Undergraduate Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
Fellowship: Beckman Graduate Student
Current Position: Post Doctoral Fellow-MIT
When I was interviewing at different graduate schools, a common question I asked the interviewers was if they could go to school anywhere, where would they choose. As I expected, there was no obvious consensus as to the best place. Therefore, why did I choose the Watson School instead of all the other places I visited? The answer is actually pretty simple: the Watson School faculty members were the only ones to challenge me during my interviews and make me think on my heels. Instead of just having me blabber on about my research while the professor sat mindlessly back in his chair listening, the faculty here asked me numerous questions and made me think about my work in ways I had never considered previously. In a matter of a few hours, I had discussed everything from chemical biology to the nuclear exosome (which is involved in the maturation and degradation of RNAs), two topics which I had never thought about despite working in the pharmaceutical industry and being interested in RNA. As you can imagine, it was not easy to talk about topics I knew little to nothing about, but I walked out of those interviews glad that the faculty pushed me as hard as they did. For me to reach my full scientific potential, I needed to be surrounded by people that were going to challenge me and constantly push the limits of my comfort zone – that’s exactly the culture I found here at the Watson School. The pristine location on Northern Long Island, the many meetings and courses, and the Knight House are all great attributes to CSHL, but it is ultimately the strong dedication to scientific research and learning that make it a pleasure to be a student here. But don’t simply take my word for it, ask around or, better yet, become immersed in the culture here for a few days (or years).