Student stories

Engineering grad discovers passion for medecine

Sarah Douglas


1. What program did you pursue at UVic and when did you graduate?

I completed a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering with co-operative education at UVic and I graduated in August 2017.

2. What skills and knowledge did you develop through your program?

Through my engineering degree and employment, I learned how thinking critically and finding innovative ways to solve problems is very satisfying for me. Group projects happened every year in numerous courses which taught us how to work with a team to problem solve, design solutions and analyze them together. I was very fortunate to be a part of the Willerth Tissue Engineering Laboratory where I gained a multitude of research skills and really found my love for driving advancements in biomedical engineering. 

3. What was your favourite part of your time at UVic?

I have numerous parts of my time at Uvic that I found invaluable. I played on the varsity women’s soccer team for my 5 years and owe a lot of my enjoyment to my team and coaches. For myself, I learned how important team comradery and athletics are to maintain balance. My part-time work with Science Venture with their Indigenous STEM program was also a very memorable opportunity because I was able to support and learn with our communities and teach a love of engineering and science.

4. Did you take part in any hands-on learning programs or opportunities like co-op, internships, practice or field schools?

I completed 5 co-op terms within the fields of electrical engineering consulting, information technology, clinical biomedical engineering and pharmaceuticals. During my courses, I also completed a work study with the Willerth Tissue Engineering Lab and did part-time work with Science Venture's Indigenous STEM Program.

5. How did Career Services help you make the move from student to graduate?

Career Services supported me throughout my whole undergraduate degree and into my next degree. They helped me determine between electrical and biomedical engineering. I distinctly remember one of my sessions where the Career Services team member taught me to follow what fits my values and passions and this led me to pursue biomedical engineering. From that choice, I discovered a massive draw to the field of medicine and once again, I was supported by Career Services. Their team helped prepare myself and many others for our medical school interviews by running mock multi-mini interviews (MMIs) that included direct and instant feedback on how to improve. I highly recommend any medical student looking for support to connect with Career Services. 

6. What would you want UVic students to know about Career Services?

I would want students to know that I switched career pathways a few times and struggled to determine 'what I wanted to do'. However, it was through the support of the Career Services that I was able to find confidence to follow my passions. The staff at the Career Services creates a non-judgemental, unbiased space for students to share their thoughts, concerns and desires. They really make you feel heard and provide one-on-one guidance for any stage of your pathway. Determining where we want to go can be a very stressful and overwhelming process. From my experience and hopefully yours, Career Services makes you feel like you have a team behind you that help to clear the confusion of a career pathway or help direct you in one that you never realized was there. 

7. What’s next? What are you up to now and what impact do you hope to make through your career?

Immediately after I completed my degree, I carried out research in Nunavut for pediatric Inuit populations through UBC.  When I returned home, I jumped right into my current full-time as an instructor and program coordinator for Science Venture's Indigenous STEM outreach program where we do regular and frequent science, technology, engineering, math hands-on programming for children, youth and families in our communities. I hope to positively impact the lives of our children and youth and to continue to support the health of our Indigenous populations.

8. What's next for me?

I am very honored to say that I will be continuing to pursue my passions with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia this fall. Through my previous research projects, co-op work term and current position, I have learned how much I love supporting the pediatric and adolescent population; however, I am very open to experiencing other pathways in medicine. As physician, I hope to use my engineering skills to create further impacts through innovative programming and technology.  A key lesson I learned from Career Services was to take the time and effort to find what your heart wants; this will be a theme I am looking forward to chasing.

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