I am working hard towards becoming a healthcare provider to under-served populations while balancing my studies, leading a vision health philanthropy club, conducting research, and working & volunteering with individuals with disabilities. I’m strongly interested in science, research, and working with people from different backgrounds. I also love playing with my intramural hockey teammates, photographing delicious eats for the foodie instagram Indecisive Eaters, blogging for UBC, and most of all, spending time with my family and friends.
As a volunteer pianist at various seniors during my childhood, I experienced a joy and meaningful fulfillment from sharing her love of music with others that I wanted to share with other youth. So, in 2012, I founded a service organization called Music Outreach Society and have since built a community of youth passionate about music and service. I’m grateful to everyone who supported and is supporting the growth of MOS to bring music into the lives of seniors, marginalized populations in the Downtown Eastside, handicapped children and more to foster connection and community. I hope that other youth can have the experiences of receiving a hug and request to learn how to play from the children, seeing a smile on the faces of an elderly couple when the band plays a jazz tune, and singing together with the ladies of the downtown eastside women’s centre have inspired because these experiences have inspired in me a lifelong desire to foster relationships with people of all ages and walks of life.
The warm sense of fulfillment I gained fuelled me to take more action to make our world a better place: working with the Campaign Genesis team as the Creative Director towards educating youth about science and business, conducting Parkinson’s disease research, writing a play about racism and a song for Earth Day, being part of a team that created an app that promotes environmentally-friendly transportation.
Fuelled by an interest in music therapy, I saw a poster at my local community recruiting for a study on Alzheimer’s and music therapy and asked the study coordinator if I could get involved as a volunteer. I ended up volunteering at an Alzheimer’s research forum where I got interested in neurological research. In the summer after 10th grade, I began a research project with the Human Vision and Eye Movement laboratory at the Vancouver General Hospital. There, I had incredible mentors who taught me about how exciting and intellectual stimulating research can be. I’m really grateful to my mentors for giving me the chance to take on a diversity of projects and took ownership of my own projects. Over the last several years, I’ve became certain that research must remain in my life and be part of my future career. (Check out the cool science geeky things we’ve done.) With my research mentor, I created the prototype for a mobile app that aids the clinical diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis, a neurological condition that can lead to sudden irreversible blindness if undiagnosed. I was so excited to contribute something that directly helps and patients.
As much as I love research, I needed to gain a sense of purpose after staring at spreadsheets for too long. The purpose of research is to help people but I felt frustrated whether this research was going to help anyone at all. So I signed up to volunteer with VocalEye. VocalEye support the meaningful mission of increasing accessibility of the arts to people with visual impairments. VocalEye verbally describes what’s happening on stage at theatre productions, on the road during the Pride parade, and using touch and words to describe what is going on during the fireworks. (I talk about how much volunteering with VocalEye impacted me here.) I chose to further my volunteer experience with individuals that are blind or visually impaired. With Blind Beginnings, I worked with children that are blind and visually impaired. I worked with visually-impaired adults and families with visually impaired children at Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I got to meet young adults through the Vancouver Goalball Club and play with the Vancouver Eclipse Blind Hockey team.
I wanted to share those experiences that left me enriched I gathered my friends to start the Vision Health Volunteers club at UBC. Since then, we’ve been connecting UBC students to fun and meaningful volunteer opportunities to support the blind and visually impaired community. Students can get trained to work one-on-one with an individual through the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB) Vision Mate program. We are thankful to work with as awesome an organization as CNIB. We organized and are planning more events spreading awareness about vision health and blindness, such as our annual Dining in the Dark. Join Vision Health Volunteers through our Facebook page or website.
In 2012, I also began as a first aid attendant at mass gathering events where I loved working directly with patients, working in a fast-paced environment, and working in a team consisting of health care professionals of different training and skills sets. Through my interactions with the health care team, in our downtime I would ask the nurses, the paramedics, the first aid attendants, etc about the pros and cons of their jobs and was able to compare which aspects of different jobs were appealing to me. Being part of the team responsible for the care of an individual’s health and on some occasions, their lives, was challenging and even scary at times but helping the rest of the team as best one can, asking for help when neededand learning from the expertise of someone else can resolves all difficult situations. Through hands-on experience, I was able to realize that I enjoy helping people that injured get back to what they’re doing and that I like hands-on care of others.
My experiences as a first aid attendant working around recreational drug use and seeing cases of toxic effects led me to become interested in pharmacology. My interest in pharmacology was solidified by my first pharmacology course at the beginning of second year, where I was fascinated by the interdisciplinary nature of pharmacology. I loved how an understanding of pharmacology required an integration of concepts from molecular biology, anatomy, biochemistry, chemistry, ecology and even physics. I was excited that pharmacology was a topic that challenged you to understand and seek connections rather than just memorize. I was also strongly interested in neuroscience after doing some research in neuro-ophthalmology and learning a lot of the cool things in psychology and neuroscience and neurology and realizing there was so much more that I could learn about. It is almost magical to learn how systems of molecules and tissues and pathways are all connected and are beautifully complex to make organisms live and breathe and respond to the world around them. But I could only pick one major so I decide to bridge the disciplines of neuroscience and pharmacology together to gain an understanding of the complex interplay between drugs and the brain and the body. An incredible mentor of mine helped me design & pitch my own degree program integrating Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and now I have a major unique from any other student that perfectly geared to my academic passions and my career goals. This process was a lot of work but very worth it.
My long term goals:
- My life goal #1 is to help make other peoples’ lives better, even if it’s just as simple as making them smile or feel relieved for just a moment. That sounds super cheesy but there are so many ways to help people: whether you are providing them with a service that they need, or just being the person who listens to what they want to say.
- My life goal #2 is help people create & innovate as well as create & innovate myself to keep improving our world for the better. This includes creating things to address needs, creating ways to connect people, tools, ways to spread important messages, and other awesome stuff
- My life goal #3 is to strive to maintain a balance between working as hard towards my academic and career goal and spending time with friends/family and cultivating hobbies outside of medicine.
- My motto is “the small things matter”. The small things count, and the small bits of effort add up. I’ll study as hard as I can and put as much effort into my research and advocacy projects as much as I can. I also want to constantly put in effort to support and care for individuals close to me. The most precious moments with my most precious people are those little snippets of our everyday lives together. I want to look back and know that I enjoyed all the little moments and put all my little bits of efforts towards my goals.
Thanks for reading! I hope you didn’t get bored reading about me. If you would like to learn more about anything mentioned, I’d love to be touch with you so please feel free to contact me through the website’s form!