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About ucgrit

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  • Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Interests
    Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Recruitment and retention of URM students and students from marginalized backgrounds (including LGBTQ+ identifying students, female-identifying students, ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities). Increasing diversity in STEM.
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    Already Attending
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    BSD + PSD

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  1. Hey! I'm not a Physics PhD student, but I know loads of them at University of Chicago! One of my closest friends is a theoretical physicist here and loves it. 1) The great thing about programs like this is you typically don't pick a research group (aka an advisor to work with) until later in your career when you complete your coursework. This means you have 1-2.5 years to take classes, go to talks, email / meet with faculty etc to find a subject and advisor that feels like a good fit for you! The UChicago website is definitely confusing, but everything is cross-listed basically (i.e. lets say you like one of the faculty in the biophysics or astrophysics department, if you apply to just plain physics it is highly likely you could work with any of those faculty if you'd like to). From what I hear, there arent *that* many theoretical faculty at UChicago (there are more experimentalists), but I could be totally wrong about that. 2) I don't think its necessarily that bad to only apply to schools in a geographical limit, especially if Chicago is the limit. There are SO many universities in chicago that may fit your needs. If you were limiting yourself to an area with only 2 schools, I'd be concerned, but I think that there are many options in Chicago. It is better for you to be happy in graduate school, and if that means you'd like to be close to family, then do that! Feel free to reach out! I can connect you with current students in theoretical and/or experimental physics here at UChicago!
  2. University of Chicago Neurosciences (and all Biology programs) don't require GRE!
  3. Hey! I'm a current PhD student at UChicago in the Molecular Biology cluster and I think you have a good chance of getting admitted. While things are a bit different for international students vs domestic students, you have strong test scores and strong research experience. I know lots of people in the program who took a break from research / biology in between, so that shouldn't be that big of an issue. Depending on your interests, I'd be happy to connect you with faculty that you may be interested in working with, or students in their labs, to get more info and see if UChicago is a good fit Feel free to reach out (DM) with any other questions!
  4. Hey gradcafe! We're the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) at the University of Chicago. We're a team of graduate students committed to the recruitment and retention of students from marginalized backgrounds to graduate programs in the Biological Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Division, and School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. For students from marginalized backgrounds, the road to grad school can be confusing, downright scary, and may seem impossible. The lack of diversity in STEM is a huge problem, generating unsupportive and sometimes hostile work environments for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and female-identifying students. GRIT aims to help fix the "leaky pipeline" in graduate school recruitment by actively recruiting minority students to graduate school, connecting prospective students with faculty members of interest, and fostering personal connections with prospective students to ensure they find the best graduate program for their interests. In addition we aim to bridge gaps in marginalized student retention by providing programming that aims to provide supportive environments, community building, and increase access to mentors and role models (such as seminar series featuring LGBTQ+ scientists, womxn's networking and mentorship events, and community-focused events). So... why are we here? We want to reach out to the prospective graduate student community and offer our support! We're here to talk diversity and inclusion, talk about struggles we have faced, talk about the graduate school experience, talk about applications: ranging from "am I a competitive applicant" to how to talk about non-scientific strengths (i.e. you balanced 3 jobs in undergrad and don't have a high GPA because of it) and even what graduate and non-graduate programs to consider, to talk about our successes in recruiting, STEM identity and more! We're happy to answer questions related to applications, graduate student communities, diversity statements, read applications, provide feedback and more! (and of course, if you're interested in a PhD program at UChicago, that's even better!) We are here to help other students have a better experience, both in the application process and after they get in. Reach out and let us know what we can do.
  5. Hi! I think that we are pretty flexible about incoming prerequisites (all though all of the courses you listed would be good courses to take - especially statistics and programming courses). I know there is a required statistics course in the first year that requires linear algebra, but other than that I am not entirely sure that there are specific prerequisites. This link will give you more specific details about the computational track: https://ggsb.uchicago.edu/page/ggsb-computational-track-coursework. I honestly wouldn't worry too much about fulfilling requirements before getting to grad school. When I applied one of my interviewer stressed the fact that I should have already taken statistics courses before coming to graduate school, but it didn't matter at all in the long run. I'd say take the courses that you think will prepare you best for the research you are the most interested in - anything you're missing you can take once you get into grad school. Hope that helps!
  6. I'm not at all familiar with Sociology, but in many Biology departments they will do this because 1) the programs are typically very interdisciplinary and 2) people often might "fit" better in a different department. As a personal example - I applied and got into a Human Genetics program, but switched to a broader Genetics and Genomics program halfway through my first year since it was a better fit for my research interests. The programs themselves (in my experience) are often so similar that applicants may not realize a different program is a better fit for them. I'd say it definitely couldn't hurt to have your application shared with other programs - even if you'd prefer to get a degree in Sociology. Having more faculty look at your app is never a bad thing!
  7. Hi! Are you interested in UChicago at all? I'm a current grad student at UChicago and I'm involved in a program called GRIT (more info in signature), which was created specifically to help recruit students from URM backgrounds. We do have support for undocumented students as well. I'd love to chat more and put you in contact with some current students who may have had similar experiences to yours. To answer your question, I'd agree with previous posts and say that chatting with current students / searching for diversity-focused groups on program websites is a good start. Many programs are also dropping the GRE, which is a good sign that they are interested in removing barriers for URM students and students from other marginalized groups to apply to Phd programs in an equitable way.
  8. Hi there! UChicago does not require the GRE, so that shouldn't be a problem there! I definitely think you have a chance at these programs. Do you know which program within Biomedical Sciences you are interested in?
  9. Hi there! I'm a 3rd year PhD student in UChicago's Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology program. Your research experience looks great and I think you would certainly be a competitive candidate. In particular, UChicago has a big focus on transcriptomics, with labs that are completely computational, completely molecular, and everywhere in between. Especially since you already have computational experience with your masters, I think you'd be a good fit. I'd be happy to chat with you more about the program and answer any questions you may have!
  10. Hey there! UChicago has a Biophysics program that might give you the chemistry / biology crossover you're looking for. In the Biophysics department you have to have a PI in the Physical Sciences (includes all Chemistry) and one in the Biological Sciences. We also have a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) program housed within the Molecular Biosciences that might be a good fit for you. The people I know in BMB range from being in true biochemistry labs to more chemistry-focused labs with medical leanings.
  11. Hi there! Regarding the GRE, at least for UChicago you can't be penalized for not submitting it, so if you feel like it'll help your app, go for it, if not, then dont! Just curious, which programs within UChicago Biomedical Sciences Division are you considering? (We also have a Neuroscience department that might interest you) Personally, I think you are applying to way too many schools. I personally don't think its worth it to apply to this many, but others may disagree. Even if you got interviews at all of them, I dont think there are enough weekends between December and March for you to attend all the interviews!! I'd suggest only applying to schools that 1) have at least 3 PI's you would consider working for, 2) are located in an area you are interested in, and 3) have the type of coursework you are looking for and or specific expertise in your subject area. For me, that meant applying to 9 schools (some of which didn't fulfill criteria 1) that were all in mid-large cities, and had specialized programs in genetics. Hope that helps!
  12. Hi there! University of Chicago graduate student here! I'd be happy to help with any questions about UChicago that you have. I'm a member of the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team, a group of grad students who are committed to the recruitment and retention of marginalized students to UChicago (check out signature for more info). From your stats I think you look like a competitive applicant. I'd say your experience being more genetics-based is perfect for UChicago. I'm a little biased as a geneticist myself (haha) but I know the majority of the programs here are super interdisciplinary and I know at least in my program I wasn't penalized for not having taken many programming or computer science classes (my research project is about 40% computational and I had no experience with that coming into graduate school).
  13. UChicago has lots of options like this! Most of the people I know in the Molecular Biosciences programs (particularly the Human Genetics and Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology programs) have projects that are wet and dry (some purely computational as well!) I think this is also true for the Biomedical Cluster. In the genetics programs in particular there are 'empirical' and 'computational' tracks that tailor the coursework for your specific interests - be that molecular biology or computational/biostats. But I also know a few students in Microbiology who work in mainly computational labs. (as an extra aside: my current project is about 60% wet lab and 40% dry lab and I came into the program with absolutely 0 computational experience except for one programming class I took my senior year) Feel free to reach out to us for more info / help with this! We (GRIT) are happy to help!
  14. Hi there, At UChicago we just dropped the GRE requirement in the Biological Sciences Division. You can't be hurt by not submitting your GRE, but of course if you did well and want to submit it, you are more than welcome to. A big part of the work we do (GRIT) is to make sure that application processes are equitable for URM students and students from other marginalized groups - and dropping the GRE requirement was a big part of that! We (students) will be making sure admissions committees are held accountable to this fact and not using the lack of a GRE submission as any sort of detriment towards that applicant. The GRE should not (and at UChicago Biological Sciences Division cannot) be used as a 'cutoff' for applications since it disadvantages certain groups (URMs, socioeconomic minorities etc) more so than others. Hope that helps! Also, if you're considering applying to UChicago, feel free to send us a message or check out our page - we'd be happy to talk more about all this. (P.S. I'm a current Biology student at UChicago (in Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology program) and got very similar scores to yours)
  15. Hi Moods! I'd say that you can describe how you will contribute to diversity however you'd like! If you have a specific experience about how your various identities have intersected with STEM that might be good to share. For an example, if I was to write a diversity statement I might talk about some of the things I have overcome related to my identity in STEM (maybe an experience with a faculty member, or a learning experience for someone outside of my identity), or about some of the work I had done in undergrad on increasing diversity. I've had some powerful experiences with outreach and mentorship (young girls realizing they too are / can be scientists) etc. Sometimes its hard to figure out how exactly you "contribute", but I'd say that you contribute to diversity just by being yourself! Simply by existing as a Hispanic pansexual scientist you are paving the way for others who might have similar identities to succeed. Emphasizing your identity is key - your presence and love for science is a huge step for representation in science, and if you wanted to discuss any possible ideas you would have to create space / events for members of your identity group that would also be a good addition. I can't speak to anything specific about engineering, since I don't think we have an engineering department here, but I hope this helps frame your thoughts. Best of luck!! the UCGRIT team
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