Sophie Ma Zhu
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
During my study in the master’s program in Counselling Psychology at UBC, I developed an interest in the field of psychometrics when I was working as a research assistant in the Adult Development and Psychometrics Lab led by Dr. Anita Hubley. I decided to pursue a PhD degree mainly because I hoped to continue working with Dr. Hubley and learn from her. It would greatly benefit my personal growth and I would also enjoy my time in the program.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I had a very positive experience in my master’s program at UBC. As for the reason I applied to UBC back then, it was because I was interested in the research method developed by Dr. Richard Young, who became my supervisor in my master's program. So once again, the people here are the number one reason for me to want to study at UBC.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
The Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology program is a small program that has students with highly diverse backgrounds and professors who are not only experts in their fields, but are also caring, encouraging, and putting a lot of thought in their teaching. I am impressed by how it provides an open, inspiring, and supportive learning environment.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I'm constantly amazed by the breath-taking view on the UBC campus and elsewhere in Vancouver. It is such a privilege to enjoy an urban life while being close to nature. After living in Vancouver for almost 10 years, I think this has certainly shaped my lifestyle and my way of thinking.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
All my previous study and training at UBC and back in China have prepared me for my PhD program, especially being involved in different research projects. My work experience as a clinical counsellor in the past couple of years and earlier volunteer experience was also very helpful. It allowed me to make great connections and get to know more about the culture here in Canada. It has helped broaden my horizons, build my skill set, and clarify my values.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Compared to undergraduate students, graduate students are more likely to live off-campus or have other commitments in their lives, at least based on my own experience and my observation in the Faculty of Education. But I strongly recommend spending more time on campus: have spontaneous discussions with other students, visit different libraries, sign up for a club or a class at the REC centre... There is a lot more to explore at UBC than the courses!