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Grad student profile: Maria Soto, PhD in Biology

Posted by Faculty of Graduate Studies on September 25, 2019 in News
PhD student Maria Soto working in the Bertrand Lab in the Life Sciences Centre. (Kenneth Conrad photo)
PhD student Maria Soto working in the Bertrand Lab in the Life Sciences Centre. (Kenneth Conrad photo)

Name: Maria Soto
Hometown: Cali, Colombia
Program: PhD, Department of Biology

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What made you choose Dalhousie?

I wanted to come to Canada, so I started to research potential supervisors. I liked Erin Bertrand's work and reached out - that's what led me to Dal and Halifax.

What advice would you give to a fellow Colombian coming to Dalhousie to do their PhD?

Be open to change, because when you come here, everything is new. Be open to anyone who's willing to help. Try and enjoy the city, even though it's cold!

How have you found the research environment at Dalhousie?

I’ve heard researchers at other institutions say that labs are very competitive (with each other) – I haven’t seen that here. Everyone is very friendly, and if you need help, they’re there to help you. It’s a positive environment – different labs work together; they’re not closed off from each other.

What's your favourite thing about studying at Dalhousie?

Learning about other cultures - there are a lot of international students here.

What do you enjoy most about Halifax and/or Nova Scotia?

Halifax is a small city, very walkable. It's a safe place - I'm never worried about being out late. I also like going to the farmer's market and being close to the ocean.

What's something you like to do here that you can't do in Colombia?

I haven't done so yet, but I'm hoping to try a winter sport like skating or skiing!