Student Perspectives

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Marshall Reeves

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 Reeves

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Erin Haley

I am one of the first group of MD/PhD dual degree candidates to begin at Princeton. I’m thrilled with the reception I’ve received—the sincere interest in the motivations of an MD/PhD student, interactions about how translational research can be successfully carried out and implemented in the clinical setting, and the desire of Molecular Biology students and faculty to discuss the philosophical reasoning for studying basic science within the context of medicine.  I often remind myself that our basic science research is setting the groundwork for the clinical advances of the future in a very concrete way. A quick look at the research interests of various faculty members—cancer biology, virology, bacterial communication, parasitic virulence, stem cell biology, evolution, computer modeling of biological systems, and metabolomics (just to name a few)—reminds me that our research at the bench is completely invaluable and intimately tied to an innate desire to understand disease, cure illness, and save human lives.  I have been amazed by the collaborative efforts and generosity of the department. I know that the relationships forged between experts in many different fields are the most compelling reason that the research done at Princeton is so well received and highly respected within the scientific community. I have great hopes that my small contribution to the scientific community at large will be magnified by the strength of collaborative interactions with other researchers at Princeton as we generate answers to the unknown details of biology and their relationship with human disease.  —MD/PhD student UMDNJ

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Dante Ricci

When I initially considered applying to Princeton, I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated by the University’s academic prestige. Yet when I arrived on campus, I felt a comforting sense of community that immediately quelled my fears.  The Molecular Biology program at Princeton offers students of very diverse backgrounds endless opportunities to engage in dialogue at the very forefront of biological science. The resident and affiliated faculty members are not only experts and leaders in their fields, they are also impassioned educators, impressive thin Students in the program cooperate and collaborate rather than compete with one another, and the department’s collegial atmosphere is reinforced by the mutual respect that the students, faculty, and staff have for one another. I am consistently treated as a colleague, and by merit of being a graduate student at Princeton, I am afforded world-class opportunities to grow intellectually, professionally, and personally. The outstanding academics, pioneering research, and gorgeous scenery make Princeton an ideal setting for graduate studies in Molecular Biology.  The decision to attend Princeton was one of the best I ever made. If I can answer any questions about Princeton that might help you make your decision, please don’t hesitate to contact me. —Dante Ricci