Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
The environmental and conservation challenges we are currently facing as a society are complex and wicked problems that require innovative and collaborative solutions. I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in order to further hone the skills and training needed to tackle these complex and interdisciplinary dilemmas and to have the time and space to dig into these tough research questions. Additionally, I am excited for the opportunities that graduate degrees provide to grow as a community leader and mentor through participation in public outreach and service, scientific conferences and writing, and teaching and mentoring opportunities.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The UBC Faculty of Forestry is a leading forestry science and research institute that is incredibly interdisciplinary in nature, which I believe is essential for tackling environmental dilemmas. Additionally, Vancouver and the adjacent Salish Sea area are home to highly unique and biodiverse forested and woodland ecosystems that are unfortunately faced with numerous, cumulative anthropogenic stressors. UBC provides an optimal location and environment from which to study and engage with these highly human-influenced and interconnected ecosystems.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was particularly drawn to join the Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences in order to work with my advisor Dr. Tara Martin. I greatly admired her innovative and applied conservation research and her work with collaborators and stakeholders, particularly her development of a Priority Threat Management decision tool and her work combining ecological and decision-making theory. The work she and her Conservation Decisions Lab are involved in is fantastic and so essential, and I am so honoured to be part of the lab’s work on biodiversity conservation and decision-making.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I have been really blown away by the beauty and magnificence of all the flowers blooming and vegetation coming to life in the Spring and Summer, both on campus and around Vancouver, especially with the gorgeous backdrop of the snow-capped mountains and inlet.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I am really excited to learn from and work in the Garry Oak meadows and Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems on the Gulf Islands and throughout the Salish Sea. I enjoy being outside in the field as well as just being able to explore the vast literature and knowledge of these unique areas. I am looking forward to collaborating and working alongside local stakeholders, knowledge holders, managers, and policymakers to hopefully tackle some of the issues facing these areas and discuss threat management actions.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
There are a lot of knowledge-translation gaps in the conservation realm that impede the design and implementation of effective management decisions. This knowledge to action gap needs to be bridged in order to tackle the complex ecological dilemmas we face as a society, and requires environmental scientists to take a more active role in communicating and disseminating their findings and the significance of their work to the public at large, and how it can lead to policy and societal change. During my graduate degree and beyond, I hope to continue to overcome this gap and help support regional conservation managers and officials to prioritize and implement actions that will help protect our unique and irreplaceable natural systems.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
A combination of my past academic, work and personal experiences has determined the trajectory of my doctoral research and provided me with the hands-on experience, skills, and inspiration needed to design and pursue my doctoral degree at UBC. In particular, my master’s research and experience working at conservation non-profits during my graduate degree greatly impacted my research interests, motivating me to more intensively explore how non-climate threats interact with climate change threats to influence species’ and ecosystem vulnerability. Additional these experiences provided me opportunities to work with international collaborators and stakeholders, implement research into management and policy, and perform intensive and large-scale biodiversity and landscape analyses, all essential skills I will need for obtaining my doctoral degree at UBC.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love to paint and sketch in nature and read outdoors, particularly in the gardens if the flowers are in bloom. I am always trying to bake new recipes that are far outside my wheelhouse and see how they go. I love exploring new coffee shops to find the perfect cappuccino and strolling through the forests. I adore listening to pop culture and Marvel podcasts and debating them with my friends.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Graduate degrees are incredibly rewarding but also incredibly challenging. It is important to have compassion and kindness for yourself. Make sure to relax, pace yourself, and enjoy the experience. Get involved in the community however you can and help build a kinder and more equitable learning environment in which you and others can thrive.