Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Standing at the front of a full class of students in a classroom at Langara College on my first day as an instructor in 2019, I realized both how much I had learned during my time as a student, and how much I have yet to learn. Teaching others necessitates a deeper understanding and appreciation of the peoples in ancient lands I will my students to learn about, which is ultimately why I decided to pursue a PhD in Classical Archaeology.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I was fortunate to study at UBC for my Master's degree and instantly fell in love with the program, the people, the university environment, and Vancouver itself. When it came to applying to PhD programs, UBC was at the top of my list, no questions asked.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The PhD program in Classical Archaeology is so acutely supported by an array of internationally and socially motivated scholars. It really is a rare program where interdisciplinary approaches, innovative pedagogy, and highlighting the modern relevance of studies of the ancient past are not just supported, but encouraged by professors paving the way for fresh approaches in academia. It was the chance to be around such inspiring minds that most attracted me to this program.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The mountains. Need I say more? Truly though, beyond the innovative scholars and mentors I've been lucky enough to learn from during my time at UBC, it's the ability to be surrounded by such breath-taking views and nature on a regular basis that really makes studying at UBC such a unique and extraordinary experience.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I enjoy engaging with others for sure. I am a firm believer that knowledge cannot be created in a vacuum, so being able to engage in random bouts of discourse and debate with colleagues in the hallways, grad seminars, and other events are the times I cherish most as they really inspire me to consider different perspectives and widen my academic horizons within my own writing and research.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
The job market. It is no secret that job security (not to mention job openings) is a rare commodity in the field of Classics (among other fields I am sure!). That said, I think as long as we do our best, keep challenging ourselves to learn, stay humble, curious, and open-minded, be more responsible scholars, and reconsider our approaches as we redefine what scholarship needs to look like in the twenty-first century, the right positions will be made available to us as needed.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The encouragement of interdisciplinary conversations and network-building is an immense way in which my program helps prepare the next generation of scholars for the job market. There are also various training workshops that are organized on our behalf, on topics ranging from preparing for job interviews to conference presentations and the like. What's more, there is always someone to ask whenever I need help or advice.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Teaching at Langara reinforced my passion to share my knowledge with the wider academic community. More than that, it provided me with critical insight into the type of research I wish to conduct and the pedagogy I want to advocate. It also helped me recognize that not only does my voice matter, but so do the voices of so many others that I have a unique opportunity to amplify and provide platforms for through my research and community engagement. All around, teaching helped prepare me for my PhD program at UBC as it opened my eyes to the type of scholar I want to be and the endless possibilities available to me if only I embark on creating them.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Get outside and spend time in nature. Some days that looks like a walk through Queen Elizabeth Park, other days that looks like bicycling through Stanley Park, taking a ride on the Aquabus to pick up some fresh food at the public market on Granville Island, or a walk around False Creek with my partner.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Be kind to yourself! You belong here, and you are more than enough. I've seen "imposter syndrome" run rampant among new graduate students (and am no stranger to it myself!) so I think it's most important to focus on one's mental health, remember why you are here and what you are seeking to do, know that you belong here just as much as anyone else and that there will always be people here to support you and cheer on your successes.