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Undergraduate Institution: Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
Attending a smaller undergraduate institution gave me the opportunity to work in research as well as work directly with the biology faculty. I have always been interested in science and had thought about medical school, but conducting research at Susquehanna University as an undergrad made me realize that I wanted to continue research in graduate school.
Currently, I am researching the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB), a rare lung cancer in children. My lab has recently made a mouse model of PPB, which is a good representative of the beginning stages of the disease, and we are currently trying to determine what is involved in the progression of the disease.
Cincinnati Children’s was an attractive candidate for grad school to me because of the heavy emphasis on translational research. I was interested in programs that were associated with hospitals because of the opportunities for medical research, and the Molecular and Developmental Biology program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was a perfect fit.
During my first year in the program I learned that balance is important for a successful graduate student. Being able to juggle a full course load on top of rotating in different labs can be a challenge for some; but it is a valuable experience before focusing fully on research. My best advice for prospective and incoming students is to find a program and a lab that you can not only prosper in, but also enjoy.
As a place to live, Cincinnati is a nice tradeoff between a big city and a more rural area. There is the opportunity to live in quiet areas while still being able to experience the city by going downtown. I am never at a loss for something to do during the week as well as on the weekends; there are always events going on downtown. Additionally, Cincinnati is very walker and runner friendly and there are always new sites to see.
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