How does Mayo education compare to previous education that you have received at other institutions?
It is a great thing to have access to cutting-edge facilities and be surrounded by experts of virtually every biomedical specialty. As a result, I feel more freedom here to pursue topics that interest me and to try new things as my interests evolve. Plus, Mayo funds its graduate students for five years. Most universities will require students to join a laboratory to receive funding or to work as a teaching assistant.
What opportunities have you been introduced to since being at Mayo?
I have been learning lab techniques for patient-based research. Since I have only been here for a month, I look forward to many more opportunities.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic over other medical institutions?
The flexibility that Mayo Graduate School provides is well-suited to my needs. While I have a general idea of the kind of research I like, I need time to narrow my focus. I feel I can do this by "sampling" different specialties for awhile. Mayo Graduate School allows this and encourages it. I didn't get this feeling from other universities I visited.
How would you describe the atmosphere of Mayo Clinic?
Mayo Clinic has many mottos/quotes attributed to the Mayo brothers about putting the patient first. I almost expected this to become something that would break down in some way behind the scenes, but it hasn't happened. From my experiences at Mayo as a patient, and then a pre-med student shadowing doctors, and now in research as a graduate student, I have been pleasantly surprised by how this attitude has genuinely permeated the entire clinic.
What are your plans for the future?
Deciding to pursue a Ph.D. was a decision I made only recently. I know the next four to five years will be following through on this commitment to become more independent in research. I am expecting my interests and aims to evolve until then.
If you could describe Mayo in one word, what would it be?
With what activities are you involved in Rochester?
School has kept me busy so far, but I hope to branch out as soon as I get into a routine.
How does Rochester differ from your hometown? College community?
My hometown and Rochester are not all that different — although Rochester is bigger.
Nov. 11, 2010