1. How did you end up in your chosen occupation?
After conducting many years of graduate and postdoctoral training, I knew that I was well suited to academia based on my interests and strengths in teaching and research. Positions in academia don’t come up very often, and one became available as I was finishing my postdoctoral fellowship. I applied and was successful. That was two years ago. My research expertise is in the clinical and public health aspects of nutrition and cardiovascular disease. When I was an undergraduate I worked as a research assistant in a cardiac rehab program. Because of this experience, I was assigned an internship research project in cardiology. My internship research project eventually expanded into a Master thesis, which then informed my PhD program that focused on nutrition in patients with chronic heart failure. Never underestimate how your early experiences can influence your future career!
2. Was that always the occupation you wanted to end up in?
Prior to my internship I wanted to be a clinical dietitian who worked with GI patients. I also loved cardiovascular research based on my summer work experiences as a Research Assistant at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. During internship this changed and I developed a great interest in critical care nutrition. After my internship I was fortunate to obtain a position in the ICU, which I stayed in for 3 years.
3. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your path to your current occupation?
Working in academia as a tenure-track Assistant Professor is demanding in both time and effort required; but it’s also very rewarding to watch one’s students excel or to see uptake of one’s research in clinical practice or policy. I also have opportunities to travel and collaborate with colleagues across the country and internationally, and the freedom to be creative and test interesting and important research questions. I did not expect to work in academia (far from it!). However, I had an open mind; was in tune with my strengths and interests; worked very hard; was persistent, creative, and innovative; and had excellent mentors who identified my potential and provided me with opportunities to succeed.