Mentor: Roy Sillitoe, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Major: Neuroscience and French
Undergraduate School: University of Texas at Austin
Research Interests: Learning, memory, and associated disorders.
Why did you choose BCM? With an excellent reputation in neuroscience, world-class faculty, a large assortment of exciting research labs to explore, and outstanding access to resources in the Texas Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine was already easily on the top of my list for graduate school. However, it was the comforting sense of community and support I felt amongst the diverse faculty and student body that really set BCM above the rest.
Did Baylor’s location in the Texas Medical Center enhance your experience? Definitely. It's astounding being surrounded by such important and innovative healthcare institutions, and going to lab is a constant reminder of how integral and interdependent our research is to the advancement of healthcare. In addition to enhancing the relevance of my own research, it also keeps me constantly thinking of the applicability of my research and opportunities for collaboration at neighboring institutions, a unique perk at BCM.
What are your career plans? As of now, I plan to continue in academia to eventually teach and do research at a university. However, I am still open to other scientific careers.
What do you enjoy about living in Houston? The food and the outdoors. As a new Houston resident, I have been a little limited in going around Houston due to COVID-19 so I have only really been able to explore the restaurants and parks. That being said, the food here is phenomenal - there's a ridiculous diversity of cuisine and many local restaurants, and so far nearly all of them have been delicious. Likewise, the nearby museums and parks are also fantastic, especially when you've been working indoors all day.
What advice to you have for prospective students? When choosing graduate schools, don't only look for the science - look for the people. It's pretty easy to get caught up in just following the most interesting, prestigious, or groundbreaking labs, but never forget that you are primarily in grad school to learn how to do good research, which means having great mentors at your institution to learn from and genuinely support you. This can be the PIs, the senior researchers in a lab, the program coordinators, and the senior graduate students. Talk to the graduate students in the labs/institutions you are interested in - they will most likely respond more quickly than their PIs and give you honest opinions about their lab and grad school.