Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I’ve always enjoyed problem solving and finding answers to new questions. While pursuing my undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Queen’s University, I became interested in health disease research and the problems that underlie cancer at a cellular level. Concurrently and on a personal level, I became aware of the devastating clinical phenotypes of COPD. As I grew to understand the implications of COPD and lung cancer on patient quality of life, I realized the potential to positively impact lung cancer patients on the whole by switching my focus from clinical to basic research through scientific discovery and knowledge dissemination.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The University of British Columbia offers state-of-the-art research facilities, and has an internationally-renowned reputation as a research institution. In particular, the BC Cancer Research Centre houses a prominent Lung Group that facilitates interdisciplinary communication between basic scientists, medical physicists, and clinicians. Vancouver is also an amazing city, I grew up here and couldn’t wait to move back!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was specifically drawn to the flexibility in research focus allowed by the Interdisciplinary Oncology Program. In our lab alone, we have students with biochemistry, molecular biology, and computational backgrounds. This diversity supports an environment that is truly multi-disciplinary, and I particularly appreciate how we can bring in multiple viewpoints to solve complex problems.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Definitely the strong communities that exist in and around the different UBC campuses! Even working in a lab off-campus, the support and social network of other graduate students is very welcoming and tightly connected.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Running by the water, playing volleyball, or playing board games with my friends!
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Join a lab that studies a research topic that you feel passionate about! It makes all the difference: even when you are faced with challenging research questions that can sometimes seem discouraging, if you truly love what you do, staying motivated is second nature.