Intern Feature

In our Intern Feature series, we profile genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC interns and their work with our partner projects. Click on the links below to read more about our interns and their experience with us.

The Creative TeamCreativePicture2

g.e@UBC’s Creative Team is made up of interns who are tackling the task of translating science using story telling, animation, film and even some doodles. Read more.

DaniePicDanie Easton, Video Intern

Danie recently graduated with a degree in Motion Picture Arts from Capilano University and since then, she has been focusing on starting her own business within film.  Documentary, events and behind-the-scenes has being a strong suit in Danie’s career.  “I enjoy the pleasure of seeing people enjoy my work, and to show what I can deliver.”  She started working with film 10 years ago, when she picked up her first camera in high school and hasn’t stopped since. On her free time she enjoys photographing and filming the beautiful things in her life, capturing everything. Two things you wouldn’t normally see her without – her laptop and camera – ready to go at any point. Filming events, promotional videos and weddings have been keeping Danie busy.  “I am so excited to be apart of this team at UBC – to learn and to see where life will take me on this adventure!” Read more here.

Katia Truong, Animation Intern

Katia is currently an animation undergraduate student at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. We brought Katia on to our creative team in the spring of 2013 and her first project was to create a teaser video for the Applied Metagenomics of the Watershed Microbiome project. Katia has since joined with forces with Julia Suen and Julia Patey for a longer, more descriptive video for the Watershed team. Katia has also been working closely with Marta Guarna of the Bee IPM project to use animation as a communication tool to explain the relationship between honey bees and the parasitic varroa mites. Read more about Katia’s internship.

Katie's picKatie Verigin, Lean Launch Pad Program Intern

Katie has been volunteering with the LLP program at UBC since January 2014. She enjoys supporting participants in the roller coaster ride that is entrepreneurship. She finds the process of witnessing the LLP participant teams start their businesses from just an idea and blossom into a new venture particularly exciting. Katie is also a part of UBC’s Social Entrepreneurship 101 team heading to Nairobi, Kenya this summer. The team will be teaching classes and working hand-in-hand to help Kenyan students start their own businesses. Katie is currently finishing her first year at UBC and she is planning to study psychology and business. In her free time, she loves to be outside hiking, paddle boarding, or running. Fun fact – Katie has played ice hockey since she was 5 years old and she was team captain at the BC Winter Games by the time that she turned 16. Read more about Katie here.

barkley_valleySB-1Steven Breckon, Video Intern

Steven was the video intern for the summer of 2012. Steven’s interest in photography and film started at a young age. When he came to UBC to student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, his talent and skills helped create tools in designing a course of commercial fishermen. During his internship, he worked with both the Next-Generation Integrated Pest Management Tools for Beekeeping and Adaptree team. Read more about Steven and watch his videos.

Michael Chen, Commercialization Analyst Intern

Michael is back this summer. He is currently working with Prof. Jeremy Hall and Prof. Frank Ko’s group on lignin based carbon fiber. This project is part of Dr. Lindsay Eltis and Dr. William Mohn’s Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources (Lignin) project.  The primary focus is developing the commercialization strategy plan lignin carbon fiber that would potentially benefit Canadian economy.  The research he has conducted is based on the TCOS Framework, developed by Hall and Martin.  The TCOS Framework is categorized in 4 areas: Technological (Identify key technical and engineering hurdles and levers); Commercial (Identify the user needs); Organizational (identify companies’ key competencies); and Social (Identify the stakeholders and understand the social perception).Michael’s primary focus is in commercial uncertainty.  Within this category, he is collecting market information (market size, customer requirement, competitive materials, and complement technologies).  He is also conducting a preliminary cost analysis of lignin based carbon fiber in comparison with the dominate technology on the market, PAN based carbon fiber.  The primary way of information gathering is through information interview with key industry and academic leaders and through secondary sources such as academic and industry reports and government publications.  The findings will also be used as part of his final MBA graduation project. Read more about Michael’s background and experience at his profile page.

TylerDPic Tyler Dergousoff, AdapTree Research Assistant Intern

Tyler is a research assistant intern at AdapTree. He is involved in the genomics side of the project, collecting and preparing samples in the lab. He is also working on the socioeconomic side with the ultimate goal of communicating results of research to end users and stakeholders. He is excited to work with the AdapTree project because of its focus on climate change and applicability to both conservation and industry. Tyler has just finished his second year of a Natural Resource Conservation degree in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. Outside of work and school he spends his time playing music and hiking. Read more here.

Nicolas_Dimopoulos-540x960Nicolas Dimopoulos, Research Assistant Intern

Nicolas is a research assistant intern and Masters student in Dr. Simone Castellarin’s lab at the UBC Wine Research Centre. He is involved in a genomics project exploring the differential expression of metabolites in grape berries of different sizes. The project is proving to be very interesting due to its potential impact on practices in the wine industry. He is excited to present results of the project and to consult with the industry at the upcoming BC Wine and Grape Council 16th Annual Enology & Viticulture Conference.

Previously, he finished his Bachelors’ in microbiology at the University of Victoria. Outside of the lab, he loves cooking, swing dancing, and rock climbing. Read more.

Adam Freud, Law Intern

Adam is our law intern who came on board with us starting in January 2013. A MSc graduate and a current law student at UBC, Adam is working closely with Dr. Emily Marden of the Genomics of Sunflower team and researching intellectual property and biosafety regulations on genomics research. Read more about Adam and his internship experience.

Spencer Landsiedel, Commercialization Analyst Intern

Spencer was born and raised in Abbotsford, BC, where he also completed a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) degree in Accounting and Finance at the University of the Fraser Valley. Spencer will be joining the Tree Aggressors Identification using Genomic Approaches (TAIGA) team this summer to create a commercialization-strategy plan by evaluating the potential applications and adoption of this tool in the market and assessing the economic benefits this could return to Canada.

Prior to graduate school, Spencer was a national-level swimmer, competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Trials and representing Canada at the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Kihei, Hawai’i. While studying for his undergraduate degree, he switched sports and began rowing for the UFV varsity team, achieving top ten finishes at the BC Rowing Championships and the National Rowing Championships. He is actively involved in Net Impact, a global organization of professionals and students committed to sustainable business, and was one of the three organizers of the 11th Annual UBC Net Impact Conference last week. Spencer has worked for the provincial government in a communications role and has significant experience in public speaking and professional presentations.
Outside of the classroom, Spencer writes jazz piano tunes and enjoys gourmet cooking.

Fraser Larock, Commercialization Analyst Intern

Fraser is our commercialization analyst intern during the summer of 2013. As a student in UBC’s Faculty of Forestry with a minor in commerce, Fraser was perfect for the role of commercialization and analyst intern with the Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources (Lignin) project. Read more about Fraser’s background and experience.

Max Macdonald, Apicultural Summer Researcher

Max is currently studying biochemistry at UBC Okanagan and is currently halfway through his undergraduate degree. He has been working at Armstrong Apiaries for the past four summers as a commercial beekeeper and breeder. Max spent the summer of 2013 working in the field with the Next-Generation Integrated Pest Management Tools for Beekeeping (Bee IPM) project to obtain a qualitative and socioeconomic perspective on how beekeepers feel about the tools developed by the project researchers. Find out more about Max’s exciting internship at his profile page.


Jamie Lee Martin, Bee IPM Apicultural Specialist Intern

During her internship with Bee IPM, Jamie will explore the interest of queen breeders and queen producers in BC to engage in efforts to increase the quantity and quality of locally produced queens in BC, and to utilize Bee IPM tools for selective breeding. She is currently assisting  with the establishment, evaluation and transport of research colonies. Jamie is originally from Dartmouth Nova Scotia. She has an Honors Specialization Environmental Science degree from Western University, Ontario. Jamie has recently completed her Honors Thesis, which focused on the effects of pesticides on honey bee foraging performance and immune gene response.  Honey bee health is an issue that she has been actively studying for the past two years, and she is honored to continue this journey as a part of the Bee IPM Research project. Read more here.

MollyMoshofskyMolly Moshofsky, Faculty of Forestry

Molly is a member of the Adaptree team. She is working with Lee Charleson from the Tree Improvement Branch at Ministry of Forestry to identify preliminary work on BC indigenous persons’ perspectives on climate change adaptation with particular focus on seed use on Crown land. Themes addressed include climate change adaptation and strategies, the linkages between community economic prosperity and climate change, and identifying methods to develop an understanding of the First Nation communities’ beliefs on climate change. This project will be useful in guiding future policy development and consultation plans concerning assisted migration of plant species. Read more about Molly’s work with AdapTree at her profile page.

Margaret 2Margaret Morales, Video Intern

Margaret completed her Masters of Arts in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at UBC last fall, under the supervision of Dr. Gunilla Öberg and Dr. Leila Harris. Prior to that, she studied Documentary Film and Video at Duke University in Durham, NC. She has extensive experience filming documentaries on water-related issues from Argentina and Peru, to Guatemala, to Vancouver.
Margaret’s work with genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC during the winter of 2013 included creating short video clips that help make the research work of the partner projects accessible to broad audiences.

Julia Patey, Video Intern

Julia joined our creative team in our video storytelling initiatives during the summer of 2013. As a recent graduate from the UBC Film Program, Julia collaborated with our animation interns, Katia Truong and Julia Suen, to produce communication pieces for the Watershed Metagenomics and our Lean Launch Pad program. Julia is also creating demonstration videos for the Winos team to show how their product works in the field. Read more about Julia’s internship at her profile page.

Bahar-Salehpour-PictureBahar Salehpour, Video Intern

Bahar’s focus this summer will be documenting partner project stories through visual media. Bahar became interested in film and TV production during high school after taking an introductory course in film/TV. She learned the basics of editing, lighting, sound and cinematography and had the opportunity to make her own 10-minute movie from scratch. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to take the follow up course in grade 12, which encouraged her to direct one of her school’s monthly broadcasts. From that point on, she knew that small scale film production would be one of main hobbies. Last summer she made a short video of the FEATHERS project in the CARIS Lab at UBC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. She thinks that the g.e@UBC internship is an exciting opportunity to expand on her experience and knowledge of film production. Read More.

Tamara bio picTamara Sommer, Project Development Intern

Tamara will be working on a project to explore the feasibility of a potentially commercially significant compound derived from balsam, in collaboration with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and the Bohlmann lab. Tamara was born in Surrey, BC and was raised in Williams Lake. She is pursuing a joint major BSc in psychology and international business at the University of Northern British Columbia. She is interested in program evaluation within rural communities. During her first summer with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC), she had the opportunity to pilot a project and to develop an understanding of the different aspects that must be addressed. Tamara is passionate about social programs that promote a healthy standard of living in hard to reach communities. She has recently completed an applied psychology course in partnership with Northern Health where she assisted a Northern Health partner in evaluating a program of their choice. She is looking forward to further augment her skills in project development during her g.e@ubc internship in order to support her home community.

adrianaAdriana Suarez-Gonzalez, Research Assistant Intern

Adriana is a research scientist passionate about genomics and its applications in health and forestry. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in Colombia, and received a Master of Science, Technology and Public Policy from the University of Winnipeg. After surviving three winters in Manitoba, she came to UBC and is currently a PhD candidate in Botany.

Over  the summer of 2015, with the support of genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC, she will be joining GenXys, a startup working in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. Read more.

Julia Suen, Animation Intern

Julia graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a BFA in animation recently and we recruited her to join our creative team of interns during the summer of 2013. Julia has been working with many of our projects, but her main focus has been animating videos for the Winos team and the Applied Metagenomics of the Watershed Microbiome project. Visit Julia’s profile page to learn more about her.

AnnAnn Wilby, Bee IPM Apicultural Specialist Intern

Ann is currently studying sustainable agriculture in the Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems at UBC. She has a passion for exploring food systems and discovering new ways to feed our communities. Ann grew up in rural B.C. in the small town of Grand Forks, which boasts a strong agricultural history. In addition to working on local farms in Grand Forks, she has experience urban farming in Vancouver and volunteering on various farms in India, Ireland and Portugal. Regardless of the country, the honeybee has a vital role to play. Read more.

20150619_152228Rodrigo Lopez, Research Assistant Intern

Rodrigo, a second year student of the UBC-BCIT Honours in Biotechnology Joint Degree B.Sc program, is joining Dr. Simone Castellarin’s team at UBC’s Wine Research Centre for the summer of 2015. Read more about Rodrigo here.

If you would like more information on our Internship program or would like to do an internship with one of our partner projects, please visit the Internships page.

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