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PROFILE: Zoë Francis (PhD 3)

Where are you from and how did you end up in U of T Psychology?
Edmonton (University of Alberta). I had heard that it wasn’t recommended to do all of your degrees at the same university (especially to stay in academia), and knew that it is more efficient to do MA and PhD degrees in the same place. So, that meant I needed to move to a new city, but I wanted to stay in Canada. I considered U of T to be the best school in Canada, and also knew people who lived in Toronto.

Whose lab are you in and what are you studying?
The Social Neuroscience Lab, with Michael Inzlicht. I study self-control, lay theories, and mental fatigue, using behavioural methods and EEG.

What do you currently want to know more about? Or what is a skill you would like to develop?
Sometimes I wish my French was better… Or I could learn to knit! I also sort of wish that I had taken philosophy, history, or English classes during my undergrad.

Last non-non-fiction book you read?
Winter of the World, by Ken Follett. It’s the second book in the Century Trilogy. Great historical fiction novel!

If not this, what would you be doing with your life?
I used to want to be a family doctor, so perhaps that. If not medicine, then something in the health industry: I had considered becoming a genetics counsellor, as well as doing bioinformatics. At this point, if I decided not to continue with my PhD for some unforeseen reason, I would probably want to be a data analyst or researcher in the healthcare industry.

Advice for potential graduate students?
Grad school is fun! So be optimistic (while being realistic), figure out how to motivate yourself, and enjoy the experience. That includes trying to avoid people who complain all of the time. More specifically, USE MENDELEY or another reference manager. Mendeley is amazing. Start using it immediately when you start grad school, if not before. Also, get comfortable with statistics and learn R and basic programming skills. If you ever find yourself doing any mindless, repetitive work for more than 5 minutes at a time, you should probably be automating that instead. If you can get in the habit of writing regularly, that would also be helpful – writing regularly is my “new years resolution”, hopefully it goes well…

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