If you were going to recommend a playlist or a few songs that would summarize your experience at UBC, what would they be?
"I think if it was a playlist, it would be eclectic, diverse, with something for everyone... but these are a few choices: ‘We’re Not Alone’ by Echosmith (good song, good message, and I think its representative), ‘The Struggle’ by Grizfolk, and “This is Home” by Switchfoot. UBC has always been good to me."
What did you integrate, and why?
"I integrated ecology, oceanography and environmental science. One of them was actually “global challenges.” I wanted to make my major into environmental sustainability. I also did a minor in economics – it worked hand in hand with my major. My entire academic career was environmental and economic sustainability. There wasn’t really a lot out there that was like that – there was a website that listed the courses related to environmental sustainability, but nothing formal."
How did you choose UBC and Integrated Sciences?
Serena enjoyed her Biology 11 and 12 in high school, and knew that she was going into sciences at UBC. Her dad was also was influential in Serena's decision to include economics within her UBC degree. Serena considered selecting to major in chemistry, but "one of my best friends introduced me to Integrated Sciences, and I'm really happy that I did it." Serena then continued to say that Integrated Sciences was a great choice for her.
Are you currently on the career path that you expected to take when starting your Integrated Sciences undergraduate degree?
"A different path. This year I wanted to go into event-management and project planning. This is something I am passionate about, and will pursue in the future. For a time I think I was searching for which field to go into, since event planning is so broad. The dream for a while was to work for the Olympics, the biggest event in the athletics world – it’s super exciting. I started applying for jobs to do with athletics jobs – first events, but I was also interested in tech. Technology ultimately ended up where I wanted to be – technology related to event planning. I want to use technology to help others – my goal is to be that person who creates something that can help others help others."
Check out http://www.andysowards.com/blog/2013/what-can-be-3d-printed/ to see more of what 3D printers can achieve, beyond printing 3 dimensional figures based on a photobooth image, as seen above.
How did you come to be a sustainability intern for the 2014 Special Olympics in Canada?
Serena saw a posting on a website and promptly e-mailed the people planning for the event - noting that she was "accidentally super keen and [had] e-mailed them a few hours after the posting [went up]". She described working the event as an interesting learning experience, and that you learn about the environment – Serena had an idea about what implementing sustainability was, "but helping to actually plan an event operationally was different [then expected] with sustainability".
When describing the event, Serena mentioned that she got to:
"...figure out ways to engage the athletes with people who were watching. [Overall, we were there to] tell people how to be sustainable." There were many examples of the activities Serena worked on; for example, one day they talked to individuals about more sustainable modes of transportation. They promoted the bike valet service that was in action for the entire week, for any individuals cycling to the event. Furthermore, Serena advised people at the event about efficient energy and water use. A program that she helped was a "passport" for sustainable actions; if the athletes completed certain tasks to help preserve resources (such as taking a short shower, walking to next venue where an event was held) they got a stamp in their "passport". Overall, her involvement was to inspire people to people think and talk about what anyone can do to be sustainable. Fnally, the last project Serena completed with the Special Olympics (Vancouver, Canada, 2o14) was a report on all the services provided to the event that emphasized sustainability.
In addition to your academic pursuits, what hobbies and activities do you love?
Serena mentioned snowboarding, kayaking and in general being in the outdoors. In terms of other athletics, Serena mentioned that: "a large factor in wanting to get involved with the Olympics was the Faculty Cup. That event was on and off years before I came to UBC, and it was brought up to me when I was chair of Student Life and Communications Committee, as part of the AMS. [It was] up to me to bring it back, so I pitched, and my group took it on, and it snowballed from there. Last year I was involved again and overseeing it – it was a lot of fun."
Steven Ngo, an extremely accomplished alumnus of UBC Integrated Sciences and practicing lawyer, was humorous and friendly in interview about his achievements and involvement. Conversation had laughs interspersed throughout as we managed a three-way Skype interview; ultimately, Steven had a lot to say about where Integrated Sciences, travel and his determination has taken him.
[Discrepancy in the news article: Steven graduated in science not commerce – he did a minor in commerce]
Our introductory questions for Steven were primarily about his goals going into his BSc - medicine, medicine, medicine.
Then we got into the Integrated Sciences questions because, you know, it is the ISSA blog and all.
A little bit about Dr. Hendrik Blok, (better known as Rik) - Steven gave him (and a course he ran) a great review.
Beyond the ISCI retreat and general good memories, we asked Steven about the specifics of his integration.
We were curious about Steven successful opening of the Alberta chapter of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), as well as the amount of value he places on mentorship, including and beyond the support of professors received within Integrated Sciences.
After all of our questions directly related to ISCI, we asked about Steven's foundation that he started and continues to run.
Learning about Steven's travels, exchange and experiences outside of Canada during and after is BSc makes exploring the world even more tempting.
And we bring you... our second interview! Introducing Andrew Haack, a graduate student at the University of Utah and alumnus from Integrated Sciences, having integrated biopsychology and physiology. This question and answer series illuminates some of his research, his experiences at UBC, as well as his involvement within ISSA.
<- thanks to LinkedIn for this suave photo / https://www.linkedin.com/pub/andrew-haack/43/58a/9a8
1) Did you know about Integrated Sciences when you first started at UBC? If not, what was your original academic plan?
2) As an Integrated Sciences alumnus, you went through the rigorous application process to design your degree. What did you integrate, and why? Why did you choose Integrated Sciences over another undergraduate major?
3) Of the required ISSA courses, which was your favourite, and why?
8) In addition to your alumnus lecture, where has Integrated Sciences taken you, particularly in relation to any research/exciting experiences/career options?
4) For the application process, did you receive any advice that you found particularly valuable? What advice would you give individuals considering Integrated Sciences?
5) What first inspired us to try to contact you was your Integrated Sciences alumnus lecture, ‘What drives us to drink?’ that you gave on November 6th, 2014. We were wondering what inspired you to explore this topic?
How does this topic relate to current research/projects you’re conducting? IE. We found you were an author on two very interesting papers:
Effects of zona incerta lesions on striatal neurochemistry and behavioural asymmetry in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats - from Journal of Neuroscience Research
7) Would you mind explaining what answers you are looking for in rat lesions that would help patients with Parkinson’s disease?
Task difficulty in the Morris water task influences the survival of new neurons in the dentate gyrus - from Hippocampus
6) What do we know so far about the hippocampus’ role in learning and memory, and how does the level of difficulty of the test run on rats connect to cell survival in that part of their brains?
10) During your undergraduate experience, what clubs/associations were you involved with on campus? (your favourite, or your first?) What motivates you to continue being involved with ISCI as an alumnus?
9) Who was your mentor/were your mentors during your time in the ISCI program? What was one thing your mentor believed/did that really influenced who you are today?
11) What was your relationship like with your peers in your program and do you still keep in contact with anybody, peer or mentor?
RECOMMENDED READS: CATEGORIES "MENTOR SPOTLIGHTS" AND "ALUMNUS INTERVIEWS"
About Me: My major is Integrated Sciences; I'm integrating physiology and psychology, and completing a minor in kinesiology. The movie 'The Imitation Game' blew my mind, and every piece done by the artist Alex Cherry is spectacular. Also, if you look up the definition of a bookworm, you'll find me.
Integrating Physiology and Neuroscience!
I like hanging out at Tower Beach but you can usually find me studying at Ponderosa even though I don't live there.