Katie Berlinger’s Story
I joined the UBC Applied Biology Program in 2020 when I switched my major from Nutritional Science to Applied Animal Biology. After taking my first-year biology requirements, I found that I was drawn to animal ecology and the study of marine organisms. In subsequent years, I have taken a range of APBI and EOSC courses. Specifically, my favourites were APBI 317, and EOSC 315. APBI 317 focused on ways to improve animal welfare in research, which I had never been aware of, and EOSC 315 focused on the ocean ecosystem. These courses introduced me to the UBC Animal Welfare Program (AWP), where I currently work at. After my third year in the APBI program, I decided that I wanted to focus my degree on oceanic organisms, specifically marine mammals. I am now in my final year of a BSc and I will be continuing my education with a Master in Marine Science.
In the fall of 2022, I was searching for a part-time job that could provide me with some experience working with animals, or that focused on an aspect of animal biology. I decided to apply for the AWP’s Work Learn program. I applied for the position of Social Media Manager on CareersOnline even though I had never worked in a similar position. Fortunately, I met all other qualifications for the position, even if I lacked the social media management experience, and was hired with the intention of managing the programs Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for the 2022/2023 Winter Term. I had previously worked in the AMS nest in the Storeroom where I handled and delivered all of the food shipments to the outlets in the nest. Through this position, I learned how to handle a fast-paced job where I had to think critically and communicate with a large team in a timely and efficient manner. These qualities along with my organizational and time-management skills allowed me to fit perfectly into the AWP role, and adapt to fast-paced content production on my own schedule. Shortly after beginning this position, I realized that I was quite good at organizing and scheduling content, communicating with the faculty, and completing odd jobs such as attending AWP events, providing assistance in a lab setting, and attending monthly webinars.
When providing advice to students, I acknowledge that everyone has a different story, path, and end goal, and that this advice will not pertain to everyone. What worked for me was to branch out and apply for things such as the Work Learn position, take various courses that I didn’t think I had prior interest in, like APBI 317, and advocate to try new opportunities such as the in-lab work that I was provided with in this position. Since I’ve applied to a position that I had little knowledge in, but was in my field of study, I have been exposed to numerous opportunities that I don’t believe I would have been able to reach otherwise. I have been able to tune into my major more than I have in the rest of my academic career, and am so grateful that I took the chance on this job posting.