Analogue leadership in a digital world

Britta Gustavson
Rowland Scholar
2016 – 2017

Britta Gustavson worked at the Montreal Neurological Institute and completed her Masters of Research in Brain Science at University College, London where she also undertook research as an Intern.

Britta returned to Canada in 2018 to commence studying Medicine at McGill University, Montreal which she completed and is undertaking a residency in Ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Britta’s LinkedIn page

What has your Fellowship enabled you to do, explore, or gain that you wouldn’t have otherwise?`

My Fellowship has encouraged me to persist in the things that interest me, both in and outside of the lab. Moreover, the fellowship has encouraged me to see my Masters degree as more than the year-long academic pursuit that I initially saw it to be. The fellowship has helped me to explore how the knowledge and skills gained as a part of my MRes will broadly apply to my future endeavors. It is with excitement that I reflect on the growth I have experienced since receiving the Rowland Scholarship and commencing my Masters degree and when I consider the things to come.

What impact has your Fellowship had on your ability to lead in the 21st century?

My involvement with the Fellowship has given me a better understanding of what it means to lead in the 21st century. In my Master’s dissertation I quote the neuropathologist Tracy Putnam, who remarked eighty-five years ago that “it is but natural that a rational therapy is impossible before etiology is understood” (Putnam, 1933). While Putnam is referring to the elusive cause of multiple sclerosis, this statement rings true in many ways for me in terms of leadership. In order to lead effectively in the 21st century I must first work to understand the unique set of challenges we face, the evolving set of skills necessitated to handle these challenges and, most importantly perhaps, the value of having peers such as the Intersticia Fellows to help lead. Leadership in the 21st century is no longer dictated by the capacity to lead those in our immediate surroundings. The challenges that we are facing and will continue to face in future require a broad mindset and global cooperation, which is an area where I believe the Fellowship will excel.

How do you imagine your Fellowship will impact on your personal and professional growth in the next chapter of your life?

Just as the Fellowship has encouraged me to persist with my current interest in neuroscience, I imagine the Fellowship will continue to encourage me for as long as I have interests to be passionate about. I also imagine that the Fellowship will provide a professional network of scholars who are also committed to the advancement of their field, whatever it may be. The broad scope of the Fellowship, both in terms of the Fellows and their fields, will help me see the next chapter of my life and my goals in a much wider space than I would have otherwise. There are many exciting things for me to be working towards, and I am grateful to do so with the encouragement of the Fellowship.