Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I wanted to enter the Renewable Energy industry and noticed that most jobs required a specialized degree.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is located in Vancouver, a city known for being green-friendly and innovative. I knew that the campus was right in the center of the clean-technology revolution and I wanted to be part of it.
My program has given me the chance to speak with many people in both industry and government in order to understand the problems the renewable energy industry faces. I am then able to research solutions that address these challenges.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I did not realize how world-renowned and competitive my program was. I am glad that I didn't know this before I applied, or it might have made me nervous. The city is amazing as well; I am constantly surprised by the variety and number of restaurants.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I really enjoy having the freedom to take classes that are strictly in my area of interest. It is a nice change from undergrad where your course subjects are very broad.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Finding new ways to curb emissions and combat climate change is the ultimate challenge, but there are many more important challenges that must be tackled first. Most renewable energy companies are small, so I envision that one of my greatest challenges will be helping renewable energy companies bridge the gap from research to commercialization. I also believe that informing policy will be a major challenge, since policy is instrumental to establishing the support necessary for renewable energy companies to succeed.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
My program has allowed me to examine these challenges and search for solutions, both through industry contacts and research. It has given me the chance to speak with many people in both industry and government in order to understand the problems the renewable energy industry faces. I am then able to research solutions that address these challenges and analyze their effectiveness.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I worked in the petrochemical industry for several years before starting at UBC and I believe that this helped give me a better understanding of the priorities and challenges that industry faces. My undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering gave me the technical skills and my training as an Olympic speedskater gave me the discipline and focus necessary to succeed.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I love to go to the numerous beaches and relax, or bike around the neighborhoods and see what is happening. There is always something going on in Vancouver. I also enjoy hiking and am really looking forward to hitting up some of the area's famous trails.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Take the time to establish expectations and a daily routine early on. If you can, find a mentor who can help you through this process.