Aaron Klymasz-Swartz

Physiological development of the amphibian gill; do the gills take on a dominant role for ion regulation before gas exchange as observed in developing teleost fish?
Colin Brauner
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Obtaining a graduate degree allows me to continue my passion for scientific experimentation and exploration through research. It is very self-fulfilling to be on the cutting edge of science asking brand new questions and obtaining results to support your hypothesis leading to new discoveries and even more projects.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

My previous supervisor encouraged me to study at UBC under Dr. Colin Brauner as we both thought it would be a great fit for myself and my career aspirations.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The strong comparative physiology program that UBC has to offer. We have some of the very best professors in their fields all just steps from my door.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

How many people enjoy seeing my dog Mochi when I bring him to campus. We even had a mini dog show this spring that was very enjoyable!

UBC offers a strong comparative physiology program. We have some of the very best professors in their fields all just steps from my door.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

The collaborations I get to make with other graduate students in my lab or within my department. Both professional and casual, I've made many long lasting connections and friendships through my graduate program.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

Financial support for research is very limited and probably the biggest influencing factor for my future career.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

My program is teaching me how to be flexible and budget responsibly.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

My previous academic career at the University of Manitoba. I learned what it means to be a graduate student and had lots of help along the way from my friends, family and supervisor.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I like to snowboard and play ultimate frisbee. I also commute to school on my electric longboard which is the most fun part of my daily routine.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Find a project that works with your career aspirations and interests. Not all paths will lead to academia and it is perfectly okay to change course.

Outside of your academic work, what are the ways that you engage with your local or global community? Are there projects in particular that you are proud of?

I volunteer my time to coach Ultimate Frisbee and as am the president of the Zoology Graduate Student Association. The ZGSA helps to organize the Zoology Spring Symposium which is a big annual event in the spring where the entire department highlights current research from MSc and PhD students. This year marks the 100th year for the Department of Zoology (1924-2024) so I am looking forward to helping plan a number of special events throughout the year.


Read tips on applying, reference letters, statement of interest, reaching out to prospective supervisors, interviews and more in our Application Guide!