Alumni Spotlight, People
The value of curiosity
November 26, 2015
Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
MBA Candidate, University of Toronto
MSc, UBC Vancouver (2013)
BSc Honours, Biology,UBC Okanagan, (2008)
“I don’t think you can fail to develop into the kind of person you’d like to be while you are trusting your instincts and pursuing your passions.”
ONE WOULD BE SURPRISED to learn that someone as accomplished as Letitia Falk first struggled to adjust to the heightened standards and degree of responsibility expected of students, when she first began studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Falk chose UBC Okanagan because of its small class sizes, personable faculty, and opportunities for student engagement in research. “Some of the electives that I took on a whim have had the greatest impact on me,” she says. “I don’t think you can fail to develop into the kind of person you’d like to be while you are trusting your instincts and pursuing your passions.”
Those opportunities to participate in research labs and projects helped Falk to discover the direction she wanted to head with her career after graduation. It was while presenting findings at a city council workshop, that Falk became inspired to get involved in policy and environmental sustainability. She credits, and considers herself lucky to have been involved in three different research projects during her undergraduate program.
Having attended larger universities since graduation from UBC Okanagan, Falk recognizes what a privilege it was to get to know all of her classmates, and to be mentored by professors who take in interest not just in students’ academic achievements, but in their personal and professional development as well.
“The small size of the campus provided opportunities for interdepartmental and interfaculty events of the type that you just don’t see at larger universities,” says Falk. “This allowed me to interact with students from different programs and to participate in events that covered a range of subjects from the arts and sciences. These events give me an appreciation of the scope of work going on at UBC, and a sense of pride for our achievement as a school.”
UBC LESSONS APPLIED TO THE BOARDROOM
Flash forward to today, Falk now researches emerging trends and policies for the provincial government. “Research opportunities during my time at UBCO taught me to persevere and motivate myself. These attributes have been especially helpful in management, because they allow me to work without being reliant on praise or immediate success.
“UBC taught me the value of being curious. By going and talking to my professors and asking them about their research, I found out about job postings, student grants, and courses that have helped me get to where I am today.”
Falk says the electives that she took outside of the course required by her program, opened her mind and reminded her that there is always another perspective to explore.
In her continued quest to learn and discover, Falk is now an executive for two student clubs at the University of Toronto, where she helps create opportunities for students of business to get involved in healthcare. She considers herself fortunate to have found a job at the Ministry of Energy, a job that she looks forward to going to every day.
—by May Li