Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I found research challenging and mentally stimulating which were attributes I was looking for in a career. I have always been drawn to the field of medical genetics, particularly areas where I saw basic science translating to clinical application where it could help improve health care. I chose to pursue a graduate degree to get involved in these areas of work.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I chose to come to UBC for the calibre of the Medical Genetics program and the wide array of research being done within this department. The Vancouver location was also a pull as I love hiking and camping and studying at UBC allowed me to spend years exploring the west coast.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was attracted to the medical genetics program for the many research options that we could be involved in. I also liked that labs were not only on campus but also at the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and BC Cancer agency allowing student to work and collaborate within different research environments. The first year Medical Genetics classes are small (<20 students) which I felt would help better understand the material and allow for more personal interaction with the professors and students.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
1. Many of the people that I met in Medical Genetics and BC Children's Hospital Research Institute have become some of my closest friends. I can honestly say that I have loved the 5 years I have spent completing my degree. 2. The nature that is easily accessible from Vancouver. I spent most weekends hiking and camping and I have loved every second of it. There are truly some of the most beautiful trails within an hour of Vancouver.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
Medical Genetics Research day is always a highlight. It was always fun to see all the students from the other research environments associated with UBC, and see the research going on within the department.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
In light of the current funding situation in Canada, I think that the biggest challenge is going be obtaining funding.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
Within the Medical Genetics department as well as the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, there are many workshops available to discuss career options outside of academia as well as workshops that outline how to write grants which will be vital to all graduate students as they decide what their next steps will be.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I think the day to day lab work is the most important. Insight into how to run a lab, collaborate with others, respond to critical feedback, prepare and present a presentation, write a scientific article, review and critique others work are all important skills for graduate students to learn no matter what career direction they choose.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I spend a lot of time camping, and hiking. When I first moved to Vancouver, exploring the sites within the city was a lot of fun (Stanley park sea wall, granville island, many food options).
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
1. Be sure to get involved in other activities such as: UBC Let's Talk Science, Research Days, High School outreach etc. These will be great experiences; and if you need more incentive, they look good on CIHR/NSERC applications 2. Have a work and home life balance. Plan fun things to do on weekend (Explore BC!), these will definitely pick you up if graduate school is being difficult at the time. 3. Don't compare yourself to others. Just focus on yourself and doing your best.