Building a strong foundation
August 22, 2016
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
Bachelor or Science (in progress)
“It is easy to get to know your peers and professors. This helps to keep you informed about the opportunities available to students in terms of work and research.”
APPARENTLY STUDYING PHYSICS AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL wasn’t quite challenging enough for UBC Okanagan undergrad Matthew Basso.
The properties and phenomena of matter and energy are fascinations Basso appreciates even more by helping fellow students with their own coursework. As an added bonus, all that effort simultaneously contributes to his academic and career aspirations.
“Coming to UBC, I expected to discover new knowledge through my coursework and interactions with the campus community,” says Basso who’s completing his third year of undergraduate studies in his hometown of Kelowna.
“However, I did not anticipate that I would have the unique opportunity to teach or lead a learning session”—something he’s doing in spades as a tutor with the Math and Science Centre, a Supplemental Learning Leader for physics, and an undergraduate teaching assistant.
Basso now has his sights set on graduate school with the hope of one day teaching and doing research at a post-secondary institution like UBC.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
“UBC’s Okanagan campus has a very supportive and encouraging environment,” says Basso.
“I think the positive atmosphere on campus stems from the university’s focus to help its students succeed.”
Physics Instructor John Hopkinson first encouraged Basso to pursue work as a teaching assistant, and also introduced him to Associate Professor Andrew Jirasek, who would become Basso’s supervisor when he received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Assistantship to develop a microscope slide suitable for use with a Raman microscope, aiding in cancer research.
Basso cites his NSERC-funded work as the highlight of his undergraduate experience, as he gets to apply classroom learning in a hands-on environment.
“Professor Jirasek has become a mentor to me, and I hope to continue working with him throughout my degree. His area of expertise, medical physics, is where I would like to pursue graduate studies.
“I am grateful to him and instructors like Jake Bobowski for providing me with opportunities to teach and do research.”
GROWING WITH THE CAMPUS
Basso says the Physics program offers students a comprehensive education in many fundamental areas of physics, and that it builds a strong foundation in mathematics, the analysis of experimental uncertainties, and the use of numerical computer programs.
“In the Physics program, it is easy to get to know your peers and professors, and this helps to keep you informed about the opportunities available to students in terms of work and research.”
He’s also learned to juggle his coursework with other commitments on campus, finding that with careful allocation of time it’s possible to take advantage of all opportunities—such as volunteering for the Create student orientation and the campus tour program Destination UBC for high-school students.
“UBCO is a young campus with plenty of room for students to grow. It is exciting to be part of that growth.”
—by Deanna Roberts