Mar 19, 2024

Meet Sun Ooi: MoGen's new Career Advisor

Our Career Advisor helps MoGen grad students navigate the transition from grad school into a professional career

By MoGen Communications
Sun Oog Web Profile looking to the camera
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We are pleased to introduce Sun Ooi as the new career advisor for the Department of Molecular Genetics.

In her role, Sun provides career-focused learning and counselling to assist graduate students in developing their career readiness. She collaborates with students, partners, and others in the MoGen community to help future graduates leverage their interests, skills, and strengths for professional outcomes. Moreover, she also coordinates and facilitates the Medical Genomics capstone practicum. 

Part of her role is strategic planning, designing, and developing initiatives, resources, and learning experiences to build relationships and foster opportunities for graduate students to advance their professional and career development. In the future, Sun plans to partner with professional networks, community and alumni, the GSA and other student-led initiatives to deliver programs responsive to the experiences and interests of current graduate MoGen students.

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What do you offer to MoGen students as a career advisor?

I offer graduate professional development, career education, and counselling to support MoGen's graduate students in their career development and in leveraging their skills and strengths for the job market.  The role is new, so in the future I'd like to work with the GSA and other partners to deliver networking events and initiatives that help current students learn from and connect with industry professionals who can share insight and advice about using a MoGen degree and skill set in the workforce. Looking ahead, I also want to support the curriculum and design of learning experiences that enhance students' skills and opportunities for development. One of my aims is to build partnerships and foster learning that creates and expands the opportunities that our graduate students have to advance their professional development and professional potential.

What prepared you for this role?

My approach to the role is informed by my experiences as an educator, faculty developer, and mental health practitioner.  From my professional background in community mental health, and health promotion and community development, I bring a lens and approaches that prepare me to support our students in planning for success in ways that fit with their individual needs, preferences, values and that address barriers that exist. From my work in field education, teaching, and instructional and educational development, I'm prepared to enhance and expand experiences that promote continuous professional learning and development. Altogether, I assist others with identifying their goals for positive change and apply positive psychology to empower progress in that direction, while accounting for challenges along the way. 

What can I do with a degree in Molecular Genetics?

A graduate degree from MoGen opens doors to many possibilities such as roles in academia, healthcare, research, and private sectors dealing with biotechnology or pharmaceutics, for example.  Graduates can go into teaching, consulting, policy. They can be lab technicians and lab managers. They could do science outreach for museums, nonprofit organizations or research institutes. Many alumni from the MSc program pursue further post-secondary education in areas like law, medicine, business, and clinical trials administration with the Molecular Genetics degree giving them a competitive edge in those fields.

In our graduate programs, you learn skills in how to be an effective scientist, how to solve problems, communicate and question critically, and those skills are assets in a multitude of careers.

How can I find the right career for me?

The right fit for you can mean different things at different times. I recommend to keep assessing your evolving skills, interests, and priorities and their alignment with career options. I suggest starting with your individual development plan (IDP) to help articulate your goals and identify steps for gaining skills and experience, identifying your networking prospects and areas for you to do further research.  In MoGen, our department has over a hundred faculty who are scientific leaders on the international stage, so I encourage you to learn more about their experiences and let that inform how you think about your own career development and professional network. On that note, I emphasize the valuable insights that you can gain from seeking guidance from mentors, networking with professionals, having informational interviews, and of course accessing our career resources. Your career journey and professional path can be a dynamic process, so embrace the opportunities to learn more about yourself, gain skills, and explore your interests.

What advice do you have for those entering the workforce?

If it's available, I recommend getting involved in your community of peers and colleagues.  At MoGen, there are various opportunities to volunteer with career and social events, write for the e-newsletter, and participate in networking and other GSA events. You can get a lot out of those experiences themselves, but they're also opportunities to build your support system, cultivate a sense of belonging, interact with different perspectives and diversify your experiences.  As you enter the workforce, I'd say to remember that this is a significant milestone and transition and those come with their own ups and downs.  You can approach it as a learning experience about the workplace, about yourself, as well as how those fit together in your life.  The growth and learning mindset will help you self-assess and decide where to have boundaries, when to seek mentorship or additional support, and overall to affirm the progress and successes that you've had.  Those will keep coming and hopefully, you'll stay in touch with our community to celebrate those achievements with the rest of MoGen.

How should we contact you?

At MoGen, we emphasize the networking that students engage in to identify career opportunities and develop the skills and self-management that's needed to succeed in diverse careers. As part of that journey, any graduate student at MoGen can contact me anytime for a conversation.  Generally, I would suggest junctures in your program plan as good reminders to contact me and check in about your plans.  Perhaps, following a committee meeting, for example, would be a good time and also after completing the first year of the program. Those are good times for us to get together and reflect on what you've gained and how that could be aimed for certain career paths. For students in the Medical Genomics program, you'll be prompted to speak with me in the summer before the second year in preparation for the capstone practicum. We'll also be connected in the Graduate Professional Development course. In any MoGen graduate program students can get in touch with me by sending an email to for us to chat or set up a time that we can meet.