Advice from Current Students
Who best to get advise on graduate school but from our current students that have walked in your shoes? Here you will find some great insight into your path ahead.
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice on graduate school, what would you say?
Stick to your passion (which I did). But most importantly, question yourself more scientifically, Kumar!
Enjoy this time. It is one of the few periods in life when you can explore remote interests and don’t have to worry about great responsibility.
Spend more time in the laboratory. Find and attend scientific research seminars. Attempt to become more independent in your research. Present your work at a research symposium! It’s never too early to gain research experience, no matter how unprepared you feel!
Stay focused. Learn basic ideas well. Make sure to learn fundamental concepts very well. This surely helps in the future.
You get a PhD to learn how to solve problems. Once you develop that skill, you can apply it to anything so don’t worry about your specific dissertation project, just focus on learning how to solve problems and think like a scientist.
Start contacting professors early. It’s much easier to get a position in a lab if the PI already knows who you are, and you have experience working there.
One piece of advice I would give to myself as a senior in undergrad is to have confidence in myself and abilities.
Live closer to campus in grad school! A “30 minute train ride” is really a 50 minute commute and it’s TERRIBLE.
YOU’VE DONE GOOD ENOUGH. RELAX!
Why did you choose to attend the University of Miami?
It is a great nurturing academic environment and a great location for a more balanced lifestyle, which also helps to enjoy lab work more, because there is lots of sunshine and outdoors fun which can boost the energy and motivation.
This institution not only offers, but actually encourages translational research and collaborations. Clinicians and researchers communicating and working together is how healthcare and the field of science will advance.
I felt that Miami possessed cutting edge research that had previously been under-recognized and that Miami was actively and aggressively fighting for this recognition.
I found the faculty to be genuine and caring towards their students, and I found the students to be excited about their labs and generally happy…When it came time to finally select a school, UM was the clear choice because I knew that I would be happy as a student, have a great selection of mentors, and I didn’t feel like just a number there.
People in UM carry out research in a passionate and collaborative environment, with the objective of improving people’s life and health.
I was specifically looking for a program in Cancer Biology. Miami happens to have one of only two Cancer programs in the state of Florida!
What has been your single best experience at the U?
Meeting all the wonderful people in graduate school from all over the world and realizing that we all jived so easily with each other.
The rotation, I experience different labs and learn different technologies.
Looking at my results and realizing that at that moment in time, I am the first and only person in the world who knows that one fact. This is not a single experience, but something that scientists get to experience over and over.
My single greatest experience in biomedical science research has been the unique and powerful bonds I have made with my faculty mentors. The mutual respect and collaboration that occurs in research across experience levels is something that I feel sets research apart from other professions and is something that really allows me to feel like an active an integrated member of the scientific research community and gain confidence in my own ability.
Receiving a travel award to present at a conference in my field, overcoming stage fright and general social anxiety, and having an amazing networking experience from it all.
My greatest research experience has been seeing my name as first author on a publication.
What do you think is the most important issue in Biomedical Sciences today?
The concept that “a few clear ideas are worth more than many confused ones” – Peirce
All biomedical research needs more funding. I think the public takes it for granted that scientists will continue to make great discoveries that benefit the future of healthcare whether tax money supports them or not.
Biggest challenge is to stay motivated when things don’t work, so personal practices like mindfulness and meditation can help to get through those moments.
There is a large push for translational science nowadays which leaves basic science, the foundation for all other research, underfunded.
I am very interested in the future of personalized medicine for cancer treatments.
I think the greatest challenge for research in the coming years is finding funding for scientific studies that attempt to break boundaries and think outside the usual box of assumed knowledge.