|Graduated, November 2020|
|Degree||Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology|
|Major||Applied Animal Biology (Honours)|
Courtney is a recent graduate from the Applied Biology program. Courtney combined her love of animals and scientific research into her work at a BC Cancer Research Centre immunology lab and as a researcher in LFS’s Animal Welfare Department with rodents.
What are three adjectives that describe you?
Curious, passionate, and motivated
Why did you choose the Faculty of Land and Food Systems?
I chose the Faculty of Land and Food Systems specifically for their program in Applied Animal Biology. But when I graduated from high school, I actually had no idea I was interested in science! When I decided I wanted to pursue Applied Animal Biology it meant I had to go back and take the required high school prerequisites. It was daunting, but now I am so happy I stuck it out. What surprised me is how passionate I became about science in general as I started taking my core classes. I also loved the flexibility in the upper years of this program which has allowed me to pursue the areas of animal science that I am most interested in.
How did you first become interested in Applied Animal Biology?
Being an animal lover, applying for a program in animal studies seemed like a no-brainer, and I was excited about the opportunity to learn about their behaviour and biology! Then, after getting involved in immunology and cancer research, I was torn between my love of animals and my newfound interest in biomedical research. After consulting with my Program Advisor, I realized I could combine these interests in the animal welfare department in LFS – I didn’t have to choose! This department works to find ways to improve animal welfare by applying the principles of biological science and research. My main focus is now centered around improving and refining euthanasia methods for rodents used in research.
Who was your favourite instructor and what impact have they had on your LFS experience?
It's so hard to pick just one favourite instructor in LFS! I would have to say that Professor Dan Weary has had the most impact on my academic career. Dr. Weary guided me through my first research experience in APBI 398: Research Methods in Applied Biology, selected me as his candidate for the NSERC-USRA (which I won!), and acted as my principal investigator in my work for the animal welfare department. He has provided me opportunities to design and conduct my own experiments in an area that is so important to me. I am eternally grateful for his guidance, support, and always having faith in me.
What kind of career do you hope to pursue after your degree, and how has your experience prepared you for this?
These experiences have given me a glimpse of what a career in research could look like after I graduate, and I have a much better understanding of executing research from start to finish. I hope to continue working in the field of lab animal welfare; I believe it is our responsibility as scientists to improve the quality of life for animals used in research labs. Having an opportunity to take two fields of interest that seemed worlds apart and combining them in an exciting and innovative way will also be an asset as a graduate student.
Being a mature undergraduate student provided a lot of clarity about the goals I wanted to achieve, and it helped me prioritize my academic success. So if any prospective students ever feel like it's too late, don't let that hold you back from doing something you're genuinely passionate about.
Interested in studying in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems? Learn more here!