Student Perspectives

Photo of Conrad Tenenbaum

Conrad Tenenbaum

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

Photo of Soltes Garner.

Garner S. Soltes

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 Soltes

Photo of Rick Baker

Rick Baker

Since the moment I arrived on campus I have been part of a large, extended family – the Molecular Biology Department.  The department is engaging, collaborative and truly dedicated to the success of every member. Academically, I couldn’t be happier with my first year as a graduate student.  In a given day I can have class taught by a leader in bacterial genetics, do research in a cutting-edge biophysics lab, and attend a guest lecture from a world-renowned scientist.  In both the classroom and laboratory I am challenged to go further and reach higher, but every person in the department makes sure that I have the support needed to succeed. The Graduate School is also superb and services for the general graduate population are second to none. Graduate student housing is safe, affordable, and extremely close to campus.  There are many events for graduate students, including socials and parties at the graduate bar and even trips to New York City to attend Broadway shows.  Princeton is located an hour from both Philadelphia and New York City, as well as only a short drive from the Jersey shore or the Pocono Mountains.  The town boasts a wide array of restaurants and other shops to keep students busy, not to mention the many homemade ice cream parlors, a Princeton favorite.  Princeton has been an excellent choice for me and I hope all prospective students consider the department for his or her graduate studies.  If you have any question, please contact me. —Rick Baker