Leah Shipton

Global health governance of extractive industries: An examination of power dynamics shaping the roles, influence and aspirations of health-specific actors
Faculty of Arts
Peter Dauvergne
Faculty of Arts Graduate Award

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I chose to pursue a graduate degree because ultimately my career interests are in studying global health governance of extractive industries and to advocate for interventions that protect and promote health, in Canada and globally. I decided that a PhD in Political Science would be a great way to develop the skills and expertise necessary to pursue this career trajectory.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I decided to study at UBC for a number of reasons, but the main reason was because the faculty both within the Department of Political Science as well as in other parts of the university, such as the School of Law, Department of Geography and School of Population and Public Health have expertise in my research areas of interest such as global health governance, human rights, and extractive industries and society. This made me reassured that it would be a great campus to learn and develop my academic interests. Beyond this factor, I liked the idea of living in Vancouver and thought UBC would offer a good learning environment.

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

The most important feature of the PhD Program at the Department of Political Science was that a lot of faculty that have expertise in the research areas I am interested in as well as faculty, such as my supervisor, who are invested in the academic development of their students. My academic background and work experience is in public and global health, not political science, so it was also important that this program valued the contributions and insights I could bring from my disciplinary background as well as support me in exploring the intersections of political science and global health.

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

I'm not sure anything has really been a surprise - but I've moved around a lot so maybe I am just used to adjusting to different places! I've enjoyed getting to know classmates and faculty members as well as exploring different things to do in Vancouver.

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

I think what has been most helpful for me is that before beginning my graduate program I had several years of working and conducting research in various places as well as on different topics. I think these experiences provided a good skillset for me to work from, helped shape my research interests that I am pursuing in grad school, and gave me plenty of opportunities to reflect on the kind of scholar I want to be. I think all of this means that I entered grad school with a good foundation to build on and clear sense of direction (which I am sure will change over the years as I learn more).

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I read for fun a lot still and take bachata and salsa classes every week, which has been a great way to destress and meet more people in Vancouver. Aside from that, when it's not raining I like to play soccer and hike.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I still consider myself to be a new graduate as I am only in my first year of my PhD. So far what has worked for me is making sure I am disciplined in managing my time well - which includes making time to relax and have fun outside of school. And if possible, try to attend departmental events and connect with your classmate - doing that has made me feel a greater sense of community on campus.