Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Since I was studying medicine, I felt passionate about the biomedical aspects of training, even more than the clinical training. Particularly, I liked infectious diseases because they can be readily prevented or cured, in contrast to more chronic conditions. After conducting informal training as a Research Assistant in a renowned biomedical institution in Colombia (CIDEIM), I decided to pursue graduate school and achieve a career in biomedical research.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The faculty members at UBC, and particularly at the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation (HLI) work at the crossroad between biomedical and clinical research, a field that is particularly appealing to me. Furthermore, I felt attracted by the high quality research produced in UBC and at HLI and wanted to become a part of it.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The program of Experimental Medicine is really flexible, you can take courses that are aimed to multiple approaches of biomedical research and it furthers collaborations among faculty members. Also, the program is mostly based on hospitals, and the research conducted in the program is closer to patients concerns than to basic laboratory science.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I was amazed by the organization of the laboratories and the efficiency of the research support staff. The amount of parks and outdoor activities were the most pleasant surprises in the Greater Vancouver Area.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I have always enjoyed the written communication part. Particularly, the opportunity to polish my academic and informal writing.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Looking forward, I feel it would be even more important to keep a healthy work-life balance. Trying to keep in check my own wellbeing while pursuing a successful career.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Having the opportunity to do research beforehand really made the transition a little bit better. I would even argue that the rigorosity of conducting clinical research is a universal standard. Thus, being sure about my desire to do research really kept me motivated throughout the program.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Anything from spending time with my family, reading light literature, playing video games and riding my bicycle.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Especially for international students, be mindful of your own background and what you bring to the table. Give yourself enough time to adapt to your new way of living, working environment and the different culture. Do not make any hasty assumptions and try to keep a healthy work-life balance.