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CarloGesualdo

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About CarloGesualdo

  • Rank
    Decaf

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cambridge
  • Application Season
    2015 Fall
  • Program
    Computational/Systems Biology

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  1. I guess I'll post my stats here as well for the sake of posterity. Undergrad Institution: Top 10 Private Major(s): Biological Sciences B.A., Specialization in Biochemistry, Minor in Cognitive Science GPA in Major: 3.70/4.0 Overall GPA: 3.64/4.0 Position in Class: No idea...so not in the top 10% Type of Student: Domestic white male GRE Scores (revised version): Q: 165 V: 167 W: 5.5 Research Experience: 1 year in virology lab in undergrad...but it didn't really work out. So, after undergrad I became a research assistant at a Harvard-affiliated lab for 2.5 years studying evolution/virology. Things went pretty well and I presented at three national society conferences in two different years (2 oral abstracts, 1 poster), and the work I've done with others has led to ~12 other conference abstracts. In the past year, I've managed to crank out a first author review article published a medium impact journal and have a first author manuscript in review at a high impact journal. Awards/Honors/Recognition: Couple of named scholarships from my undergrad institution, National Merit Scholar, see above for pubs/conference presentations --Results-- Acceptances: Harvard Systems Biology MIT Biology Attending: Harvard Systems Biology as a Herchel Smith Graduate Fellow Overall Impressions: So, I guess I'm a little unusual in the sense that I only applied to two pretty competitive programs. I'm local to the Boston area and because my partner is currently in the middle of their Ph.D, it limited my options a little bit. I was going to apply to BU as well, but with the departure of Jim Collins from BU to MIT, I decided against it at the last minute. I'm going to echo what motherofdragons said in her post and advise that applicants speak to senior faculty before they apply places. I was lucky enough to get in the room with a program director at one of the institutes I applied to and the conversation I had with them really helped with the anxiety I had over the application process. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I can barely wait to start my formal training as a scientist this fall
  2. Hey all! I'll be heading to the systems biology program in the fall. Can't wait to meet all of you
  3. Hey Arrxing! It sort of depends on which campuses you mean. Tufts has two campuses, one in Medford and one in Chinatown (near downtown Boston) while BU has one campus in Allston and another in the South End. Fortunately, all of these locations are relatively close to MBTA stations (with the possible exception of Medford...which is a bit of a hike from Davis). So, because there are two different locations for each of the two universities, we have four possible combinations of routes. I've never been to either school's engineering buildings, but if I had to guess, I'd say Tufts has their buildings in Medford and BU has them in Allston. If this is true, you could do the following: Medford (Tufts) to Allston (BU) - Walk to Davis Station, take an inbound red line to Park St, Transfer to B-Line (Green Line), Ride to BU This isn't necessarily the quickest way though...if you want to save time, I would just take an Uber or a Lyft, both of which serve Boston and the surrounding areas. Let me know if you have any more questions, good luck!
  4. I'm a US citizen who has been working in the states as a Research Assistant for the past two years. I can't provide a first hand account of obtaining a Visa for tech/assistant work, but two of my coworkers certainly could. One of my coworkers managed to convert her student visa (F1) to a work visa (H-1B I think). My other international coworker obtained a J1 to do some work here in the states, although I think there are some more restrictive components of that particular visa since she's currently trying to convert to an H-1B. I'll see if I can get them to create accounts to post their own experiences here. One thing to keep in mind is that employer/institution sponsorship can make a world of difference. Some research institutes are like mine in the sense that they actively try to help qualified international applicants obtain the necessary paperwork to work here. From what I hear though, not all institutes are quite as willing. It may be wise to look for positions in and around bio research hubs where the job market is a little hotter (and thus institutes are more receptive to international applicants). I hope someone stops by with actual experience in this area because from what I understand it isn't a walk in the park. However, I know that it's certainly doable and it sounds like it would be a great next step for somebody like you in case the acceptances don't work out this year. Good luck!
  5. My partner and I take turns with major life choices. When we met, we were both about to head off to college. We ended up different places, learned that we loved each other something awful but were terrible at doing the distance thing. So, my partner studied hard and transferred schools so that we could be together. In return, when we graduated, I let my partner take the reigns in terms of where we'd end up next. My partner landed a prestigious fellowship through the CDC and matriculated to a Boston area institute to pursue a PhD. I didn't have the resume to get into grad school right after undergrad, so I worked for two years in a lab where I was lucky enough to be given the autonomy to do independent research. A patent, a couple pubs, and several conference abstracts later, I was admitted to my top choice program (also in the area) where I'll be working towards a PhD of my own starting this coming fall. Although it hasn't always been easy, it's been eight years and I wouldn't change a thing. I can't dispense any kind of wisdom pertinent to your situation, but I wanted to offer my own experience. It's probably not a typical experience and it's just an n of 1, but I figured I'd put it out there in case it helps someone.
  6. Yeah, I should have qualified this with the fact that these clearly aren't peak hour timings. After doing the commute from Washington St. to Park St (on the B line) for 2 years, my fastest time was ~30 minutes...of course, this was during winter break and we managed to skip two of the BU stops. My average was closer to 45-55...the longest was the time when something caught fire and I walked in from Kenmore.
  7. Hey Niketon! So, a couple of us have suggested some additional towns/neighborhoods in earlier posts (see my post Elizabeth Reed's post ). I also highly recommend this heatmap of Boston's rents to get a general idea of where to start looking for bargains. As for your question re: commuting time, I have data for you on that front as well! Check out this map of the MBTA rails to get an idea for the amount of time it takes to travel downtown from all of the stops along the T. Boston can be a bit of an intimidating place to move to for the reasons outlined exceptionally well by Crucial BBQ (I too lived on the green line...and it damn near drove me insane). However, it's also a very exciting and fun place to live and work. If you're not averse to living with a roomie or two, it can be a way to stay closer to campus on a budget. Hope this helps a bit!
  8. I've been lurking for a while, but I figured now's as good of a time as any to enter the conversation. Due to a geographic restriction, I only applied to two programs this year (MIT Biology and Harvard Systems Biology). After interviewing at both programs and meeting so many really talented, driven applicants, I was convinced that I would have to spend another year improving my application before having a chance. However, I'm happy to say that I received my first offer yesterday from the Harvard Systems Biology department!! On account of the really unique philosophy/organization of the program and the instant kinship I felt with both the current students and the faculty, I'm 99.7% sure that this is the program I'm going to attend next year. It still feels a bit like I'm dreaming. I hope to meet some of you fine folks out here in Cambridge/Boston this coming summer/fall
  9. Having rented two different places now, I've had two different experiences. The first time we rented from private owners and only paid first and last month's rent (no security, no finders fee). However, they ended up being crazy people so we had to GTFO and then moved to a place in Cambridge which was First/Last/Security/Fee to move in. Based on my really anecdotal evidence, I'd say that it can definitely happen either way and that it's a prudent thing to ask the landlord about when you're searching for a place to live.
  10. If you're willing to broaden your horizons a bit and live someplace a little more distant from your program, there are still deals to be found. East Boston, Revere, Chelsea, Malden, Quincy, and some of the other surrounding communities have real estate markets that are a little more sane (although not too much more sane these days). The commute will be a little worse (especially during historically bad winters like this one) and you risk being a little isolated from your classmates, but it can be worth it for some. If you have a chance to come out here before you have to move, you may want to take a look at some of these other communities to get a feel for what you'd be comfortable with. Groceries are certainly on the pricier end compared to the midwest (where I grew up), but they're at least comparable to other east coast communities. According to the CNN Cost of Living Calculator (not the best source I know, but it was the quickest way to get some quantifiable estimates), compared to Boston, groceries cost: New York, NY (Manhattan): 19% More (than Boston) New York, NY (Brooklyn): 12% More Providence, RI: 6% Less New Haven, CT: 7% More Philadelphia, PA: 0% More/Less Washington, D.C.: 4% More There is of course variability within Boston, including which neighborhoods you shop in and what stores you patronize. It seems like there are Whole Foods and Star/Shaw's Markets on just about every other block, but neither of them are particularly affordable. If you or a friend owns a car in the city, it can be worth it to drive to Market Basket or Wegman's. On the bright side, a lot of people will be in your position and will be looking for roommates. Outside of craigslist, your university may provide resources to connect people who are also looking for roommates. Harvard has the HUH RoommateClick service as an example.
  11. I've been living and working in Boston/Cambridge for two and a half years with my partner (currently a grad student at another school in Boston). When we first relocated from the midwest, we moved into a 1 br apartment in Brighton for $1400/mo (which rose to 1475 a year later). After getting a little sick of having to take the green line to work/school every day (typically a 45 minute commute from where we were living...sometimes as much as an hour), we ended up moving to Cambridge where we pay $1600 for a 2br (shortening both of our commutes considerably). Both units were below market because we were willing to compromise with regards to amenities (no in unit laundry, utilities are extra) and we were very aggressive during the house-hunt (e.g. making sure that we were the first to see units as they were listed on MLS, contacting property owners directly where possible, etc.). Splitting costs pretty much equally between the two of us, we're able to live comfortably in a walkable, friendly, safe neighborhood while managing to save money for retirement, travel home for holidays, and sometimes eat out. So, to answer your question more directly, it's definitely possible to survive, even thrive in Boston/Cambridge while not making a ton of money. I can't speak to whether or not living alone on a single stipend would be doable (probably not super comfortably without finding a GREAT deal on a studio/efficiency or living in a dorm), but I know of people who definitely do it.
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