Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
As an undergraduate at Stanford University, I worked as a research assistant in a laboratory studying mood and anxiety disorders. My experience with research was fascinating; it was incredibly exciting to see the field moving forward and to be able to contribute to that progress. I knew that I wanted to continue in the field of research; pursuing a graduate degree was an essential step to pursue a career in research.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
Pursuing a graduate degree at UBC allowed me to work with leaders in my area (clinical psychology) as well as my field (non-suicidal self-injury). The expertise and mentorship of my supervisor, Dr. Klonsky, was a large factor in my choice to attend graduate school at UBC; this decision was supported by the fact that UBC has an internationally-known psychology graduate program in which students and faculty form friendly and collaborative relationships.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
As an international student, I was worried about meeting new people and making friends in not only a new city, but also a new country! I was lucky to be surrounded by a group of amazing graduate students who entered my program when I did, and they have been a very important part of my graduate school experience.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
Non-suicidal self-injury is an increasingly common behaviour, but is still very much understudied and misunderstood. By investigating how emotional experiences and personality influence non-suicidal self-injury (and vice versa), I hope to not only improve scientists' understanding of non-suicidal self-injury, but also to generate research that is useful to clinicians treating individuals who engage in self-harm.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
Winning the Killam Doctoral Scholarship has been a fantastic experience. Most importantly, receiving this award helped remind me that the work I have done and will continue to do is valuable and respected, and that UBC believes in supporting my research endeavors. Additionally, receiving this award permits me to focus my energies on continuing research progress, without worrying about the financial burden of my graduate program.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
As a graduate student, it is easy to be focused only on activities, events, and opportunities within your department. I think it's very important to seek out opportunities outside of your program; this could be volunteer opportunities, student groups, or research collaborations, but I think it is important to be able to meet people in a variety of settings when you're new to a place as large as UBC!