I was born/grew up in: Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada
I now live in: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I completed my training/education at: BSc, Biology (Honours) - Minor in Mathematics, Carleton University
What I do at work
I am a master's student at Carleton University. Although I majored in biology, most of my interests and research have never occurred inside a lab. In fact most of it has been done using computers and with pen and paper. With a dash of mathematics, statistics, and biological theory, you can help explain phenomena that would be too costly in either time or money with classic experimentation. On the mathematical side, I have used advanced types of mathematics to look at the diversity of things. On the statistics side, I am beginning to use machine learning to tackle some evolutionary questions. These questions haven't been easy to answer, but the great part about science is that we all engage in each others work, so help is only ever a friendly email or knock on your neighboring lab door away.
My career path is
In elementary school, I was certain I was going to join the military up until high school, when I fell for music. I scraped by grade 11 mathematics and I never took grade 12 mathematics - I was that sure I was going to university to study music. One bad experience with music later and I instead applied to Carleton for biology. I changed my degree six times and with some off-time, I got my BSc 8 years later. I initially picked biology because there was no math requirement for admission. In my final year, I was taking a graduate mathematics course in game theory and writing a thesis on graph theory. I took 8 years to find out, but with enough experimentation, mathematical biology was the clear choice for me. During my bachelor program I even completed aircrew selection with the Royal Canadian Air Force. I was offered a position as an air combat systems officer or aerospace control officer upon completion of my degree. But, I wanted to push my education further. So, here I am now doing my Masters.
I am motivated by
Mathematics has so much beauty, but unless in the light of biology - an organism to interpret the mathematics - it has no meaning. Using mathematics as a tool for solving biological problems is often chaotic, but tangible. The problem solving is simply that much fun.
How I affect people’s lives
My work on diversity has potential applications outside of biology to recognize patterns in demographics and ensure fair representation of people. Otherwise, my research provides knowledge to our ever growing collection of scientific work.
Outside of work I
Bouldering is the best. It's the combination of problem solving, exercise, meeting people, and a good way to blow off a little steam. Besides bouldering, I enjoy watchmaking, mushroom picking, board games, and I'm involved in eSports.
My advice to others
Just keep trying until you find something that sticks. Don't worry so much about time; some people will take less; some will take more. At the end of the day all that matters is if you're happy.