Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I became interested in the interaction between the brain and behaviour after I sustained a pretty serious concussion during my undergraduate. Among other symptoms, my eye movements were not as smooth as usual for a few days after my injury. As I recovered, I became increasingly interested in how brain injury affects behaviour. During my undergraduate, I also got my start in research as a volunteer, and I was immediately hooked by the prospect of working on questions to which no one yet knew the answer.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The research group and study I work with at UBC has collected some of the most granular and high-quality longitudinal data on my thesis topic anywhere in the world. Our group is interdisciplinary and highly collaborative, and a true joy to work alongside. And as a Vancouverite, I was able to stay in this world-class city.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The Experimental Medicine Program’s ability to work with people from many specialities and conduct interdisciplinary research is what made me feel that it would be the best fit for myself and my degree. The program’s broad range of faculty and students promotes learning and connections outside my specific area which is invaluable as a trainee scientist.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The best surprise for me as a graduate student at UBC has been realizing just how many world-class experts and opportunities are either right here or only an introduction away. Training at UBC affords connections to people and opportunities all around the world.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I worked as a hockey referee throughout my adolescence and early twenties. Officiating was an ongoing trial-by-fire exercise in clear and concise communication, adapting and problem-solving under stress, and time management. These skills have been invaluable during my time as a graduate student and are important to continue developing throughout my career.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I spend a pretty substantial amount of my downtime on my road bike. When not on the bike or in the lab I can also be found spending my time with a few different programs and organizations in the community.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Try to find the elusive balance of saying “yes” to as many opportunities as you can while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Take things seriously but don’t forget to enjoy your day-to-day, and always remember to keep the bigger picture in perspective. And be flexible! Work towards your goals but recognize that they rarely turn out to be exactly what you had originally envisioned (and almost always for the better).