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Undergraduate Institution: Oakwood University, Huntsville, Alabama
Growing up I always had a curiosity for the world around me. This curiosity directed me on to cultivate an education in science. As I matured in knowledge, I acquired a general interest in neuroscience and developmental biology.
I completed my undergraduate studies at Oakwood University, a small non-research based institution in Huntsville, Alabama. During my undergraduate studies I was privileged to be a part of the Comprehensive Integrated Biomedical Sciences Initiative program (CIBSIP). CIBSIP was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) funded program designed to prepare students to meet the demands for a future in the biomedical sciences. This program gave me the opportunity to gain research experience at a leading research institution. I spent a summer working on a project that investigated how developmental aging coupled with hypoxia affects Cerebral Blood Flow. The experiences I gained during that summer were tremendously rewarding. The thrill of discovering the unknown sealed my decision to pursue graduate study.
In deciding the institution and program to complete my graduate education, three factors came into play: 1) student-faculty relationship, 2) class size and 3) the cost of living. The University of Cincinnati met all my criteria. During the interview process, I observed a warm and friendly interaction between faculty and students and I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of that environment. Coming from a small undergraduate institution, I appreciated the small class size that UC offers, for it fosters an interactive learning environment. Moreover, the cost of living in Cincinnati is low compared to other cities so students can enjoy the perks of city life without overspending.
Prior entering the Molecular and Developmental Biology program, I spent a year as a Flex Option student. As a Flex student I rotated through several programs before deciding on a program home. The deciding factor for me choosing the MDB program as my home is the program’s focus on translation research. Since the program is based at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the “bench to bedside” concept comes to life here. Knowing that the work I am doing will aid in treating children lying next door, gives me immense motivation to go forward.
In addition, the MDB program provides many tools to ensure student’s success. Just to highlight a few. There are weekly seminars in which top scientist in the field are invited to share their work with students, journal clubs, travel support to conferences, and the Enhanced Training Opportunities Program (ETO). The ETO program gives students the opportunity to explore career paths and to learn new techniques though internship awards. The possibilities here are endless and I can sincerely say that I have made the right choice in choosing the MDB program as my home for the duration of my studies.
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