Current Career/Job Title:
Winery Cellar Intern in Napa
Where you were born?
San Rafael, California
Where do you live now?
San Rafael, California
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
I had no idea what I expected in a career when I first started studying biology. All I knew was that I had a fascination for natural systems and the relationships between organisms. While I was in co-op, I tried agriculture research, environmental chemistry, and teaching. I had assumed laboratory jobs were the easiest to get, which led me to my next job of working in medical cannabis. However, I’ve learned I’m more interested in the logistics and administrative work of science, and am currently working a seasonal job in a winery while I explore my options further. Overall, my career path has been much less linear than I imagined.
What challenges did you face in launching your career?
To be fair, I feel like I’m still launching my career. In school, I wasn’t sure exactly what was available to someone who studied Biology with a focus on plants. However, working a variety of jobs have helped me figure out what I didn’t want in a career, so I know what to avoid when looking for jobs. For now, I know that I just have to keep trying things until I find something that works!
What are some highlights from your time in the Biology Program at UBC?
My favorite highlight has got to be the co-op program. I was able to take a year off school to work a few cool positions that I obtained with personalized support from the co-op advisors. It really was the best decision of my undergraduate career. There are also so many interesting classes to take in the Biology program. Biol 418 Evolutionary Ecology greatly improved my writing skills, and I met a majority of my close friends in Biol 320 Survey of Algae and Biol 324 Seed Plant Taxonomy.
From your experience, what has been the value of having a Biology degree?
A biology degree is very well-rounded. Some people have an idea that biology is all about memorization, when in reality it is more about learning how to apply concepts to a large picture or case study. You get experience working in research teams, or doing independent projects, and your critical thinking skills are always being tested.
What is your best career advice?
Try everything! Growing up, we are exposed to such few ideas of what it means to be a scientist that many people think they have to go into biotechnology or field work. There are a ton of other types of careers out there! Plus, each position you hold will teach you something new that you can bring to your next job and make you stand out that much more.