Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Throughout my undergraduate degree at McGill University and post-grad in a research position at Sickkids Hospital, I was lucky enough to gain research experience in several disciplines spanning nephrology, social psychology, medical biophysics, and neuroscience. Exposure to these diverse fields taught me that I loved to solve puzzles and find new, creative ways to solve problems. Pursuing graduate studies provided me with a stimulating platform to dive deeper into some of these questions and begin to contribute to current knowledge with my own work.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC offered a wonderful combination of an extremely supportive advisor, stimulating research environment and collaborative community to enhance my skills and network.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The Graduate Program for Neuroscience (GPN) offers a uniquely interdisciplinary and collaborative environment that have spurred new and interesting avenues of my research. I've benefited tremendously from initiatives like the NeuroImaging and NeuroComputation Centre (NINC) and DataBinge where I have been able to meet and collaborate with other researchers and learn new skills in a supportive environment.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Given that I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver and had worked at UBC prior to starting graduate school here, there were not a lot of surprises. However, I aim to please so here is a fact about Vancouver I found wonderfully surprising: In 1947, a law was passed in Vancouver that made it illegal to sell stoves on a Wednesday within city limits (1). Thankfully that law was overturned after ~40 years of years precarious midweek stove sales (2). sources: (1) https://www.bcmag.ca/10-bizarre-british-columbia-laws/ (2) https://www.narcity.com/vancouver/22-things-you-probably-didnt-know-abou...
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I was extremely lucky to spend two years working as a research technician in the Mouse Imaging Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children prior to starting graduate school. Here, I was always invited to ask questions, learn additional methods and techniques, and present my work to the scientific community at conferences. The time I spent here was the best preparation for graduate school I could have asked for.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Choose the environment and advisor over a specific project. Lots of things change (life and science-wise) over the course of graduate school, but having a supportive community around you makes all the difference.