Kathryn McLellan’s Story

Kathryn McLellan

Kathryn McLellan’s Story

Kathryn was introduced to UBC AWP in her third year, through the course APBI 314 Animals and Society. After realizing the field of animal welfare was of interest to her, she took many of the courses offered by the program (e.g., APBI 315, 316, 413, 416, 414) and led her to pursue her research interests in APBI 398. In this course she had the opportunity to work with a graduate student on a dairy cattle research project; after the course she was  finished, she was able to transition into an undergraduate thesis on the same research area. Specifically, she focused on outdoor access for dairy cattle.  Following her final year in APBI, Kathryn received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award to live and work at the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre. There she became involved with various dairy cow and calf research projects with AWP graduate students. 

Kathryn’s undergraduate thesis provided her with the motivation to pursue graduate school. She had a strong research foundation and an area of research interest to pursue. Many of the skills she developed, such as statistical analysis, writing research papers and presenting at conferences, were skills that she needed to succeed throughout graduate school. She also developed connections with other students working in similar research fields during her undergraduate degree, many whom have become excellent colleagues and provided her with invaluable support throughout all of her schooling. Most importantly, her undergraduate research experiences introduced and confirmed her interest in dairy cattle and the dairy industry; a factor that led into graduate school and now into veterinarian medicine. 

Kathryn’s advice for students considering getting involved with undergraduate research would be to start by finding a mentor, both for helping you find a realistic research project and supporting you throughout the work and challenges that you will face. Also, keeping an open mind and being willing to join different projects, even if the project does not initially align with your interests. The skills that you develop working with different researchers and on different projects can be transferred to your own work, but may also help guide you into a different field of interest that may become important to you. 

APBI 398 Research Methods in Applied Biology is a required course for APBI Honours students and is also open to other APBI students. It is open to non-APBI students with the permission of the instructor. Courses like APBI 499 are open to non-APBI students. Consult the wiki page to learn more about the application process. You will see more about how to reach out to potential supervisors! Domestic students enrolled at UBC can explore the opportunity of research through NSERC USRA alongside a faculty member; International students enrolled at UBC can explore opportunities through the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards.