Hi, my name is Will Lockwood and I am a scientist at the BC Cancer Agency. My path to a career in cancer research has been more straightforward than most, but was aided by the mentorship and support of many people.
I am a B.C. boy through and through, born and raised in Kamloops. As with most kids, school—science in particular—was the last thing on my mind; hockey and lacrosse were my main obsessions. All that changed when my mom went back to school to become a nurse. As she talked about the things she learned in class—and through reading her textbooks—I became fascinated by science and human health. Her passion for learning (my mom is wicked smart) also rubbed off on me and I decided to take a more active role in my academics as I moved into high school. Biology was my favorite subject, and I was lucky to have a very good teacher (who was also my AAA hockey coach!) who saw my interest and encouraged me to pursue a career in science. Despite this, I took a year off after high school to play hockey and lacrosse at the junior level, the latter of which took me to Ontario and a national championship.
But I knew that science was the path for me. I enrolled at UBC the following year and started my B.Sc in Microbiology and Immunology. Although I was initially interested in infectious disease, I received my first opportunity to conduct cancer research after Dr. Wan Lam offered to take me on as a summer student in my second year of studies. I actually wrote every investigator at the BC Cancer Agency and Wan was the only one to write me back! But it was an exciting environment to be in, and having lost both of my grandfathers to cancer, something I was passionate about tackling.
In my next blog post, I’ll share more about the work I did as a PhD student and how this led to a career in lung cancer research.