Kathen Li’s Story

Kathen Li

Kathen Li’s Story

Kathen is a recipient of the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award (WLIURA) under the supervision of Dr. Dan Weary. This award provided partial funding for Kathen to work as a full-time research assistant with the Animal Welfare Program (AWP) for four months. 

While searching for research opportunities for international students at UBC, Kathen discovered the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award on UBC’s Work Learn website. He then worked with Dr. Dan Weary to develop a research project proposal for his application. As a student in the Applied Animal Biology honours program, Kathen applied for this award in order to gain research experience before completing his own honours thesis. At the dairy centre, he was involved in multiple research projects. This was his first time working closely with dairy cows and he was able to participate in the experiments directly with graduate researchers and learn many research methods. 

Working at the farm provided Kathen with experience working with large animals and gave him a clearer and more intuitive understanding of animal welfare research. Additionally, having a more academically oriented lifestyle by living with researchers and participating in regular journal seminars provided him with knowledge and resources to plan his own thesis and seek advice at any time.  

Kathen’s advice for students considering undergraduate research is to start early. Particularly in the case of the competitive awards and research positions, they may require applicants to submit a research proposal with a faculty member, which takes time to organize and perfect. It is also important to be proactive. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our program advisor since they are the ones who know undergraduate research opportunities very well! 

International students enrolled at UBC can explore opportunities through the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards alongside a faculty member; Domestic students enrolled at UBC can explore the opportunity of research through NSERC USRA. UBC students can also explore other Work Learn positions, many of which are related to research. These are part time and generally posted in August for the fall and winter terms and in March/April for the summer term – check out their website for details.