Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
It has always been my dream to get my PhD. It is such a privilege to dedicate a handful of years to work on a passion project, and for a long time, I assumed I would wait until later in life to do this – if ever. I am so grateful that an opportunity opened in my personal life to move to BC, which forced me to make a decision about applying to UBC or to continue my teaching career. Although I loved my job, I decided to go for being a student again, and while there have been some rocky moments, this has been an overwhelmingly wonderful opportunity.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The Faculty of Education at UBC is known for its excellence, and as such, UBC is a school that I've wanted to have the privilege to attend for a long time.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
After reading the scholarship produced out of LLED, I was so impressed. I know this community has a lot to teach me.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I first came to Vancouver when I was 13. I immediately fell in love with BC, and somehow, felt a little 'at home' right away. I was thrilled that I felt the same way again when my partner and I moved here just before my program started. We love exploring BC and everything seems to taste better here, from craft beer to sushi.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
As I mentioned, I miss teaching a lot. I am very fortunate to have opportunities to return to the classroom and work with students in a few different ways throughout my program.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The faculty members who have taught me, supervise me, or are on my committee have led excellent and diverse examples of different approaches to academia. I have found everyone to be generous with their advice, and so when I need to think through a decision, I know there are several people that I can turn to for guidance.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
This might sound strange, but to be honest, it was working as a waitress. That job taught me the skills I needed to be a confident educator. I worked in a diner for nine years - during high school, the summers of undergrad, my MA, and my BEd. Service work taught me nuanced communication, community building, conflict resolution, collaboration, multitasking, and even just how to push through exhaustion or feeling defeated by a hard day, which is very important for PhD work. I always credit this job with helping me build the foundation I needed to be an educator because I had the opportunity to talk to thousands of folks over those years.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love exploring Vancouver, as well as beyond the city, especially by hiking in the mountains. I also enjoy cooking, creative writing, Netflix binging, traveling, and yoga.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
In my first year, I wasted a lot of time worrying about whether I had made the right decision to return to school. I missed my students, and imposter syndrome really set in. My advice would be to make a point of enjoying this unique time in your life because it goes by so quickly. As well, get enough sleep, be easy on yourself, make an effort to befriend your classmates, and when it is sunny during the fall and winter months, drop everything and go outside.