Education and outreach

#LabLifeLessons: Celebrating our diversity at the Michael Smith Laboratories

Canada’s impressive diversity is one of the elements that make it a great place to live! People come from all over the world to study and work at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories and it is a point of strength that should be celebrated.

A small team of post-docs set out to highlight the diversity at the Michael Smith Laboratories by putting together an activity that included a world map, a box of pushpins, a ball of thread, and a short questionnaire. Here, we share a few things we learned from this activity and what attracted people to the Michael Smith Laboratories.


Close-up of a world map with flag pins indicating where MSL personnel have lived prior to coming to Vancouver


Why did you choose to move (or return) to Vancouver/UBC?

“During my PhD, I read many interesting research papers from UBC, which attracted me here.”
– Aicha from the Foster lab


“Because of the surrounding nature and science.”
— Paulina from the Mayor lab


“Great research and nature.”
– Sarah from the Hirst lab


“Great science and great outdoor opportunities.”
– Andreas from the Withers lab


“Most people in Vancouver have a high regard for family and education.”
– Christian, MSL faculty member


“How could I resist the great outdoors on Vancouver’s doorstep!”
– Jon from the Mayor lab



What surprised you the most about Vancouver?


“The diversity of people”
– Zack from the Finlay lab


“The amazing hikes!”
– Rafaela from the Hieter lab


“Nature is next door!”
– Aicha from the Foster lab


“The diversity, [and the] multicultural ambiance. The mountains, lakes, scenic views, etc.”
– Samrat from the Snutch lab


“The safety and cleanliness. It is possibly the safest city of its size in North America.”
– Christian, MSL faculty member


“The snow!”
– Sarah from the Hirst lab


“People queue everywhere.”
– Andreas from the Withers lab


“The cold, the rain, and the beautiful parks!”
– Isabela from the Foster lab


“How good the buses are.”
– Jon from the Mayor lab


“The arts and culture scene and how good transit is!”
– Heather from the Mayor lab


“How delicious Asian food is here.”
– Alexandra from the Foster lab