Kelsey Yamasaki

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a graduate degree in community and regional planning because I am interested in work that addresses topics such as housing affordability and homelessness, healthy community development, multiculturalism, and accessible infrastructure and services for children, youth, families, and senior citizens. I would like to help foster equitable community engagement in order to address important issues and to generate positive social change.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I decided to study at UBC because of its status as an innovative university, and because of its location in beautiful Vancouver. UBC is a global hub for research and teaching, and its graduate degree program options meant that I was able to enroll in a program that aligned with my passions and interests. The opportunity to be a part of a community of people that supports one another in professional development furthered my passion to pursue an MA. Vancouver is also home to a beautiful backdrop of mountains, parks, and seas - a great location for nature enthusiasts. A personal favourite adventure location is Lynn Canyon Park!

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

The School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at UBC offers a year-long professionally oriented studio course. This is an amazing learning opportunity that partners student teams with community, municipal, and private sector organizations to address specific problems and help propose solutions. Throughout the year students also receive support from a team of faculty advisors, all of whom have vast planning knowledge and expertise. This is a great experiential learning experience that is unique to the MCRP program at UBC, and is an opportunity that attracted me to the program.

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

The best surprise about UBC was the social, cultural, and recreational community. UBC is a vibrant campus with many opportunities to be involved in activities outside of course studies. From events such as Day of the Longboat and UBC Homecoming to extracurricular activities and campus clubs, UBC offers a variety of opportunities to meet new people while engaging in social events. When taking a break from studies, two of my favourite activities are yoga and walking around the Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

One piece of advice that I have for new graduate students is to establish a healthy work-life balance. Graduate studies may be very intensive and you may find yourself devoting most of your time to research and coursework - which is a part of being committed to what you are passionate about! It is important though to also carve out time for extracurricular activities that bring you joy and help you to achieve balance. While graduate school is busy, it also provides a great opportunity to be a part of clubs and initiatives and to establish lifelong friendships. Try to make the most out of your experience at graduate school and enjoy every step along the way. Be prepared to learn more about yourself and to grow both personally and professionally!