met world-renowned Canadian and international scientists. I am looking forward to attending more conferences where I can network with leaders in my field and stay up to date with their research.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Completing a bachelor’s degree that is relevant to the graduate program I am currently pursuing has been the best academic preparation. However, I believe that students should not restrict themselves to one field and must not fear stepping out of their comfort zone to explore different disciplines. While I was enrolled in a Bachelor of Biology, I started taking Genetics courses to pursue my interest in this field which led me to where I am today. I further sought volunteer positions in genetics and genomics to better prepare myself for my current graduate program.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I have always loved painting since I was very young. Now in my spare time, I spend my hours creating an old and traditional style of Persian art called Persian miniature painting. I also enjoy spending time outdoors whether it is hiking BC’s beautiful mountains, jogging, or paddle boarding.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
My advice for upcoming graduate students is to stay creative in their work. Do not be afraid to pitch new ideas and take risks; however, be prepared and back it up with appropriate research. Also, do not hesitate to reach out to people within or even outside of your program and take advantage of UBC’s amazing team to build a strong professional and social network.