IN CONVERSATION WITH: Kalpana Nair, Research Associate
Oct 14, 2022
Photo above: Kalpana with Ace, her Aussiedoodle
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
I’m a Research Associate. I have been in this position for about 5 years. I primarily work with Dr. Sandra Carroll on her research projects. My main responsibilities are assisting with grant-writing, data collection, data analysis, writing papers, and some student support.
BEFORE YOU CAME TO THIS ROLE, WHAT TYPE OF WORK WERE YOU DOING?
I have worked in health research for over 25 years. Prior to coming to the School of Nursing, I worked as a Research Associate at the Department of Family Medicine for about 6 years. Before that, I was at St. Joseph’s Healthcare at the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines. Through that time, I did my Master’s and PhD degrees, and I found my love of qualitative research, health services research and program evaluation. In my previous positions, I was doing similar work to what I’m doing now, but the content area was different. I have done work in early childhood development, chronic disease management, and patient decision-making, but most often with a qualitative focus, which is where my interests and expertise lie.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS TYPE OF WORK?
I have a background in psychology and counselling and worked in that field for a while, at a shelter for women and children in London, Ontario, as well as in Hamilton. I have always enjoyed research, and my dad had worked in a similar field, so I found my way into health research. Qualitative research seemed like a natural fit with my previous work in counselling because it’s really about talking to people and hearing their stories. As I did graduate work, that’s the area I focused on.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES FROM YOUR WORK?
When a paper finally gets published, that’s an amazing feeling! A lot of work goes into getting a grant, doing the work, writing it up and finding a home for it. You want people to hear your results.
I also enjoy working with people. One exciting part of research is that you get to work with a range of people, and that keeps things interesting. I feel really privileged to have worked with many incredible researchers, staff, students, and very giving research participants.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT WORKING AT MCMASTER?
It’s nice to be part of a larger institution that has lots of things going on – different talks, yoga classes, and other staff events. There are also many opportunities in terms of continuing education, and I’m making use of that now by completing a degree in adult education.