Debbie Pierce

 
The impact of land rights and deforestation on women in the Colombian Amazon
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have been interested in research since I first completed my undergraduate thesis, but I felt that it was important to spend several years working in order to ensure that if I did later decide to return to research that it would be grounded in real world problems. After several years working in a variety of jobs, I identified a few topics that I wanted to explore further, and decided to return to graduate school.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is well known internationally for its Faculty of Forestry, and I was lucky enough to find a great fit in my adviser, Terry Sunderland. To me, it was also important to have a collaborative research environment, both professionally and personally, and I was able to find this at UBC.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I liked the diversity of topics covered under the umbrella of forestry. I felt that I would have an opportunity to learn from others here in a way that would have been more difficult in other programs. But beyond this breadth, I also felt like there were several faculty in forestry with the depth in topics that interested me.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

How supportive the environment at UBC is! And the importance of work-life-balance at both UBC and in Vancouver is quite new to me, but also very refreshing.

UBC is well known internationally for its Faculty of Forestry. To me, it was also important to have a collaborative research environment, both professionally and personally, and I was able to find this at UBC.
 
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I think years of working in different jobs where I needed to respond to different challenges helped me prepare for a graduate program—in that it helped me learn to be flexible and change courses when additional information becomes available.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Don't be too wary of uncertainty, and try to enjoy the process!

 
 
 

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