Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Great Supervisor Week Mentions
Jennifer has been an amazing supervisor and mentor. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a woman in academia and reach a work-life/family balance. I feel honored to have been her first PhD student and hope I can serve as an example like her in the future.
Jennifer is a wonderful mentor and supervisor. Her commitment and energy to her students is beyond compare, and she always makes time for our needs and for us has people before students. She effortlessly advocates for our needs and makes us a priority in every interaction. Jennifer is prompt and thoughtful in her feedback, and she is always looking to improve our work for our own goals. Her critical questions and lenses always pushes me to think more about my work and deeply about every choice through my degree. She demonstrates admirable work-life balance and is aware of our needs and timelines as well. I cannot speak highly enough of Jennifer and all that she has done for me in my time here at UBC!
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Schools have the potential to contribute to obesity prevention by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Since 2004, ten Canadian provinces have created policies regarding foods and beverages that can be offered in schools, yet little is known about what Canadian children eat and drink at school, the sources of the foods and beverages consumed, and how children’s dietary quality has changed, if at all, over the last decade. Drawing from nationally representative dietary surveys, this thesis includes three studies aimed at filling knowledge gaps regarding Canadian children’s dietary quality on school days. The first study characterised the dietary contributions of foods consumed during school hours relative to the overall diet, and sociodemographic factors associated with school hour dietary quality. In 2004, children age 6-17 years consumed approximately one-third of their daily calories during school hours, but energy-adjusted intake of milk products and key nutrients (for example, calcium and vitamin D) was relatively lower during school hours compared to non-school hours. Meanwhile, the school hour contribution from minimally nutritious foods was higher than the average school hour energy contribution. Differences in diet quality scores were poorly explained by sociodemographic factors, although school hour dietary quality differed by age group and province of residence. The second study evaluated associations between lunch-time food source and children’s dietary quality. In 2004, 73% of children reported bringing lunch from home, with few students obtaining lunch off-campus or at school. Children consuming foods from home had more favourable nutrient intake profiles compared to children obtaining foods off-campus. However, regardless of lunch-time food source, the quality of foods consumed was, on average, sub-optimal in relation to national dietary guidance. The third study assessed changes in dietary quality of Canadian children from 2004 to 2015. Average self-reported dietary quality of Canadian children during school hours and on school days improved modestly but remained below national dietary standards. More effective efforts are needed to improve Canadian children’s dietary quality. Initiatives that focus on increasing the consumption of vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains and dairy products have the potential to improve Canadian children’s dietary quality.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Background: Household food insecurity (HFI), defined as limited access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food, was estimated to affect 13% of Canadian households in 2012. In Canada, one of the primary efforts to support food insecure households are food banks. Although food bank use is on the rise in Canada, few studies have described the diverse experiences of individuals who use them. This study examined characteristics and experiences of food bank users, including socio-demographic characteristics, severity of HFI, patterns of food bank use, and current challenges and preferences for services. Methods: This mixed-methods study involved interviewer-administered surveys (n=77) and 5 focus groups (n=27) with food bank members from Vancouver, BC. Surveys assessed socio-demographic and health characteristics, food bank use, and satisfaction with services. Focus groups examined experiences, challenges, and recommendations for improving services. Survey analyses included descriptive statistics and Fisher’s exact tests to explore associations with severe HFI. Thematic analysis was used for focus group data. Results: Inadequate income emerged as the most prominent factor influencing food bank use. Survey respondents reported severe food insecurity (66%), health challenges (77%), reliance on social assistance (84%), and long-term (>5 years) food bank use (54%). Monthly income level ($500) were significantly associated with severe HFI (p
Background: Diet-related health conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, are a growing concern among Canadian youth. In Canada, there is also a rising interest in the impact of dietary choices on environmental sustainability. Several school food and nutrition programs (SFNPs) have been implemented to improve dietary quality and environmental sustainability, including gardening and food preparation programs. However, limited research has examined the links between participation in SFNPs and dietary psychosocial and behavioural outcomes. Purpose: To examine healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary attitudes, expectations, choices, and practices, and current participation rates in SFNPs among Vancouver students in grades 6-8, and to evaluate whether participation in SFNPs is associated with these outcomes.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 26 schools in Vancouver from March-June, 2012 (n=937 students). Schools were selected using non-probability sampling. A web-based survey, including a food frequency questionnaire, measured student demographic characteristics, participation in SFNPs, and dietary psychosocial and behavioural outcomes. Rao-Scott corrected chi-square tests were applied to assess associations between SFNPs and outcomes (p
Since dietary intake varies from day to day, research on the timing of dietary behaviours is essential for understanding the complexity of contemporary dietary patterns needed to inform nutrition-related health policies and recommendations. Limited studies with inconsistent results have suggested that dietary intake differs on weekends versus weekdays. Although findings from outside of Canada have previously reported that energy intake is higher on weekend days, the nature of weekday-weekend variation in dietary intake among Canadians remains unknown. In response, this study evaluated the difference in energy, nutrient intake and diet quality on weekdays versus weekend days in the Canadian population and whether temporal differences were moderated by sex, age or employment status. Data were analyzed from participants aged >1 year, excluding pregnant or breastfeeding women (n=34,402) in the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 2.2, a nationally representative survey which included 24-hour dietary recall data. Linear regression models examined the difference in energy intake, nutrient intake and diet quality (assessed using Healthy Eating Index [HEI]) between weekdays (Monday-Thursday) and weekend days (Friday-Sunday). Caloric intake was found to be 62 kcal (SE = 23) higher on weekend days than on weekdays. Compared to weekdays, energy-adjusted weekend intakes of carbohydrates, protein, and the majority of micronutrients were significantly lower, ranging from 2.0% to 6.6% lower, while alcohol and cholesterol intakes were 66% and 10% higher on weekends, respectively. HEI was significantly lower on weekends than on weekdays (56.4 vs. 58.3 out of 100). With the exception of alcohol, the magnitude of weekday-weekend differences of most of the dietary outcomes did not differ substantially by sex, age or employment status. In conclusion, Canadians consume foods with a slightly less favorable nutrient profile and marginally poorer diet quality on weekends than on weekdays.
Background: The majority of Canadian children and adolescents (9 to 18 years old) are not meeting Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for healthy eating. Moreover, evidence suggests that SES and dietary quality are positively associated. Yet little is known about the influence of parents, peers, and food purchasing practices on the associations between SES and dietary intake or about whether these associations are pertinent in the school context. The primary objective of this study is therefore to explore associations between SES and school-day dietary intake among Vancouver youth, before and after controlling for psychosocial factors and food purchasing practices. Methods: In 2012, grade 5-8 students (n=950 from 26 schools) completed a school-based survey and reported school-day intake of vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk, packaged snack foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Multivariate logistic regression examined associations between parent education and food security status with dietary intake, before and after controlling for peer modeling and parental normative beliefs of dietary intake, and frequency of purchasing food on school days. Results: Compared to students whose parents completed high school or less, students whose parents completed some college were significantly more likely to consume vegetables daily on school days (unadjusted OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.06, 3.22). Compared to food insecure students, food secure students were significantly less likely to consume SSB daily on school days (unadjusted OR=0.51, 95% CI=0.28, 0.93). Both vegetable and SSB intake were not significantly associated with SES measures in final adjusted models. In adjusted models, compared to students whose parents completed high school or less, students whose parents completed college or university were significantly less likely to consume packaged snacks daily on school days (adjusted OR=0.61, 95% CI=0.42, 0.90). Parent education and food security status were not significantly associated with the remaining dietary intake outcomes. Conclusions: SES was significantly associated with three of five dietary outcomes; however, we did not find that either SES measure was consistently a significant determinant of dietary intake across foods categories. Overall, there is room for improvement in dietary intake of Vancouver children and adolescents on school days and school nutrition interventions would benefit all students.
- Examining food insecurity among food bank members in Greater Vancouver (2019)
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, , 1--14
- “Nothing is going to change three months from now”: A mixed methods characterization of food bank use in Greater Vancouver (2018)
Social Science & Medicine, 200, 129--136
- Examining Patterns of Food Bank Use Over Twenty-Five Years in Vancouver, Canada (2018)
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations,
- Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools: A Review of the Evidence (2017)
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
- Insights from the Think&EatGreen@School Project: How a community-based action research project contributed to healthy and sustainable school food systems in Vancouver (2017)
Canadian Food Studies / La Revue canadienne des études sur l'alimentation, 4 (2), 25