Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I am constantly inspired by all that I have yet to learn about the world. While this realization can be humbling at times, it is also exciting in that it presents me with the opportunity to explore the questions that fill my mind on a daily basis. Graduate studies is allowing me to connect these questions and interests with my passion to make a positive difference in the world. I am so honoured to have the opportunity to learn from and with so many amazing people.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
In addition to being known for its high standard of academic excellence and its beautiful campus, UBC is a community of incredible people. The opportunity to develop my professional and personal skills in such a wonderful environment adds to the joy of the learning experience.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The PhD program at UBC iSchool embraces interdisciplinary approaches to research that provide important opportunities for knowledge exchange among scholars. I find it stimulating to be surrounded by supportive faculty and colleagues who are exploring such different areas of academic inquiry. The variety of perspectives represented, and the generative dialogues they create, enriches my understanding of the possibilities and implications of my own research.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The size of the UBC campus can be intimidating at first, but it is amazing at how quickly it allows you to find the various ways you fit into the diverse community of scholars. The relationships you form with the different networks of people you meet not only offer you a sense of place, but also a sense of the different places your research might take you.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I love the opportunities for collaborative research that my program offers and the friendships they have allowed me to create with my colleagues. I am also really excited and grateful for the mentorship I receive from my supervisor and other faculty members, who are helping me develop my skills as a researcher. Curiosity-wise, I am looking forward to working with youth and learning from them as experts on their own social media use!
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Interdisciplinary research offers many opportunities when engaging in academic study, but it can also pose challenges when navigating the hiring practices of different disciplines. Probably the biggest challenge for me after I finish this degree will be identifying where I will be best-suited to work within the academy or outside of it.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
The iSchool encourages its students to attend a variety of conferences that allow them to form a sense of community by networking with different people in their respective areas of research. The faculty also support students' professional development by requiring them to design researcher profiles. The creation of these profiles force students to reflect on and articulate a more coherent identity for themselves.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Academically speaking, completing an honours essay during my undergraduate degree and a thesis during my master's degree have helped prepare me for my current graduate program. Personally speaking, I have a very supportive family that has had to navigate the challenges of a longstanding illness with one of its members. Illness puts life into perspective and can lead to a constant renegotiation of priorities. Also, having the inspiring example of someone fight through sickness motivates you not to give up.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I like going to the Vancouver Symphony with my sisters and cousin, as well as spending time with the rest of my family and friends. Walking in nature is a really relaxing activity for me, but laughing is probably the most relaxing thing I do for fun. I am blessed to have people in my life who make me laugh. It helps me keep things in perspective when I am tempted to take situations too seriously!
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Make time to develop friendships with colleagues in your program. The challenges of graduate life are easier when you have people to navigate them with. Also, it is important to celebrate each other's progress! When we help each other succeed we all move forward.