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About saddybenzene

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  • Location
    Cambridge, MA
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Microbiology MS; PhD in the future plz

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  1. Hey everybody, Recently, my PI and I have not been getting along with each other well. He has been saying negatives about me behind my back to my labmates, shifted the majority of my project duties to the other RA, and all in all has been very indirect and passive aggressive with me. Needless to say, he will not make a good candidate for a LOR writer unless we reconcile somehow. I'm wondering what I should do-- wouldn't not having him as a writer send off red flags to admission committees? I don't care about getting into a prestigious program, but I'm scared that either having 2 non-research references (1 of my decided letter writers is just a professor I took classes with already, and I won't have any other research professors to write a letter in my current PI's stead) or an unflattering one from him will destroy my chances of getting into any program in general. Please advise.
  2. Hey y'all, it's ya boy. I just need some advice (and maybe a hug or two)-- things aren't going so well. Sorry for the long text in advance... So I don't have any updates on admissions because, well, I ended up not applying. My current PI began to act very passive aggressive and unfriendly towards me a few months after posting initially, and I lost confidence. He has said some things about me behind my back to other labmates, but I feel like they were undeserved. I wondered if I should change jobs or spend another year to try to improve our relationship and attempt to publish, and chose the later. I tried really hard, but any progress I seem to make gets obliterated in an instant if I make a small mistake in lab. These months, things have not changed-- and he even implied, implicitly, that I had zero observational skills and would have a huge disadvantage if I were to try to get into grad school. So... I'm still in a pinch when it comes to recommenders. I made up my mind for 2 of them-- a letter from my old supervisor from my previous lab (I visited and had a discussion; things went well), and a letter from an academic professor who I took 2 grad classes with. Now I'm wondering if I should even ask my current PI-- the other letter I can get will be from somebody who doesn't know me nearly as well and would also just be a professor I took a class with. Plus not having my current PI as a writer will surely send up red flags. What can I do? I know for a fact that this conundrum has severely weakened my application, although I might have a shot at lower tier schools. I'm determined to apply next year no matter what-- the brand name of the school is of no matter to me. I'd really appreciate you guys' input as well as some schools that might be more likely to accept me based on this weakness.
  3. Hey guys, thanks for the advice. However, these worries are actually very related--- because I had to leave my undergraduate institution a year early, my old PI was unhappy about me not being about to complete my given project and was advising me to stay (but I couldn't), even going as as far as to call my decision foolish. She is the 3rd letter that I am thinking about, since we had a very good relationship and she saw my work ethic and ability to produce good data prior to that event. However, she is the type of person to hold grudges, although I'm worried that substantial experience in a lab without that PI's recommendation will come off as a red flag. She'll also possess a lot more clout than my other options, most of whom don't know me particularly well. Any advice?
  4. Undergrad Institution: R1 State School, top 30Major(s): Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BS)Minor(s): Nutrition, Premedical GPA in Major: 3.7Overall GPA: 3.8Position in Class: Cum Laude, between top 10~25% of classType of Student: Domestic, FemaleGRE Scores (revised/old version):Q: 164 (94%)V: 164 (87%)W: 6 (99%)Research Experience: 16 months of plant biochemistry research at undergrad institution. No publications, but presented data at lab meetings. 14 months (current) at immunology lab at reputable medical school. No publications yet. Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Tuition Waver, Dean's List all semesters, Honors programPertinent Activities or Jobs: Undergraduate research assistant, full time research assistant at new lab, martial arts instructor (teaching experience?)Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: graduated in 3 years (had to leave 1st lab a year early), 4.0 in coursework Microbiology MS (ongoing), 4.0 in graduate nutrition program (cert)Special Bonus Points: Worked 2 jobs during undergrad, currently taking graduate classes while working full timeAny Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I had to graduate early really suddenly, so it affected my first research position. I didn't get to publish my work or complete a thesis, although another undergrad picked up my project. I have a pretty awful sob story that I plan to condense and briefly mention in my SOP. Can get 2 very strong LORs, not sure about the quality of the 3rd.Applying to Where: Immunology and Microbiology PhD programs, kind of top heavy UVirginia BIMS Immunology UCSD BMS- Microbiome & Microbial Science Brown University- Biomed Pathology UPenn BGS- Immunology The Scripps Research Institute- Microbiology/Immunology Washington University in St. Louis DBBS- Immunology Yale University BBS- Immunology/Microbiology Baylor College of Medicine GSBS - Immunology Weill Cornell - IMP Sanford Burnham- Biomedical Sciences
  5. Hey guys, I'm planning to apply to PhD programs for the next year, and could use some advice on my current list of prospective schools. I feel like my list is too large as well as extremely top heavy, and am looking to downsize and/or replace a few schools. My research interests include T cell programming and stability, cellular mechanisms of autoimmune diseases (especially ones involving chronic intestinal inflammation), and the microbiome (especially commensal-host relationships and microbial metabolism). My dream program would have a professor that integrates all three concepts, although I also prioritize programs that provide teaching opportunities, has a large umbrella program, is in a walkable/bikeable area, and is not in the deep south (I am weak and cannot handle the hot weather). Much less important, but of some consideration is ranking, whether or not the institution allows for some credit transfers, and current student statistics (lower average time to degree, higher proportion entering academia after graduation, high average amount of papers published, etc). Some quick stats: 3.8 uGPA in biochemistry and molecular biology, graduated in 3 years, 4.0 gGPA (nonthesis; purely coursework), 164Q/164V/6AWA, 16 months of undergrad research (no paper), ~1 year of full time work in immunology lab currently (also no paper). Please evaluate my competitiveness. My current list: UVirginia BIMS The Scripps Research Institute UCSD BMS UPenn Immunology Brown Biomed Pathobio WUSTL DBBS Weill Cornell IMP? (love the program and its prestige, but Manhattan not so much...) Yale BBS Northwestern DGP GWU NIH? (I'm very enticed by the NIH component of the program, but most of the professors that I'm looking at are elderly and I'm terrified that they won't accept new students or will retire while I'm under them...) UC Denver? (great research and location, but I'm worried that its classification as an R2 institution may hold me back in the future should I choose to attend) ...Stanford? Should I even try?
  6. Hi there, I'm also in the Boston area. There are plenty of academic labs here that accept undergraduate volunteers, and as a candidate with a degree already in hand, I'm sure you would be very desirable. I am unfamiliar with oceanography departments around here, but try looking at the websites of Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Suffolk (pretty small department, probably does not encompass your research interests), UMass Boston, Northeastern, BU, Brandeis, and Boston College to name a few. Just look on the biology department faculty pages. In contacting professors that suit your particular interests, I would suggest attaching a CV and resume. Write a bit about yourself, your research interests, future goals, and why their lab sticks out to you. Try to be concise, and ask them if they would like to speak with you further as a potential volunteer. You will probably have to email a few at a time, because I remember applying to biochemistry labs as a wee undergrad and only getting 3/7 responses (in which only 2 said they were willing to accept new students). If you don't get any responses, feel free to politely prod them again in a week or so, because it's easy for the first message to accidentally slip through the cracks.
  7. That's very solid advice, thank you. From reading all of the other gradcafe posts, I was under the impression that the majority of applicants had some sort of publication already. Lots had posters and conference presentations, too, as well as TAships and other relevant credentials. People here generally have very impressive profiles. Having especially esoteric research interests, I was convinced that I may have been disadvantaged. Congrats with your graduation, it sounds like you've had a very prolific student career. I want to be like you lol
  8. Hey, thanks for the reply. I have not presented anything at a conference, and that is another thing that I am insecure about. I have presented my work during lab meetings as powerpoints (only 3 45 min presentations) and at an informal poster session for a lab class. I doubt those count, but I will be putting them on my CV anyway if I am unable to bolster my application. The thing is, financial difficulty, work obligations and the fact that my undergrad did not provide aid for conference travel prevented me from attending any conferences. I also wasn't able to do a thesis and present it at our school's research conference either because I had to decide to graduate a year early last minute (due to huge problems in my personal life). With my new position, things can be different. There's an ABCRMS conference I want to visit, although it is out of state and will cut into my work week. Hopefully I can gather enough good data to present by the abstract deadline.
  9. I need some advice on buffering my application. Sorry for the big block of text! I have no publications, but I have worked in 2 different labs for about 2 years (16 months in undergrad, 7 months in a new lab after graduating). I'm planning to have a 2nd author manuscript completed by the end of this summer, but I have no idea if I'll actually have anything published by the time I apply for PhD programs (probably not!)... Otherwise, I think my application is strong. High uGPA, very high GRE scores, and solid recs despite some very trying circumstances that I will highlight in my app. I will have completed my Master's degree by next summer, hopefully with a 4.0. I am aiming for many top schools, including Ivy's, although I would be very happy even if I had no choice but to attend one of my safety schools (but my ego makes me want to reach higher). So... should I defer my applications for another year to ensure a publication? Or is there another way I could possibly publish something? I had to do a few literature reviews for some of my grad classes, and I was wondering if there is any way I could try to publish those. I am very unfamiliar with the process, especially when they're review papers and the like.
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