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About meghanx0919

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  1. I had applied to PhD programs last December for Fall 2020 Admission- sadly I was rejected from all the programs I applied too. I have working in microbiology R&D research for about two years now (in June) I thought this was enough research experience for a PhD. I know my end goal is a PhD and thought I had participated in enough research, researched the jobs I want (which require a PhD), talked to professors in the field to see if I am ready for a PhD or if it is necessary, and understand the commitments needed for a PhD etc. etc. This is why I applied for next fall admissions. From the feedback from the schools I was rejected from, it seems my industry research isn't valued and I need academic research experience. Therefore, when I was rejected I had options of quitting my (high paying) job for academic research experience, volunteering in lab, finding other ways to improve my application or apply to MS programs. Fortunately, New York Medical College has accepted me for their MS program in Microbiology and Immunology for Fall 2020 admissions. This department research aligns with my research goals and they have a research thesis that I can gain the academic lab experience that I am lacking. Also, I can stay at my current job for the first year while taking classes (my boss is flexible with my hours) while my company provides tuition reimbursement. Once, I start the research thesis I would probably need to quit my current job. Therefore, by the time I need to start my research thesis after class work I can save up enough money to pay for the rest of the program and not take out loans. This was a huge plus for me because I can continue my current research, start a masters program, and in the long run apply again to PhD program with a stronger application and more direction of my research goals. A problem is this program isn't as well known or isn't as strong as I would like- but thinking it is just for a masters degree it might not matter the strength, the research I do is probably more important!! Additionally, there is an option to work at the lab you are doing research at. The class times of this program also But, recently I was accepted to University of Rochester Microbiology MS program (fall 2020) with 30% tuition coverage. The program, with this scholarship, is still expensive and I would probably have to take out loans to cover the cost of living and tuition for two years. But, this program's department research aligns with my research goals and also has an intensive research experience. I loved the program's goals when I had an interview as well. Also, University of Rochester is more well known. I would also need to quit my current job, which makes me nervous because I have a job while there is a recession due to COVID. If I decide to do a PhD at the program I am getting a masters at University of Rochester seems better than NYMC. But, if I end up deciding to change institutions for a PhD or decide to go to another school (depending if I get accepted) then NYMC seems better since I will come out of the program with no loans. I already have significant loans from undergrad so this is a huge factor in the decision - I have been putting a large chunk of my paycheck to pay them off but I still have a lot left. If I end up doing ONLY and MS program do you think, job wise, they will put significance on which program is stronger? Which would you do, a program that makes more sense financially or a program that has stronger or more well known research?
  2. I am applying to various microbiology/immunology PhD programs for next fall. I know it is essential to email professors before applying but all of the programs I am applying to do lab rotations or are umbrella programs. Would I be annoying to still email professors to ask about their program, even know they don't have too much of a say on the applications. Or should I email the directors of each program first with general questions? If you applied to programs that did rotations did you email professors BEFORE you submitted your application?? OR would it be more important to email professors if I get interviews?? Thanks!
  3. Hi, I am planning on applying to phD programs for the next fall and need some advice for the schools I am applying too. It feels as the schools I am selecting are a reach and that my list is too large. I have been working hard on getting my applications together but right now it feels so pointless to apply. My research interests include: infectious disease related (microbe-host interaction, pathogenesis (parasitology, virology or bacterial), emerging infectious disease, vaccine/antibiotic development etc.), and microbiome. My credentials include: 3.17 GPA (3.2 major)- BS Biology I am aware of how low this is. My GPA my first two years of college was terrible, I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues and did not know how to manage anything. I was lost. My grades and ambitions suffered. My last two years of undergrad I brought up my GPA significantly (.5 points) and got B+/A's in my upper-level biology courses Small scale undergraduate directed study (senior year of undergrad) TA for Gen bio lab and TA for into to anthropology I worked as a tab tech right out of undergrad for about 6 months and then was promoted to an associate scientist position (since last January), both positions in the same lab Research focuses on preservative testing, I have learned A LOT about what it is like to work in industry as a research scientist and career prospects My director and executive director of my lab is writing me a strong (hopefully) recommendation letter and I have a professor who I was close with writing my third letter PhD Programs I am applying too: Stony Brook Molecular Genetics and Microbiology UMass Immunology and Microbiology Cornell Medical (Weill) Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis Columbia Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection Georgetown Microbiology and Immunology Boston University Microbiology New York Medical Microbiology and Immunology NYU Microbiology Rutgers Microbial Biology UPitt Microbiology UofR Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology (IMV) PhD I have thought about extensively about what a phD entails and definitely feel ready but I know my credentials are lacking compared to others that are applying to the same programs. Even with my low GPA alone I don't know if I will even be considered anywhere. ALL of these programs seem like a stretch to me My questions include: will it be a stretch for me to get accepted to any of these programs or do you think I have a chance? am I applying to too many programs? are my credentials slightly better than what I am thinking? Thank you so much for your advice!!! I really appreciate it!
  4. Do you think having an industry R&D position (associate scientist- microbiologist) in the field I am applying in (microbiology) is an advantage for my applications?
  5. Hi, I’m currently a microbiologist (associate scientist level) at R&D of a large company. I have worked in this position since a month after I graduated (May 2018) until currently, so about 1.5 years. If I am applying to PhD programs for microbiology, will this position be advantageous for my applications? Day to day - I am testing samples, general micro lab skills, writing SOP’s and developing protocols, running assays, working with formulations, research on preservative systems etc. My application: -general directed study my senior year of undergrad (animal behavior-not micro related) -TA for general bio lab, TA intro to anthropology and other leadership roles -3.2 GPA (my gpa was terrible my first two years of college-due to medical reasons) and I brought it from a 2.75 to this) my letters of recommendation will also be strong personal statement will focus on my research in this position I have currently and what I have learned etc. etc. I am unsure of the strength of my application, it doesn’t seem strong compared to others. I am not sure if I have a chance. I am very passionate about this field
  6. Also I had a lot of personal/mental health issues throughout college and managed to raise my GPA from a 2.75 (sophomore year) to a 3.2 (end of senior year). Should I address this in my personal statement or will the committee see my grade improvement in my transcripts. (I went from getting Cs in lower level science courses to As in 300 level biology courses)
  7. What woud be a general timeline for preparing your applications? Such as requesting recommendation letters, looking at what type of research at each school, preparing your personal statement etc etc etc
  8. How important is it to contact professors in the program you are applying to? I have heard mixed things about this or is it more important to write in your personal statement the faculty you are interested in doing research with vs emailing them a random thing saying you read a few of their papers. Thank you!!
  9. Okay thank you! They aren’t due until December but I want to make sure I know who is willing to write me a letter in advance so I’m not scrambling before the deadline. Do you think it’s professional if I text my professor who I have her personal number to see if she got my email if she doesn’t reply to my follow up.
  10. I have graduated last year with a B.S. in biology and since then I have working in industry as a microbiology. I am applying to various PhD programs in microbiology for next fall. I have already asked my boss (who is the director of the lab) for a letter of recommendation and she said yes, I am very confident she will write me a strong letter. I was a lab tech originally and she promoted me to be a microbiologist in the company when only working there for 3 months and would be a great advocate for me. I still need two more letters of recommendation. The second letter I emailed a professor I did a directed study with my senior year of undergrad and she helped me a lot to prepare me for applying to graduate school and general advice. I emailed her in the middle of august (a very formal email updating her with what I have been doing since graduating and if she can write me a letter) and she hasn't replied. I sent her a follow up email a week later and STILL NO REPLY!!. I am stressed she will never answer me and it is crucial she writes me a letter since on my resume and my application I will talk about working with her. I am also surprised she hasn't answered. I don't know if I should send her another follow up email and if she doesn't answer to call her office?? Would it even be appropriate to call a professors office? The third letter, I am asking a professor who I know closely and consider a mentor. I recently talked to her over the phone in July about general career advice and applying to schools advice. She also was my microbiology (and genetics) professor who made me inspired to even pursue research in microbiology. Typically she replies the day after with emails and I sent her an email two days ago (I know this is early to be worried) and she has not replied. I am worrying because this is typically not like her. I am planning on sending her a follow up next week and then if she doesn't answer would it be appropriate considering I have her personal number to text or call her to remind her of my email?? I don't know who else I could ask, professor wise, that would give me a strong recommendation letter. I have one professor that I studied abroad with (but it was humanities not a science class) that might write me one - but I have not talked to that professor in a year. Also, I don't know how this professor could advocate for my research abilities . I also have another professor I took 4 classes with that might write me one. I do not think letters will be as strong for my application compared to these two professor I am asking. 😩😩 Also my executive director of my lab will be willing to write me a letter but she has only been our executive director for about 3 months before going out on maternity leave. During those three months I have worked with her closely (having weekly meetings) and I do feel like she knows me enough to provide a letter. A lot of my applications prefer letters from professors and considering I have only graduated a year ago and worked in industry for only a year, it is probably more appropriate to have two letters from professors and the other from my boss. I do think it is weird that both of them haven't replied to any emails. I am very worried and I don't know if I should even apply if I do not have strong LOR. Also, both of these professors I have been using as references for job applications -which they agreed to be my references. Thank you for your responses !!!!
  11. Hi, I am very conflicted on what direction I should do, any advice is appreciated. I have graduated with a B.S. in biology about a year ago and my GPA is a 3.17. I understand my GPA is low. I did very bad my first two years of college due to dealing with anxiety and depression issues but my last two years I managed to raise my GPA from a 2.75 to 3.17 and got an A in all my upper level biology courses (such as cell biology, microbiology, parasitology, biochem, animal behavior, virology etc.) Anyway I have always dreamed of getting a phD and being a research scientist. My first two years in college have discouraged me from aquiring significant research experience with a professor but I managed my senior year to work on a very small animal behavior research project with one of my professors (otherwise I have very minimal research experience in undergrad). My research interests are mostly related to microbiology (infectious disease related). Experience in undergrad related to graduate school programs include: being a TA for gen bio lab, TA for an anthropology course, a bunch of leadership experience, & directed study senior year, study abroad as well Right out of college I got a job as an Associate Scientist at a cosmetic company. My job pays very well (65,000 per year + bonus), the company has amazing benefits (unlimited sick leave, 401K, pension, tuition reimbursement, vacation time, health care and even more than listed), and it is an industry job. I work in a research lab were I am gaining significant microbiology experience (such as lab bench experience, writing SOP & protocols, bacteria identification, and testing etc.). But, I am lacking a lot of "flashy" molecular and genetic lab experience. This, I feel is making me less of a competitive applicant for a phD in micro program (such as doing research for a pharmaceutical company developing a drug etc.). But, I am not sure if this job I have now does make me a completive applicant?? I also have a significant amount of loans from undergrad and am able to pay them off (hopefully in 3 years with this salary) and do not want to acquire more loans than I need to. My boss also really likes me and is willing to let me work on more research projects than I am working on now. I have signed up to take the GRE in a month as well. My recommendation letters will be strong (hopefully) I have two professors in mind and my Director and Executive Director of my lab can write me a strong recommendation. I do not know if I should: A: apply to PhD programs by this december for next fall and see if I am able to get accepted to a program and leave my high paying job (for a BS in bio out college) for this if I get an acceptance ? --> I have to start emailing potential research labs, being my personal statement etc. etc. etc. BUT i do not know if it is worth it to leave my company now considering I have a great job. B: get a part-time masters (apply for next fall- most application are due in April/May) in a related field IN PERSON such as biotechnology, biochem, or Biology with concentration that is either thesis based/internship based. There is no MS in micro or infectious disease or immunology in my area where I work. I would do this while working where I work now and get the tuition reimbursement from my company. --> I think the basis of the masters for me is to gain more lab/research experience (molecular and genetic) C : finding a volunteer position at another lab (either within the company or at a local college) to gain that molecular lab experience AND then apply to phD NEXT YEAR for fall 2021 programs OR take a molecular lab class at local college in fall to gain this experience D : look at online masters options for next fall and get tuition reimbursement and apply to PhD programs after or just stay with masters ( I do not know how reputable or beneficial an online masters will be) I have though extensively about what a phD program entails (I have taken a seminar course in college that went in depth of how to apply and what you are getting yourself into. Also, I have read books and articles on what this would entail). I am just unsure on how worth it this will be to apply for next fall, should I be applying NEXT YEAR for fall 2021 programs?? I am not sure of the pay off between just having masters vs. just having a phD in programs related to biology and the jobs associated with each. Will I be wasting my time JUST getting a masters OR getting a masters AND then phD (I know some PhD programs you can leave with masters if you choose too). I think right now my eventual goal is phD but I do not know how ready I am for this. I think I am also doubting my application strength and my ability to get accepted now. What do you think my chances are of getting accepted to a program right now? Or am I stupid to leave my job after a year for a phD program if I do get accepted to one. I know you can not do much with a BS in biology and graduate school is mostly necessary. THANK YOU FOR READING ALL OF THIS I am very lost in what direction I should be taking.
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