Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I embarked on my physics education with the hoping to one day do research to help better understand the universe around us. This graduate degree is the next step in that ambition and I have been able to dive right in to the research!
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
It has a world class string theory group with varied research opportunities along with a number of other groups studying closely related fields surrounded by forest in a vibrant and beautiful city.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Living at Green College, a graduate residence with a strong interdisciplinary academic community, has been a great experience for meeting new people and being exposed to ideas I would not have otherwise come across.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
The goal of this type of research is to better understand how a realistic theory that includes both quantum mechanics and gravity might work by studying a mathematically simpler system. It is an attempt to understand the building blocks that may be used to construct a better theory of the most basic concepts underlying our universe.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
Practically, it means that I can spend more time on my research without worrying about finances. But more importantly it lets me know that others value my work and gives me the motivation to work hard and to go on to achieve even greater things. In addition, the travel allowance will allow me to attend conferences and summer schools which will help to create links between the research done at UBC and around the world.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Work hard, keep your goals in mind and watch out for deadlines (be they for teaching assistantships, scholarships or conferences – plan ahead and keep an eye out for new opportunities). Also, living in Vancouver is a great opportunity: don't forget to leave campus sometimes!