Melody Salehzadeh

Glucocorticoid production in immune tissues across development
Kiran Soma
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

During my undergraduate degree, a lab-based course captured my curiosity for research. Subsequently, a volunteer position in my current research lab led me to grow a deep curiosity within my field. I wanted to continue exploring new ideas and answer research questions in an innovative and creative way. A graduate degree was the perfect opportunity to gain experience in my field and build a foundation for a successful career in science.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I decided to study at UBC for three reasons. First, UBC is a world-renowned university with amazing opportunities for scientific research and teaching. My supervisor, Dr. Kiran K. Soma, is a leader in the field of neuroendocrinology and working with him is an amazing opportunity. Second, the numerous labs and research groups was particularly appealing as it allows for collaborative work and innovative ideas. Lastly, I was born and raised in Vancouver and no city has come close to its beauty and wonderfulness!

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

The diverse world-class research in the Zoology program was what attracted me most to my program. There is a lot of flexibility in the Zoology program which has allowed me to pursue very multidisciplinary and creative scientific research. Additionally, the student support in the Zoology program is impeccable, something that is very important for the success of graduate students.

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

The best surprise about UBC was the number of opportunities available for students. I have been able to gain experience in numerous research labs, participate in many student clubs, and teach undergraduate courses as a teaching assistant. The best surprise about life in Vancouver is that although I have lived here my whole life, there is always something new to do and more beautiful nature to discover!

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Gaining experience in a research lab in my undergraduate degree best prepared me for graduate studies at UBC. I began my undergraduate research in my current graduate studies lab, and Dr. Soma’s amazing mentorship and training over the years have greatly prepared me for my PhD studies.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I would advise new graduate students to find a hobby that helps them take their mind off of work for a few hours a week. As graduate degrees are very demanding, there is always more work to be done. Therefore, it is important to actively take breaks, enjoy a hobby, detach from the work and have fun! Balance is key for success in graduate school and avoiding burn-outs.


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