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"I really enjoy the people I have met during my studies at SFU, mainly within the Biology department and especially within my lab - it has been a great place to get to know others and grow while learning a lot about research and various other topics."
Student Profile: Jaime M. Chalissery
Pest Management master's student in the Faculty of Science
As a kid, insects were fascinating and it was always interesting to explore the outdoors and follow them around. I never expected that after so long I would start studying entomology/myrmecology, particularly studying the European fire ant and getting quite a number of stings in the process. While exploring the outdoors for insects, I also started hiking more and want to try all sorts of different activities. In my down time I also enjoy taking a super long time to read fantasy books, playing video games, and playing D&D and watching/listening to Critical Role, NADDPOD, and other podcasts.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
During my undergrad at SFU, I did some research in the Gries and Lowenberger labs which really cemented my enjoyment of research and the environment that I found when doing research. This made me choose to stay at SFU for the Masters of Pest Management program since I found it very interesting to learn about pest organisms and how they are so integral to manage.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
My research focuses on exploring the foraging preferences and chemical communication methods of ants, or what they like to eat and how they talk to each other, usually through playing around with smelly stuff and making arts and craft projects.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I really enjoy the people I have met during my studies at SFU, mainly within the Biology department and especially within my lab - it has been a great place to get to know others and grow while learning a lot about research and various other topics. I have also really enjoyed the amount of field work I have been able to do, particularly the latest field experiment that my collaborator and friend Asim Renyard has started up where we go off road to work on carpenter ant nests in the forests near Squamish. It has been amazing to enjoy the views while hiking through the forest and enjoying some great tunes when hanging out during the ride there and back.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have been very fortunate in receiving various scholarships and awards, including the Thelma Finlayson Graduate Fellowship, which have allowed me to focus on my studies and endeavours in teaching while in graduate school.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
The Masters of Pest Management program is very interesting as you are able to learn a lot from the research focus and courses, both in the classroom and in the field. The field courses give a great opportunity to see how your research and degree could manifest into a career and gives you a lot of connections to explore. The Gries lab is also an amazing lab to be a part of both with the friendly environment and constructive meetings or discussions about projects. It is very easy to do way more than you need to for a masters, because you are supported very well by those in the lab.
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