Health, Society, Research, Student Profile
April 3, 2023
Recipient of the Stober Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Health and Social Development
Health and Exercise Sciences
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
“UBCO is a supportive environment that wants to see you succeed and thrive; I don’t feel like I’m just an undergraduate here, but rather a valued member of the campus community.”
Describe your research. What inspired you on this path?
I chose to study human kinetics because I was interested in understanding how diet and exercise can help reduce an individual’s risk of developing chronic disease. I am currently completing my undergraduate honors thesis with the UBCO Diabetes Prevention Research Group under the supervision of Dr. Mary Jung.
The prevalence of chronic disease is increasing across Canada. Although chronic disease prevention programs are designed to help improve health outcomes through the adoption and adherence to good dietary and exercise behaviors, they rarely reach equity-deserving groups who are most at risk of developing chronic disease.
My study is critical to improving the practice of collecting demographic data in community-based prevention programs, so that we can better understand the population served and identify inequalities in program delivery. With better demographic data, programs can develop better solutions to increase the equity of care.
What do you think makes UBCO unique?
UBCO is an amazing place to study and study. My favorite part about being here is the tight-knit community. I love being able to walk across campus and wave to classmates or have my professors check up on how I’m doing as I walk by. UBCO is a supportive environment that wants to see you succeed and thrive; I don’t feel like I’m just an undergraduate student here, but rather a valued member of the campus community.
What challenges have you faced so far in your academic career?
A big challenge that I face regularly is balancing my academic and personal life. I’ve experienced burnout before, so I know the consequences of not listening to your body. It takes trial and error to find the strategy that works best for you. I’m better at finding this balance now than I was in my freshman year, but it can still be difficult sometimes. I think a big thing I’ve learned is that by taking time to rest when you need it, you’re helping yourself in the future.
“I hope to one day mentor undergraduate researchers and help them learn how useful research can be—something my mentor has done for me.”
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the Stober Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)?
Becoming a SURF recipient is an amazing opportunity; I had great experience working at the Diabetes Prevention Research Group, a laboratory focused on community-based health programs and increasing equity of access to Type 2 diabetes prevention care. I gained valuable research skills and learned about collaboration, communication, problem solving, time management , and coaching—skills that will help me in any future career.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how did they affect you?
I am very lucky to have a mentor who has helped guide me through the last two years of my degree. Having a mentor with similar experiences is great when you need someone to talk to about challenges and struggles you’re facing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I talk to my mentors, and they give me new perspective and clarity. I hope to one day mentor undergraduate researchers and help them learn how useful research can be—something my mentor has done for me.
What’s the best advice you have for new undergraduate students?
Get involved in various activities and projects! Get involved in things on campus, off campus, within your faculty or in other faculties! By engaging in various projects, you learn new skills and meet new people. Getting involved on campus also makes your university experience more than just an academic; it’s about being part of a community.
What do you hope to do after completing your undergraduate?
I want to continue doing research and stay with UBCO for my Master of Science. My passion for research is fueled by my passion to help others live long and healthy lives. I want to do work that makes a difference to others, and I see the importance of my research in doing that. My long term career goal is to remain focused on improving health promotion and preventative care.