|Major||MSc Candidate, Companion Animal Welfare|
|Degree||BSc Applied Biology, 2020|
Lexis Ly is a Master's student in the Applied Animal Biology program whose research area is in companion animal welfare.
What are three adjectives that describe you?
Enthusiastic, positive, and balanced!
What research are you currently working on?
For my MSc, my research focuses broadly on the relationship between human vulnerability (based on socioeconomic factors) and animal shelter services. I aim to understand who seeks out animal shelter services and ways to best support them so that animals can remain with their families. My work is guided by the principles of One Welfare, where the wellbeing of humans, animals and the environment are ultimately interconnected.
I have particular interest in disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, and of course pandemics. As climate change continues to increase the frequency and intensity of disasters, I believe it is important to understand how non-human family members are impacted by these events. Currently, I am looking at animal shelter data from the onset of COVID until now, and comparing it to previous years to understand what we can learn moving forward from this event, and how animal shelters can prepare for future events like this.
What was your pathway to LFS at UBC?
My pathway to LFS was unconventional to say the least. In my first year, I was in the Faculty of Science, and I was unsure of what I wanted to do. On a random biology field trip, I ran into an old friend from my hometown of Calgary who I went to junior high school with. I told her I was in a bit of a slump, as I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to study. She told me all about LFS and the Applied Animal Biology undergraduate degree. She got me hooked, and I immediately applied to transfer. Four years later, it was the best decision I ever made. The girl I met on the field trip is now one of my best friends and I loved the program so much that I had to do grad school with the same group!
What has been the best part of your university experience so far?
The best part of my university experience was absolutely getting involved in research as an undergrad. It enriched my university experience far beyond a typical degree, and I was able to meet wonderful friends and mentors in the process. It also gave me more opportunities to chill with animals, which is an absolute must for every APBI student.
What advice would you give to new students about how to build community at LFS?
The best part about LFS is that our studies are so interdisciplinary—you can build a community through classes, clubs, and by hanging out in MacMillan! Try to diversify your community by branching outside of your degree program.
How have your instructors influenced your academic path?
The instructors in LFS are the reason I continued my studies in the program! In my undergrad, Dr. Dan Weary encouraged me to try out research through directed studies and an undergraduate thesis. With the help of Dan, I published my undergraduate thesis in PLoS ONE (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247808). I never thought I could reach this level of research in university. In the last year of my undergrad, I met Dr. Sasha Protopopova, who specialized in companion animal research, and I ended up applying to the grad program with her as my supervisor. I feel so lucky that my instructors have constantly pushed me to become a stronger researcher.