Kaitlin Sullivan

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have always been very excited about learning in general, but the neurosciences really grabbed ahold of my curiosity throughout the years. I had assumed when I was younger that a degree in science meant that the logical next step was going to medical school. However, I discovered just how much I enjoyed doing laboratory work during my undergraduate degree and realized that pursuing knowledge in this way was something I was truly passionate about.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I was drawn to UBC for my graduate studies because I was really interested in the research done by my supervisor Dr. Mark Cembrowski. The study of memory has always interested me and his multidisciplinary approach merging molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioural aspects of this faculty of the brain really excited me.

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

The graduate program of Neuroscience at UBC attracted me due to the many interesting and accomplished neuroscientists that conduct their research at UBC that we are thus able to learn from and interact with through the program.

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

While I have been lucky enough to call Vancouver home growing up, UBC's campus is quite different from the downtown university campuses I have experienced in the past. The campus has access to forests, beach, and is home to some very beautiful gardens, which makes coming out here to work exceptionally enjoyable.

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

I think my undergraduate honours thesis work really benefitted me by prepping me for what life in the lab looks like, and equipping me with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in graduate school. But I believe taking time off afterwards to work abroad and travel allowed me to acquire many soft skills that have been important in my graduate career, and further allowed me to enter into graduate school with a more mature mindset.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Ensure that the environment and the people you work with fit with you and your interests just as much as the science does. Science is inherently collaborative and graduate school is long, so having people around you that you enjoy will be just as important as doing work you enjoy.

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