Courteney Lai, Graduate Student (PhD), Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency Research Centre; and President, Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Society of the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre

Being a graduate student at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre (CRC) in Vancouver, I am fortunate to be exposed to many great opportunities in research and ideas for how and where to go from here in my career.

Having had the opportunity to be exposed to and involved in research on a national and international scale, I can confidently say that I enjoy research. I love the challenge of unraveling puzzles and being part of leading-edge research discoveries. In addition, I am passionate about creating and supporting the community of research at the Agency. This is one of the reasons I chose to take on a leadership role as President of the Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society (GrasPods) at the CRC, coordinate an undergraduate student journal club, and volunteer with the national organization Let’s Talk Science. Through these roles, I can help support and develop other students’ experiences and play a key role in providing a useful network for students pursuing careers in science to learn from each other.

I applied to study at the BC Cancer Agency because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of patients afflicted with this disease and for their loved ones. I feel fortunate to have these experiences and be surrounded by colleagues and mentors who have also made this same choice.

My colleagues and I also strongly believe in supporting the work we do here at the BC Cancer Agency in all aspects: from the research we perform to the widespread participation I see in BC Cancer Foundation events throughout the year, like the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Underwear Affair. Also my department registered a team in the 2011 Scotiabank Half-Marathon, which also supports the Foundation. The level of involvement of trainees and employees of the BC Cancer Agency is a testament to the commitment we have towards our work and the cause. By working together here and through your philanthropic support of the BC Cancer Foundation we can make a difference in the lives of patients.

The next few years in my career are still to be determined, possibly overseas to earn more senior credentials, and one day possibly returning to the BC Cancer Agency. But I know I am off to a great start having experienced this fantastic research environment.

Thank you for reading,

Courteney