Alexandra Flanz, BMLSc 2022

Why did you choose the BMLSc Program? A tour I received as a high school student of the pathology department at the regional hospital in my hometown inspired me to pursue pathology as a career. Attending medical school and specializing in pathology were two academic goals I set for myself, but I also hoped to gain some practical laboratory skills and medical science knowledge in my undergraduate years as well. When applying to university, I sought out an undergraduate program that would teach a range of pathology focused science topics in addition to hands-on laboratory techniques. After learning that the BMLSc program offered both, my decision to apply to UBC and then the BMLSc program was an easy one. Since beginning the program, I have learned about a wide range of medical science topics from pathologists and other doctors which I am sure will prepare me for future academic endeavors.

What is one of the most interesting things you've done, seen or gotten involved with while in the BMLSc Program? During my final year in BMLSc I began a directed studies project with a former professor of mine in the Department of Pathology at UBC. Prior to this experience, I wasn’t fully aware of the process behind conducting and publishing research, but with a project of my own I had the chance to develop my own research skills and apply research design and data reporting concepts that I had learned in class.

What do you like the most about the BMLSc Program? One thing that sets BMLSc apart from other undergraduate programs is that in many courses, a different professor or physician will teach every class. Having the opportunity to meet professionals with different academic backgrounds and current occupations taught me about the range of career paths that exist after graduation. Occasionally, professors would comment on current research they were conducting or the clinical relevance of concepts we would learn in class which demonstrated the possible applications of the theoretical knowledge we were learning in class.

I was surprised to hear that a number of the BMLSc professors were actually students in the program.

What is your favourite place on campus? My favourite place on campus is the ARC and Birdcoop fitness centres. Throughout my undergraduate studies I have made an effort to prioritize daily exercise because I have noticed the benefits it has had on my morale and focus. The centres are large and have a variety of machines and equipment and classes. One class I enjoyed was Ballet 1 where an instructor taught basic ballet technique to students who had little to no ballet experience. It was challenging but a great opportunity to learn something new and be active.

What are your hopes and/or plans for after you graduate? After graduation I plan to go to medical school and specialize in pathology. The pathology courses I have taken in the BMLSc program have only enhanced my desire to pursue pathology and evoked a desire to continue to learn about how the human body responds to illness and disease on a cellular level. I’m fascinated by the detective work that goes into forming a diagnosis from tissue sections and I would like to participate in providing excellent patient care behind the scenes.

What are your top two things to do/see/go to in Vancouver? Taking a walk or jog along the sea wall is one of the best ways to spend a sunny day in Vancouver. The views are impeccable and stopping by Granville Island Market along the way for a snack is essential. I also love trying new sushi restaurants around town. My current favourite is Hi Nippon on West 4th Avenue.

How have you kept connected with friends and family during COVID? During COVID I was fortunate to be living with my sister so I always had family nearby. The two of us kept in touch with other family members though regular phone calls and Face Time. My friends and I stayed in touch though social media and, although I was in Vancouver away from my high school friends in Ontario, I also had a few friends from Vancouver who I was able to spend time with.

Share one interesting thing about you that most people may not know. One interesting thing about me is that I’ve lived in four different countries: England, Poland, USA, and Canada. I moved cities almost every school year as a child which allowed me to experience the different school systems in each country. The most unusual elementary school to attend was in Poland because school started and ended at a different time each day.