Meghan Lok’s Story

Meghan Lok

Meghan Lok’s Story

Meghan was involved with the Animal Welfare Program in her fifth year of Applied Animal Biology through both academic and work experience. APBI 398, 495, and 497 formally exposed her to research, and through the UBC Work Learn program, she gained work experience as the Communications and Media Assistant for the AWP’s 25th anniversary year.

Meghan always knew that she wanted to study animals, ever since being obsessed with animal documentaries at a young age. She started her UBC journey in the Faculty of Science but was soon feeling stuck, so a friend suggested looking into Applied Biology. Meghan internally transferred at the beginning of her second year, later adding a 30-credit Arts Minor in Psychology to her degree.

After two years of volunteering and undertaking leadership positions in UBC clubs, LFS Orientations, and the LFS Undergraduate Society (LFS|US), Meghan was eager to gain more experience in the animal welfare field that could also blend together her passions in psychology and communications. From inquiring about an email sent out to APBI undergraduates, she carried out a directed study (APBI 497) in the summer, which looked into the impact of the public comment period on the development of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Codes of Practice. She was able to strengthen qualitative research, writing, and oral presentation skills.

She then applied to the UBC Work Learn program through the UBC CareersOnline website at the end of the summer, which is when winter positions are posted. Meghan then worked as the AWP Communications and Media Assistant. Not only was she able to hone the skills developed from other extracurriculars and classes, including WordPress, photography, and video/audio editing, but also found connecting with the AWP community to be a valuable experience. This position also provided an opportunity to assist with in-lab research with mice. That year, Meghan took APBI 495 to carry out research on wildlife coexistence policy and conducted more social science research in APBI 398, continuing her involvement in the project in another directed study (APBI 497) position. She investigated the emotional impact of and attitudes toward surrendering pets to a shelter compared to self-rehoming, opening up a whole area of research that she never knew existed previously. Meghan found her research mentor through the LFS Mentorship Program, which is an excellent opportunity to develop networking skills and learn about different career paths.

Meghan’s advice to undergraduates looking to start gaining research experience is to take courses and try mentorship programs that can ease you into the journey—it will seem less daunting with this extra guidance! Work Learn positions are also a great way to get experience while still leaving time for academics. Start early if you can, but even if you’re near the end of your degree, it’s never too late to try!

Please note that APBI 398 is a required course for APBI Honours students. It is open to non-APBI students with the permission of the instructor. Courses like APBI 495 (currently offered as a section of APBI 490) and 497 are open to non-APBI students. Consult their wiki pages to learn more about the application process. You will see more about how to reach out to potential supervisors! UBC students can 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.