Poh Tan

If you are passionate about making a difference in student learning to make a positive impact on their world, this is the area for you. 

Current Student
Program/Degree:
 Educational Theory and Practice: Philosophy of Education Stream PhD

I am an entrepreneur, a stem cell biologist, an educator, a volunteer and a mother.  Currently, I am pursuing my second doctorate through the Faculty of Education at SFU.  I obtained a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at UBC focusing on the biology of blood stem cells. My experience led me to a successful career in the biotechnology sector and eventually, helped me become a successful entrepreneur with two businesses.  I am currently an industry mentor for the Beedie School of Business, a board member of the whil Research Foundation and The Rare Genetics Institute and lecturer for the Faculty of Science at SFU.

Please tell us how you first discovered your program.

I am an alumna of SFU and when I discovered my passion for education I immediately looked to SFU for research opportunities.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.

Being an alumna of SFU, I remember the feeling of community and engagement that I had from the school and I felt very supported from every aspect.  In addition, I also found potential faculty supervisors who's research focus aligned with mine. 

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?
I've been in my program barely a year and already, and I have built great professional relationships with many faculty members in Education.  My senior supervisor, Shawn Bullock, has been an extremely supportive leader and mentor. I've learned so much from him and I appreciate that he gives me independence on my project and at the same time ensures that I don't falter too far from my focus.  I had classes with Heesoon Bai and Ann Chinnery, who both opened up my eyes and, more importantly, my mind and heart to philosophy and the practice of reflection.  I have learned to reflect on my thoughts and ideas and to write them in a creative way. They helped me re-affirm my passion for education and my decision to make a career change to Education.

What inspires you to learn and continue your education?

My view of the world changed after I had my two children and through them, I found my true passion – education in the early years.  They showed me new wonders of science and imaginative ways to learn about the world around us.  Yearning to learn more about how preschoolers learn, I decided to pursue a second PhD to understand early learners development and hopefully, one day I can see the world as my children see it every day - as a fascinating and new place to learn.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school in the Faculty of Education?

If you are passionate about making a difference in student learning to make a positive impact on their world, this is the area for you.  

Is there anything else you wish to share?

Spend time to reflect through the eyes of others to "see" the affect you have on their lives, only then can you become your own student.