It Terrifies Some People, But Not Her

Not everyone thrives on uncertainty. But for this researcher, lifelong curiosity turned into an ongoing quest to unravel the mysteries of the brain.


Alexandria (Alex) Samson is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto and a science writer for Research2Reality. She completed her BSc in Neuroscience from Dalhousie University and her MA in Psychology from the University of Toronto. Alex is a strong believer in open science and is passionate about making scientific research accessible to all audiences.

We asked her about everything from her scientific inspirations to her interest in fine dining in the hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

I love that research involves continuous learning! There is still so much unknown about the brain, my area of research, which may terrify some but this is what excites me about my work. Having a job that allows me to learn and grow intellectually every day is really rewarding!

What advice would you give young researchers?

In my experience, a research project is a marathon, not a sprint. Leave yourself a lot of room for error because not everything will be completed as quickly as you might expect. Additionally, it is important to pick a research topic that you are passionate about because this will make the workload feel less like work and more enjoyable!

What inspired you to become a researcher?

In school, science was always my favourite class because it spiked my curiosity the most. As I got older, I was inspired to keep that childhood curiosity alive. Today, I am grateful to have a job that allows me to remain both curious and insightful!

What do you like to do for fun?

I am an avid reader — I try to read around two books a month. But, I also like to take part in outdoor activities such as walking, biking, skating, etc. When I can find the time, I love to travel as well!

What’s your favourite cuisine?

This depends on the day and what I am craving. I am not a picky eater so I will try almost any food!

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

A sommelier. I have always been fascinated by a sommelier’s ability to adequately pair wines with food. I would love to have a well-versed wine and food palate that I could then use to help make an excellent fine dining experience for customers.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Princess Diana (Princess of Wales). I think Princess Di had so much to say that she was not allowed to voice. I would love to sit down with her to hear about all her struggles but also hear about her triumphs and all of the amazing places she had the privilege to travel to. Diana seems like a force to be reckoned with!

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Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada. Our video series is continually updated to celebrate the success of researchers who are establishing the new frontiers of science and to share the impact of their discoveries with the public.