Lisa Parvin (2010)

Posted in Beyond-the-degree  |  Tagged

Lisa Parvin

Project Coordinator/RASchool of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia

Growing up in an underdeveloped country with limited access to resources, I always dreamt of exploring opportunities and test my strengths and abilities at a global platform. After graduation, while my classmates were looking for either jobs or preparing for doctoral programs at various schools around the globe, I felt the need to look for a program that was flexible enough to provide me with opportunities to learn about diverse paths that I could take and kept my options open. Masters in Biotechnology program at Georgetown is a perfect example of that. It is a nexus for professionals from various backgrounds and students with different dreams and career objectives.

With a wonderful blend of science and business courses, this program encourages students to think outside of the box and to dream big.

Internship opportunities give students chances to explore their options and to gain real world experience, which allows them to understand what kind of job or career they want to have after graduating from schools.

What I appreciated most is the level of encouragement that I had received from my professors and the entrepreneurial spirit that was sown in me. Lecturers with work experiences of various biotechnology related industries and also academic research labs, provided me a comprehensive view of biotechnology and biotechnology-related businesses. It is a great wonder to me how each one of my classmates nurtured their inner passion and ended up having different careers after graduating from the same program. This shows the level of flexibility and versatility that this masters program has, which make it truly suitable for those who know what they want to achieve in their career and also to them who haven’t quite decided yet, and so are willing to keep their options opened.

After graduating from Georgetown, I met researchers and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds as I was exploring my opportunities. I was drawn to public health related research projects. The multi-disciplinary approaches of the research projects and the different career pathways that the researchers have taken showed me ways to integrate my passion, knowledge and skills, and to work for community and population-level interventions. I started working at the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia as a Project Coordinator. We are developing evidence based patient navigation program for prostate cancer patients and their caregivers. Meanwhile, I got involved with a local NGO, Grambangla Unnayan Committee (GUC), in Bangladesh. This NGO manages schools and health programs for marginalized communities, such as Bede (river gypsies) and waste pickers in urban areas. Extremely low vaccination coverage in Bede communities and the challenges they face in accessing vaccination programs and other health care programs, motivated me to work with them. With GUC’s support, I outlined an exploratory project and got the chance to visit a village in Bangladesh to collect some data for preliminary assessment. I am now outlining a research project to investigate further to identify structural and cultural barriers in accessing vaccination programs by Bede community and eventually hope to design a culture sensitive patient navigation program, utilizing mobile health technologies that complement their nomadic lifestyle.

Masters in Biotechnology program at Georgetown opened doors in North America for me. The entrepreneurial spirit that I got to nurture during my time at Georgetown, gave me courage to dream big. I hope to work with marginalized communities around the world to reduce global health inequities.