Rocio.jpg

Photo Credit - Josie Bauman Photography

Elin Sober-Williams

Research Assistant

Simon Fraser University

And - Environmental Biologist's Assistant

,,

Math and science open so many doors for girls and women.

,,

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I work and study at Simon Fraser University (on the unceded, ancestral, and current territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Kwikwetlem, and Katzie Nations) and am partway through my Masters of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology there. I research the autonomic nervous system health of individuals with spinal cord injury. Specifically, I am researching dangerous and unpredictable changes in their blood pressure with the goal of figuring out how to prevent this condition.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I chose this field because I want to improve the health-related quality of life for people. I thought the way to help the largest number of people would be through contributing to research. This seemed like the right path when I was in my first anatomy and physiology course in my undergraduate degree at Quest University. The course was taught by a passionate and inspiring instructor, Chris Willie, and his excitement about human physiology was contagious. In that class I found myself feeling passionate about pursuing a research career in human physiology.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

To get through any challenge I try to think about it from many angles. I always look for a way to make things work. I tend to still get hung up on obstacles that are due to someone’s inflexibility, but I am working on being able to let those instances go (I’m only human)!

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I wish that I knew you could take university classes for credit before going to university. Nowadays, there are even a lot of distance education courses available so you don’t have to live in a city to attend university courses. This knowledge would have helped me through periods when my education was less thorough and engaging than I needed it to be. At the time, I looked into more academically rigorous boarding school options, but my family couldn’t afford to support me in that. Taking one university course in addition to my public school education could have been a much more affordable solution to a better education!

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love working in STEM because I get to problem-solve and get paid for it. I get to read as much as I want about what interests me most! I get to put that reading to work where it informs my research and helps me become a better scientist.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

The best advice I can give is to follow your curiosity.

INSPIRATION

“Having this job is a chance to live out your values as a person in your science” -Jen Heemstra