Science Alumni Profile: Serena - Integrated Sciences, '15

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Serena Alumni Profile

UBC Science alumni have gone on to build meaningful and fulfilling careers in sectors around the world. Our conversations with alumni have told us that your journey through Science and beyond isn’t a linear path but a complex navigation of right and left turns, and even some dead-ends, that will eventually lead you to where you're meant to be.

Our Science Alumni Spotlight Series will show you the breadth of career paths that UBC Science alumni have pursued, and offer a fresh perspective on new opportunities to discover. 



BSc, Integrated Sciences, Minor in Economics , '15

Current Job Title: Production Manager

Current Company/Industry: Titmouse Inc. (animation industry)

Current City: Vancouver

What does your current workspace look like today?

How does the major your studied in your undergraduate degree relate to your current work?

I focused most of my degree on oceanography, environmental science and economics. I made a career change a couple of years ago, and now I work in animation!

What choices did you make during your degree that contributed toward your career path today?

I didn’t really know what I wanted to study right away, but I gravitated towards certain courses across different subjects. Integrated Sciences allowed me to combine my interests into one degree, while still having the flexibility to supplement it with a minor. I built my degree around my curiosity of the global human impact on the environment and socioeconomic systems. It pushed me to always consider interdisciplinary collaboration and systems thinking. Science helped me cultivate methodical ways of thinking and understanding ways to turn data into tangible strategies. Along with my experience outside of academia, I continued with event and project coordination after graduation, and picked up new skills along the way - many of which I use in my current industry and role. Each new job and workplace taught me to adapt and discover different ways of approaching problems. A few years ago, I decided to close a chapter in my career and pivoted to pursue a dream of mine - a dream I didn’t think would ever be realistic. It took a little while to get here, but this has become one of the most rewarding, difficult, and fun jobs I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly lucky to be working in animation production, alongside some of the most talented humans I have ever met.

Did you have any meaningful experiences at UBC outside the classroom that helped contribute to your skillset? 

With some encouragement from friends, I started as a council member (Science) with the Alma Mater Society and continued my involvement up until I graduated. For two years, I was also an executive with the Science Undergraduate Society and in my final year, I was one of the Co-Chairs for the UBC Student Leadership Conference. With each opportunity, I developed a greater interest in event and project coordination. I worked on projects like Faculty Cup, Science Career Month, and of course UBC Student Leadership Conference. Most importantly, I met countless people who inspire and encourage me to challenge myself, and continue to do so to this day.

What advice would you give to an upper level Science student today?

Each opportunity, mistake and success is a stepping stone, even if it’s not a perfect step in the direction of your dreams. I’ve learned big and small lessons equally in passing conversations and short-term and long-term jobs. Also, talk to people who do things you find interesting. It’s all important in figuring out what you want to do. It’s okay to have multiple chapters in your career, regardless of how many years you’ve already been studying and/or working in an industry. If you get the chance to pursue something that makes you happy, go out and do it! It is a privilege to know and be able to do what you love.

What kind of challenges did you encounter in your career after graduation?

Job hunting was difficult right after graduation. My job search took longer than I wanted. Seeing rejection emails or not hearing back at all was disheartening and sometimes it was hard to continuously put in job applications day after day. Then, after a couple jobs, I realized what I thought I wanted to do wasn’t how I envisioned it would be. Admittedly, looking back now feels a lot easier than it was at the time. Going through all that has taught me patience and what I value in my career. It was important for me to not look at setbacks as absolute failures, but rather accepting them as re-directions and launch pads. All of it helped lead me to where I am now.

Does your current occupation align with what you had planned when you entered UBC? How about when you graduated?

Not at all! Even a few years ago, I didn’t even consider that production could be something I could do. When I first started at UBC, other than knowing I wanted to study science, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Fast forward to after graduation, I was working towards a career in event management. And after spending years building up this skillset, it was something I thought I loved to do. Recognizing when it was time to close this chapter helped me find a new one, which has led me to animation.

Do you have a specific career plan from now until your retirement? 

I would love to be a producer one day, working on shows and movies with different pipelines. To tell stories that are diverse, where representation matters on and off-screen. Stories that welcome thought and compassion. Stories that make people smile. I want to help create beautiful things that matter.

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Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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