PhD Candidate, UBC
I was born/grew up in: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I now live in: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I completed my training/education at: University of Calgary and University of British Columbia
Describe what you do at work.
I conduct experiments and manage the day-to-day operations of the lab. This involves managing the animal facility, creating solutions, etc. I use problem solving, teamwork and communication skills daily. I use several specialized types of equipment including microscopes, centrifuges, and microinjections devices. I often engage in problem solving such as trying to understand how my data fits with the results that have already been published. In addition, I often have to optimize and alter procedures.
I make decisions by 1) identifying the problem, 2) researching what has been done to solve the problem and 3) considering all possible solutions for that decision (pros and cons). My background in STEM has definitely influenced the way I make decisions. This is certainly true for the research part of making a decision. It’s also important for identifying the limitations of the decision. I work in a lab so collaboration is important to ensure the smooth operation of the lab. I interact with colleagues in a professional and friendly manner.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
My career is relevant and rewarding because my data may be used to better our clinical practices for diabetes. I think a career in diabetes research is very fulfilling given the extent of the disease in North America.
What motivates you in your career?
Designing experiments would be the most exciting aspect of my career. It allows me to be creative. For example, I identify the problem (i.e. lack of knowledge of how a process works at the cellular level). I then try and find the best possible experiment that I can do to fill that knowledge gap. I also enjoying the writing aspect of experiments. This involves writing out the introduction, rationale, experimental design, and eventually the results.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
During undergrad, I worked in a laboratory for the summer and I really enjoyed it. This was due to the stimulating environment as well as the excitement for potentially discovering something new.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I play beach volleyball and I like to run (currently training for a marathon). I have also been involved with Let's Talk Science as well as StemCellTalks in Vancouver.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I would tell the young person to try it out! Volunteering in a lab or in a pharmaceutical company is the best way to know if science is a career you will enjoy.