Coming from a small liberal arts institution with limited research capacity, I was worried that I'd be overwhelmed at Princeton. At first I wasn't sure what I wanted to study or where I wanted to conduct research. Over the course of the next six months, however, the Molecular Biology Department provided me with opportunities to speak with every faculty over lunch, participate in engaging and enriching courses, and attend phenomenal lectures. Through these opportunities and the type of informal conversation that is germane to a department like Mol Bio, I was easily able to make an informed, impassioned decision about my thesis work, and now I'm in love with what I do.
The Molecular Biology Department and Princeton as a whole is full of people who are incredibly passionate about teaching and learning. Whether you're having an extensive discussion about your research with colleagues, or simply chatting with someone at one of the great spots in town, you can always continue to learn from others. The University provides an abundance of opportunities for its students such that on an average day, you may find yourself attending a lecture from a European President at lunch, rock climbing in the afternoon, and attending an award-winning show in the evening. Princeton as a town and a university is really a source of opportunities that is ripe for the picking.
Princeton has become a wonderful home for me, and I hope that you allow it to do the same for you! Please feel free to contact me if there's anything more you'd like to know!
— Garner S. Soltes
My work in a Drosophila genetics lab as an undergraduate was undoubtedly priceless. Among other inspirations, it left me with a strong appreciation for the importance of gene regulation in fostering phenotypic variation. At the same time, day-to-day lab experiences also piqued my interests in Drosophila behavior, while coursework kept me thinking about the evolutionary context of the life as we know it. As I began considering graduate schools, I had to wonder: how could I reconcile all of these interests?
It became clear I would need to find a program which emphasized an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to research. On paper, many seemed to fit the bill. Yet, after flying around from one university to another, I could tell that one program truly delivered on that advertisement. Much more than anywhere else I visited, Princeton's Molecular Biology department seemed to hold an unabashedly interdisciplinary view on science while encouraging a collaborative atmosphere between students and faculty. To me, this meant that the program could allow students to explore innovative research across disciplines without being so large as to lose them in a crowd. One year later, I have to say my impressions didn't lead me astray!
Academics and research aside, I've found that graduate student life at Princeton has been all I could ask for! Where can I begin? The department provides a generous stipend; the housing is safe, affordable, and close to campus; the campus is beautiful in all four seasons with opportunities for outdoor recreation abound; shops, international restaurants, and dessert parlors are all found on Nassau Street; and cities, beaches, and mountains are just a short drive or train ride away. In short, I couldn't have picked a better place for graduate school.— Conrad Tenenbaum
Five or six years is a long time to spend in one place – graduate school can be rough sometimes, but it's also a lot of fun. And, in the end, finding a place where you can be happy for the next however many years is really the most important thing. I decided to come to Princeton because it just felt right – and it still does.
It's a rare opportunity to be surrounded by such raw enthusiasm for science, and that sort of excitement is contagious. In our department, the faculty and students are here because they want to be here. This is a department where a Nobel laureate will not only attend your first research talk, but will also pay attention to what you have to say; where professors ask questions not just as a test of knowledge, but out of a real curiosity for the answers, if there even are answers.
Yes, Princeton has all the cool gadgets and toys of a major research university, a renowned faculty, some phenomenal graduate level courses, and a great reputation. But these all fall second to the dedication of this department to its own constant intellectual growth and improvement. In my almost-two years here, I have found the faculty, staff, and graduate students to be incredibly interested and invested in the education, progress, and success of every member of our department. I think this devotion is among the greatest assets of this department and is what sets it apart from many other excellent programs that would otherwise stack up equally in the which-school-should-I-choose pro/con list.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our program, grad school, or Princeton in general!
— Amanda Guise