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Student Perspective: Ngoc (Tumi) Tran


Entering Class of 2015

Undergraduate: San Jose State University

Samuel Freeman Fellow

CSHL is where I realized how much one could learn in a short time given a combination of great professors, motivated classmates, modern curriculum, individual attention and peace of mind. The first 3 could be found in other top universities, but the last 2 are most likely very unique to CSHL.

Since our class size is small, I got to ask so many questions I wouldn’t have the nerve to ask in a big lecture room. This made the class very interactive and allowed us to dig deep. The professors paid a lot of attention to you. Importantly, this attention continues beyond the classes in the first semester. My academic mentor has been so generous with her time whenever I need some advice. This two-tier mentoring system is really important when you embark on a difficult journey such as doing a Ph.D.

The Knight house is fully furnished and close to the lab, so I didn’t have to worry about finding accommodations in the first year. Did I mention the beautiful harbor view? In addition, the school also provided a generous research budget that allows me to travel to conferences and buy new equipment without worrying about funding. All these features allow me to focus on my study and research without unnecessary distraction.

Life-wise, the community at CSHL is small but tight-knit. It is very international so you can learn a lot from each other. I took a classmate to her first dim sum restaurant where she attempted to each chicken feet, while she marveled me with her knowledge about arts when we went to MoMA together. I am making so many good memories here while working on my dream research project. Needless to say, coming to CSHL is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.