Graduate Studies

Student Perspectives

abigail trarbachI worked for several years in the performing arts before deciding to pursue a science career. When choosing a graduate program, I weighed the exceptional quality of faculty, collaborative environment, and research happening here. Primarily, though, I was swayed by conversations with students and faculty who were genuinely interested in me, holistically, as a potential scientist. People here seemed to recognize both the value of my seemingly unrelated work experience and the perspective I could bring to my class and the department.

This first year at Princeton has borne out that prediction. My classmates come from a variety of backgrounds, and we work together, learning from one another’s strengths and weaknesses. The focus has been less on what we already know than on what we can learn, what we can do, and the training we need to think critically about science. There are plentiful opportunities to engage in cross-departmental seminars and colloquia, as well as to learn what colleagues are doing, and the resources and support available to us are unparalleled.

Living in Princeton has exceeded my expectations. There are plenty of activities and social opportunities of every stripe, both organized and spontaneous. The campus is beautiful and inspiring in every season; sometimes just taking a walk to the library or coffee shop is enough to put a smile on my face. Deciding on a graduate program was daunting, but I am sure I made the right choice.

— Abigail Trarbach
      Rose Lab

jason mcsheene“Collaboration” was one of the buzzwords I heard tossed around at a number of institutions I visited as a prospective graduate student. However, at Princeton I saw how naturally true collaborations could occur on a daily basis. MolBio is the home to a very welcoming, supportive and interactive community that promotes sharing ideas and resources. It is difficult to get lost in the crowd here, which was a worry of mine when considering possible schools.

Events like the weekly Graduate Student Colloquia encourage socialization along with the sharing of knowledge and current research throughout the department in a low-pressure setting. In addition, the atmosphere is focused on research and education instead of competition and rivalries. The research topics range from computer modeling of bacterial chemotaxis to potential cancer therapies.

I decided to rotate in three very different labs before joining my thesis lab. Each brought a unique perspective to research as well as a unique lab group.

I have enjoyed my time in the program and never doubted my choice for a moment. My experience as graduate student has been rewarding and I look forward to my remaining years here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact at me.

— Jason McSheene
      Burdine Lab

marshall reaves

From the day I arrived at Princeton, I have been able to pursue my interest in interdisciplinary biology to the full extent.  In a single day, I may be taught historic microbial genetics, develop tools for computational analysis, and discuss modern papers on the cutting edge of genomic all with leaders in these fields.

The educational atmosphere at Princeton nurtures my desire to branch out from my comfort zone by providing opportunities such as interdisciplinary courses, lectures, and journal clubs.

At my undergraduate university, being on the border between disciplines was difficult or even impossible.  At Princeton, it is accepted and even encouraged.  The Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics proves this by involving diverse faculty members from Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Engineering in addition to Molecular Biology.  Princeton has allowed me to realize what kind of science really drives and excites me.

I enjoy the graduate student life unique to the Princeton Graduate College.  Social events, intramural sports, dining, and graduate organizations foster strong relationships with fellow graduate students.  Moreover, the Molecular Biology Department's activities work to form a close student community within the department itself.

Coming to Princeton was the best decision I made to enhance my academic creativity. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

— Marshall Reaves
      Rabinowitz Lab

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