There were many things that drew me to Weill Cornell, but the thing that really stood out was the collaborative approach of the faculty and students. It was clear from the start that people at Weill Cornell enjoyed spending time and working together. In addition, my interview group of potential Pharmacology students clicked immediately, which made the decision easy.
Attending graduate school in NYC is a great experience. There are a number of experiences outside of the laboratory that can add to one’s graduate education. I learned quite a bit outside of the laboratory by interacting with other scientists, business leaders, and policy advocates that shaped how I pursued my PhD and influenced my decision as to what I wanted to do after graduate school.
There is nothing like successfully completing your thesis defense. I have always enjoyed talking about science, so the challenge of distilling 5 years of research into 45 minutes was the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my graduate school career.
Most importantly, I made a great set of friends and mentors at Weill Cornell.
After I finished my PhD, I decided to attend the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell on the Lee Family Scholarship available through Weill. This provided the opportunity for me to see many different approaches to professional career development, and what really struck me was how people viewed the PhD degree. Potential employers were certainly interested in the technical scientific skills that I developed at Weill Cornell, but they were even more interested in the critical thinking skills developed over the course of my training.
I have two pieces of advice. First, choose your support group. Your graduate school experience will be made by the students and faculty with whom you choose to surround yourself. Second, get involved outside of the laboratory. I had the opportunity to work with high school students, play softball, run, play in a band and a number of other activities that made me a more focused and productive graduate student and researcher.