Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
After spending seven years in the oilfield service industry in Calgary before beginning my undergraduate degree, I was adamant that I wanted to do something that interested me. Continuing my education into my second graduate degree has allowed me do learn more about what I love on a daily basis!
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I completed my undergraduate degree at UBC and I was very excited to be able to come back and begin a PhD after completing a Master's in the UK. The faculty within the CNERS department are all fantastic and there is a high degree of concern about academic improvement and personal growth. There are many opportunities for excavations within the department, along with teaching assistantships and research assistantships which prepare students well to enter the academic job market after graduation.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The PhD program in Classical Archaeology offers a wide degree of breadth to solidify a broad understanding in theoretical trends and materials from the Bronze and Iron Ages through to the end of Late Antiquity. Although challenging, the requirement to write two period-based comprehensive exam goes a long way to ensure a broad and in-depth level of knowledge within the field before moving on to writing a dissertation. The widespread research interests of the faculty within the department means that students can explore almost any line of research and be able to seek expert guidance and advice. This proves to be invaluable for the development of the graduate students within the department; I cannot express how wonderful the CNERS faculty are. In terms of my personal research, the ability to explore different theoretical and practical areas of Roman provincial archaeology is exactly what I was looking for in a PhD program.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
UBC has one of the most beautiful campuses not only in Canada, but the world. It is a pleasure being there on a daily basis! Coming from Alberta, not having to deal with the snow and extreme cold is also a personal bonus!
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I love what I do, and I enjoy doing it every day! The camaraderie within the graduate community is unbelievable and there are always intensely interesting conversations going on. Tasks which lie outside coursework and research are also always fun! Being a TA is an immensely rewarding experience which I always look forward to. Month-long excavations offered by CNERS are also the highlight of any archaeologist's year!
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
The biggest challenge is always the next big project! For myself, this is my dissertation. It's an immense task for any PhD student, but it's invaluable experience for future research and every day working on it needs to be taken as a learning experience. Therefore, the challenge of the task shouldn't be what's focused on, but the opportunities that it's completion will provide and the myriad lessons learned along the way!
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
This program does absolutely everything it can to allow graduate students to become well-rounded scholars capable of doing amazing things!
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Personally, I think that my time working within industry before starting my education provided me with some very valuable lessons which I have been able to carry with me throughout my academic career. Although my advice would be to anyone trying to prepare themselves for graduate study is to love what they do. Life's too short not to love what you do!
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I take my head out of the books! Vancouver is filled with amazing spots to run, cycle, grab a pint, sit on a beach, take in some culture, or whatever else you might want to do. Get out and explore!
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Take advantage of the opportunities provided by the university and your department. Go to extra seminars. Enjoy your teaching opportunities. Remember that you're in a graduate program because you enjoy the subject matter and you're good at it, you deserve to be there! So have fun with it!!