SHAUGHNE SMITH, Visiting Undergraduate (Queens University), Summer 2014
JS: Okay, let’s warm up with something easy. Coffee or a cold apple: which keeps you going?
SS: Neither: Chocolate milk is my staple diet.
JS: Nobody has ever defied me on this particular question by answering outside of the box. I respect that. And how do you like Vancouver? Where did you live before coming to Vancouver? Vancouver’s better, right? KIDDING! There are no wrong answers here! Please, go ahead.
SS: I absolutely love Vancouver and I am sad that I am only here temporarily. My home is Prince Rupert (a small port city below Alaska) and before Prince Rupert, my family and I lived in Pretoria, South Africa.
JS: Standard interview question, sorry: What’s your worst feature (and how does it make you an amazing scientist/person?)
SS: I am a bit of a ‘clean-freak’. Okay, my room is meticulous (I even have a flip-fold to fold my shirts all the same size) so perhaps it is a mild form of OCD. But when it comes to lab work, having everything orderly and precise is usually encouraged.
JS: Agreed – attention to detail will go a long way in the lab, and perfectly-folded lab coats, well, who could ask for more! Tell me about your first experiment. Not from your first lab experience, school etc, but your REAL FIRST experiment.
SS: That’s easy. It was to test if my dogs’ life was better than mine. I made it so I was the test subject and would crawl around on all fours, eating the dog food and sleep in their kennel with them. I concluded that their life was pretty awesome up until I needed the bathroom.
JS: I think that many of us have actually done this exact same experiment when we tried dog food as a kid. You went the extra mile. I respect that. Now, where do you see yourself in 10 years? How about 50 years? 400 years?
SS: In ten years, I hope to see myself finishing medical school. Anything beyond that is too far in advance to plan.
JS: What are you up to when you’re not in the lab? WHAT? YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS IN THE LAB? Just kidding, do tell!
SS: When I am not in the lab/class/studying you can find me doing photography, playing volleyball, going on a run, doing random DIY projects, or binge watching tv.
JS: Standard interview question #2, really sorry: Tell me about a challenge you faced (and totally overcame).
SS: A challenge I faced/overcame was going off to boarding school. The local high school in my town was pretty poor and my parents were worried about how it would affect my future, so at the age of thirteen I packed up my suitcase and moved out. Boarding school life was challenging in many unexpected ways, but it built character and raised me to be who I am today.
JS: As a kid I went to swimming competitions, away from home, for up to several nights in a row. One time the older guys made me sleep under the A/C and I got the sniffles. Okay, last question: If you were to come into the lab one morning (it’s ok to leave the lab to sleep at night, sometimes) and find that someone had brought in your favourite edible treat to share with the lab, what would that favourite edible treat be?
SS: An egg, sunny side up.
JS: I respect that.