Sofia Rodriguez’s Story
Sofia is a recipient of the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award (WLIURA). This award provided partial funding for Sofia to work as a full-time research assistant with the Animal Welfare Program (AWP) for four months.
My name is Sofia Rodriguez, and I have just finished my undergraduate degree in Applied Animal Biology. When I first applied for the degree, I wasn’t entirely sure where it would lead me, but I felt confident with my decision as I knew I had a love for animals, especially their conservation. I also knew that the Faculty of Land and Food Systems’ educational values aligned with mine, specifically the multidisciplinary approach to learning. I found out about the summer Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award through the UBC CareersOnline website, and I applied for the Media Science and Communications position as I was interested in further learning about how to communicate research effectively.
Through my time in this position, I have gained a wide range of experiences related to research and the communication of research; I regularly collaborate with faculty and students in the program to create communications material for their research, plan knowledge translation events for a wide range of audiences, and participate in weekly lab meetings. I have even become involved in one of the research projects, learning to code videos for a study on mice. Part of my time has been spent creating content for the AWP website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Though the time in the position is short, it has been some of the most rewarding times of my university career – I have been able to work closely with some of the leaders in research for my field of study! Not only that, but it has given me insight into what a research-focused program is like; I was unaware of how many people it takes to make the program run smoothly, and I feel fortunate to have had this experience.
With my upcoming graduation, I am looking forward to seeing what my post-UBC future looks like. Moving to BC, studying at UBC, and taking on this Work Learn position, I have come to understand that there is more than just one way to help animals, and I hope to be able to continue working with them in the future. Though I am not clear on every detail I do picture myself working with animals, possibly working directly with them through agriculture or conservation.
If there is someone curious but apprehensive about joining a Work Learn position, I would say that I understand them and that I strongly encourage them to apply, as my time in Work Learn has been really fulfilling. I think an important thing to remember about a position such as this one is that no one expects you to know everything, but rather that you are willing to learn, and part of that process sometimes comes with making mistakes.
International students enrolled at UBC can explore opportunities through the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award 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.