How does Mayo education compare to previous education that you have received at other institutions?
At Mayo, the only competition you have is yourself. Your success has no impact on your classmates — which was very different than the structure at my undergrad institution. I suspect that's a major difference between graduate and undergraduate education in general.
What kind of opportunities have you been introduced to since being at Mayo?
I have traveled to two conferences and two training courses. I have written my own NIH-funded grant. I have used core facilities to help me get more research done. Most importantly, I have developed a network of scientific support to help me along my career path.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic over other medical institutions?
In part, because I liked the research of multiple investigators; and also because I liked the funding model. I am a free-agent so I can do the research I choose instead of the research that has the most funding.
What is your program like? What sorts of projects/workshops have you done?
In the Immunology Department, the students are the teachers. After a year of basic core classes, the students are expected to read papers, become the experts, and teach their classmates. This makes me ready to design my own experiments, and teach my ideas.
How would you describe the atmosphere of Mayo Clinic?
Faculty members always open their doors when I knock. I'm on a first-name basis with every professor in my department, and they know me as a student. They have been watching me develop as a scientist and are confident that I'm the expert in my particular niche. In addition, the students are helpful in terms of borrowing reagents and we even try to get out of the lab once in a while to have some fun. This year we had a volleyball tournament, a canoe trip and a snow tubing trip.
What is your everyday life like in Rochester?
I live in an apartment overlooking the river. I walk along the river to work in less than 20 minutes!
What are your plans for the future?
In the near-term, I am going to do a scientific research post-doc so I can publish more papers. During that time, I'm going to apply for more NIH grants and private foundation grants. I hope I can develop a niche for myself in the scientific world. Thoughts of the future make me appreciate the life of a graduate student. I don't have the pressure of writing grants and funding other people's careers ... yet.
If you could describe Mayo in one word, what would it be?
With what activities are you involved in Rochester?
I'm active in my church. I join the graduate students for outings when I can, and mostly I'm a super mom-scientist.
How does Rochester differ from your hometown? College community?
In Rochester we don't have a "rush hour." We have a "rush minute." We walk through the 'bad' part of town after dark, and we've never come across a problem. In Rochester I can see a matinee movie for $6.
Dec. 07, 2011