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Photo credit: Stephen Hui. Copyright (c) 2018 Stephen Hui. All rights reserved.

In one line, kind of a bad-ass pollinator.

I like to move around (a lot) both intellectually and physically.

The long story is, I try to capture what I learn from my observations of the natural and built environment and share these findings with others in a way that influences the art and design of what we create to hopefully better us and the space we call place. I’ve always had an interest in interior design and art. When my fellow kindergarteners were bringing National Geographic to Show & Tell, I was sharing Architectural Digest’s feature on Burt Reynold’s summer home.

And art has been vital in my understanding of the world. When I was a child, my mother would let my leash go at the NY Met where I’d spend hours studying every detail of each painting and torturing museum security by attempting to touch each piece. By the age of 7, I had learned all one needed to know at The Met. I learned about history, evolution, fashion, exploration, tragedy, loss, death, mythology, and love. This led to my doctoral research in studying the transactional relationship between learners and the spaces that they occupy. I conduct similar research now at the University of British Columbia with a focus on the clinical learning environment within our Faculty of Medicine.

The sciences also have a strong heart hold. This was nurtured by my aunt who helped in my first dissection of a banana slug. I was 5 and had asked for a microscope for Christmas and Santa delivered. What Santa didn’t know is that the only bathroom in the house would be designated as my “lab” and occupied all day delving deeply into the anatomy of this little creature. It resulted in a massive bathroom line-up of disgruntled Christmas Day party goers who had consumed too much eggnog. Their incessant knocking and yelling to gain access didn’t phase me though. My research could not be disrupted and I kept the door locked. I am still very much like this.

My intersecting interests in science and the humanities have guided me into a variety of projects that involve bridging ideas to support growth and the care of others. I serve as the technical advisor and mentor for the Primary Compassionate Care Initiative, located in Abuja, Nigeria, that advocates for SDGs 3, 4, and 5 through public health mentorship and women empowerment. My involvement with this project has been transformative in that I’ve been able to gain a very intimate perspective as to how care is delivered in another country.

Over the last two years, I’ve been a member of the Sea Women (formerly known as Sedna  Epic Expedition) that works with women and youth in developing our knowledge and practice in tackling societal and climate challenges. Connecting with women from all over the world has broadened my understanding of how our ecological affordances and constraints impact women and their families. It’s reinforced how delicate and fragile our interactions and linkages are to each other and what sustains us.

In summary, I believe in the creative life and the beauty that emerges when we cross-pollinate our narratives and experiences to build stronger connections to each other and our surrounding milieu. I believe in giving a damn and high-fives that make my palm tingle. And I believe that a hearty laugh is the best medicine.

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