Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I graduated with a Masters in Documentary Media (2010) from Ryerson University in Toronto. Since graduating, I often thought about pursuing a PhD, and then one day I finally decided to apply to UBC - it was the fall of 2014. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to move out west, but it just never happened. So I saw this as an opportunity to make a move out west, and most importantly, attend UBC.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
Back in 1992, I tried to transfer from Concordia University to UBC, but sadly it fell through. I always wanted to study at UBC, but it wasn't the time. Remarkably, one day as I was sitting at my desk in my office, I decided to look up PhD programs, and applied... the rest is history.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
Both. I was interested in UBC and very interested in learning more about the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. I looked through the website and quickly realized that this was the right program for me. I looked at the courses, faculty, and students and felt connected with the work they were doing. Of course, there were other countless benefits in terms of the specific research I wanted to do.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I come from northern Ontario, so the snow and the cold weather can be a challenge at times. During my first winter in BC, I was surprised that I was still riding my bike - I just feel healthier and more active. I was also surprised to see people in parkas in 10 degree weather.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I really enjoy meeting people and socializing. Moving across the country and not knowing anyone can be hard, but so far it has been wonderful. People have been welcoming and friendly, and this has made the transition so much easier for me and my family.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
I don't really focus on the challenges. I try to take things one day at a time so that I don't get overwhelmed. Furthermore, I have a lot of work experience, so I don't really worry about finding a career, and to be honest I just want to be happy. You only live once - you might as well enjoy it!
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
In the GRSJ program there are students, administration support, and faculty from different walks of life, and everyone brings very different lived experiences to the table - they all are so important and interesting. It's a small department, so there are always opportunities to get together.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I am a mature student, and I have worked as a manager in the social service sector, as well as in the arts as a media practitioner. Years ago, I made the decision to focus more on the arts, and this experience has supported my transition to becoming a full time student again. I feel confident in my choice and glad that I made the leap.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I spend time with my family. I am a mother of four sons: my oldest is 22 years old and lives here in Vancouver, and my middle child is 20 years old living in Toronto. My twins are 10 years old, and live with me and my partner. My partner is also a PhD student, so when we need to unwind, we try to spend time at the beach.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Try to live your life one day at a time. No doubt there will be times when you are faced with challenges, but don't shy away... face them! Once you face your fears, you will only grow from the experience. There are no mistakes, only experiences!