Even before being invited for an interview and seeing the campus and facilities, Weill Cornell was a dream school for me because of the fantastic array of research labs here. I found that the science and research questions that were being explored in labs of different fields really resonated with me. When I interviewed, I immediately felt at home and knew it was the right research environment for me. I was very excited by my experiences with the faculty and got an instant sense of their hands-on approach. Students seeking a more personal relationship with faculty members can certainly find that here. The same goes for the student community here at Weill Cornell as well. Even early in the interview process, the level of involvement that current students had was clear. They were very engaged and welcoming, and many of them became great friends after I joined WCGS.
I was very excited by the research opportunities available! (Almost too excited.) Thanks to the partnership between Weill Cornell and Memorial Sloan Kettering, there are so many great labs to join – there is something for every scientific taste. I’ve also had great experiences with the core facilities staff. They are very committed to training and assisting researchers with technical challenges which they may (and will) come up against.
I think both the structure of the campus and the academic programs allow for a very unique relationship with faculty members. The environment here is very conducive to developing more personal connections with faculty members, which is perfect for getting in deeper with science and also learning from their career experience.
There are always a lot of great events going on at Weill Cornell, organized for students by students. To name just a few, there is a Yoga Club, Trivia Night and an annual ski trip. Most importantly, the student body is very active and takes the initiative to organize events that are interesting and beneficial to the student community.
After completing coursework during the first year, it’s all about lab life. I am very excited to go to the lab every day. The people in the lab are fantastic! Somehow we manage to get work done in between all the good laughs. We band together and go to scientific talks, and then we swap our opinions over a quick cup of coffee after. So many great scientists come by to give presentations weekly. After work is done on Fridays, we head off to the Student Lounge for happy hour where we get to catch up with friends, find out about their work and even take some time off from all the “research talk.”
I think my proudest accomplishment thus far is joining Dr. Michel Sadelain’s lab to do my thesis work. I met with Dr. Sadelain several times before even applying to WCGS for my PhD and we would talk about great new developments in immunotherapy, many of which he pioneered. Every time I left his office there was something new for me to think about. I am very grateful to be mentored by a scientist that I am in awe of. What more can you ask for as a PhD student? I am also very proud to have been offered the opportunity to be a TA for one of the first year classes. It was a great pleasure to get to know the incoming students, and a great opportunity to question my scientific knowledge and take a stab at teaching. It was a lot of fun!
Weill Cornell offers a unique blend of opportunities. New York is a great place to be, with so many things to do during your free time. Meanwhile, the location of the campus allows for easy access to scientific events at other great institutions all over the city. Getting my Master’s at Columbia and having interviewed at other institutions prior to being here, I understood the unique potential for student-faculty interactions at Weill Cornell from the very beginning. I also feel that Weill Cornell is committed to continually expanding its scientific opportunities while already boasting a great selection of labs led by accomplished scientists.