Kiran Bains

Portrait of graduate student Kiran Bains (MSc, Family Relations & Applied Nutrition) in the atrium of Albert A. Thornbrough Building, University of Guelph

Summary: 

Graduate student life at U of G is different than I expected, in a good way! Even though I'm just a part time MSc student, I am on campus often-enough to be able to make close friendships and I feel like the relationship with my advisory committee is not a student-professor relationship. It feels like more of a working professional relationship which I am thoroughly enjoying!

Program(s)

Family Relations & Applied Nutrition, MSc

Why I Chose Guelph… 

I fell in love with Guelph after I moved here about 5 years ago and knew I wanted to call this city "home" for a while. I have wanted to complete a MSc for quiet some time but I was always unsure of where to do it. It was just last year I researched various MSc programs and met with a view professors on campus. I decided to choose U of G because of the people and the atmosphere of the campus. I wanted to be somewhere that felt "homey" and that I knew would be supportive. I felt a ton of support at U of G from the support staff when submitting my application and from my potential advisor at that time. They were willing to give me career advice even though I wasn't a student yet and they were happy to just sit down and informally chat with me about the program and connected me with former students. I just felt incredible amounts of support before entering the program and still am feeling so much support as a student, of course!

Advice For Perspective Grad Students… 

Graduate studies at U of G has been a great experience so far. It feels like you've entered a new, friendly, and supportive community of academics. It's a no-judgement zone. There's room to make mistakes and there's room to make comments or ask those, "silly questions" in class. Class sizes are small and it feels like we've become a family over the past year. We've grown together and we support each other in our research and projects!

About My Advisor… 

I meet every week with my advisor to discuss my research progress and career goals. I am currently a Registered Dietitian and completing my MSc part time so I actually met my advisor at a dietitian networking event where I told her about my interest in academia. She encouraged me to set up a date to meet with her on campus to discuss my career goals and she then suggested I work with her on some of her research! I took her up on the offer immediately and started my MSc TWO weeks later! She has been extremely supportive in my career goals and academic goals and has been acting as a mentor for me both academically and professionally.

About Being a Grad Student at U of G… 

Graduate student life at U of G is different than I expected, in a good way! Even though I'm just a part time MSc student, I am on campus often-enough to be able to make close friendships and I feel like the relationship with my advisory committee is not a student-professor relationship. It feels like more of a working professional relationship which I am thoroughly enjoying! There's a lot of time you spend out of class, working and learning on your own, which I like. I can work at my own pace and for my thesis research goals, I'm able to (mostly) set my own deadlines! I feel a lot less pressure than I did in undergrad because I'm able to work at my own pace. Also, classes aren't as demanding because there's less exams/assignments. There's a huge focus on integrating what we learn in class and our ongoing research into the projects that are due. So the projects feel very useful and applicable towards helping us with our thesis research that's constantly going on in the background while we take classes.

What Makes U of G Unique?

I LOVE how "small" (in comparison to my undergrad campus) this campus is and how much of a community feel it has! I like the updates that were recently made to the library and I love how there's such a focus on fresh, healthy, local food! There's food outlet areas everywhere you go!

About the City of Guelph… 

I've lived in Guelph for the past year. I moved here for my first ever job as a Dietitian at St Joseph's Health Center. It was just last year I started my MSc and I began to love Guelph even more when I realized how involved the university is with the city as a whole. I've met new individuals in the community because of it and I'm starting to see how close-knit our community is in Guelph! I love the small-town feel even though we're a fairly large city!

About Future Goals

I plan to switch gears with my career and hopefully apply for more management-type/leadership roles within the field of nutrition. I'm more so hoping that I'll be able to network with people in the food service industry as my thesis research involves a lot of work with upper-level management at various food service locations at different universities. Hopefully this could transition into some kind of career working at the food service level in a university setting. I also hope to be able to do some sessional teaching at the university in the nutrition undergrad program!

How Will Your Research Improve Life?

My research focuses on understanding the barriers and facilitators to using "nudge-based" marketing interventions to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables amongst university campus food eatery customers. Nudge interventions are a simple marketing intervention such as changing the placement of food options so that they're easier to see (placing them at eye-level), or increasing the size of the salad bowls, for example. They are changes that 'nudge' customers towards consuming these items with any foreseeable coercive effects. Our research focuses on nudging customers towards choosing/eating more fruit and vegetables at university campuses. The foreseeable benefits of this are pretty self-explanatory: More fruit/veggies, healthier individuals! :)