Quill Christie came to UBC for the mountains, the Science programs, and to deepen her connection to her Aboriginal culture.
“Since coming to UBC, I have been able to immerse myself in the Aboriginal community a lot more than I did back home. I spent most of my time in rural Ontario with basically no fellow Aboriginal people. It is absolutely amazing to be able to come to the Longhouse and have lunch, meet fellow community members, and engage in the culture,” she says.
Quill, who is studying how stress affects lampreys’ immune systems, spends a lot of time in a lab where indigenous perspectives are valued.
“My Aboriginal Science Coordinator has worked wonders for me!” says Quill. “I always feel I can ask her about anything and she will give me a reliable answer. I am very thankful to have such a great person who is really rooting for me.”
Quill has found other communities that made her feel at home. She says, “I found that at UBC I met a lot more people who were similar to me in their love for nature and the outdoors. In my Biology program, a lot more individuals are conservation-aware than a university in Ontario.”
Given her love of biology, marine life, and the great outdoors, it’s not surprising her best day so far at UBC combined all these things.
“My best day at UBC was during my first year. I started the day with a biology class taught by one of my favorite professors. The class was talking about evolution and the teacher was showing us all of these amazing videos of whales. I left class totally inspired and headed straight to the beach for my lunch break. It was a beautiful fall day and I met some friends, swam in the ocean and returned to my afternoon classes revitalized. Nothing beats being able to dip your toes in the ocean between classes.”
After graduation, Quill plans to head to South Africa, train as a ranger, and work at a conservation initiative. After that, she’s considering taking her master’s degree, and continuing her study of marine mammals.