Undergrad Institution: New College of Florida - small liberal arts college that is not very well known but has a very good reputation in natural sciences to those who know of it Major: Biology with a focus in plant cell & molecular biology GPA: N/A (school used narrative evaluations and a pass/fail system)Type of Student: domestic white female
Masters: University of South Florida Major: Biotechnology GPA: 3.86GRE Scores (revised version): Q: 163 V: 167 W: 4.0 (lol >_<)Research Experience: Spent the last ~6 months of my master's working in a pancreatic cancer lab doing what my PI described as postdoc-level work (designing and executing in vitro assays using murine PC cells and immune cells with/without drug added, analyzed by flow cytometry) which culminated in a master's thesis. Spent ~3 months learning how to design flow cytometry panels, run samples, analyze data, maintain and troubleshoot machines and ran USF college of medicine flow cytometry core in the director's one-month absence. Wrote a ~150 page undergraduate thesis, including a lit review of cellular and molecular aspects of the plant gravitropic response and a bioinformatics-based exploration of potentially promising subjects of further study to answer remaining questions in the field. NSF REU at UC Riverside using confocal microscopy to study the development of a specific root tissue layer in Arabidopsis. Three month-long intensive research projects in undergrad: one focusing on bioinformatics, one focusing on cell and molecular lab techniques, and one focusing on field work studying disease on a hydroponic farm.
No publications. :( The pancreatic cancer lab I worked in does have one or two manuscripts in preparation for submission now, on which I'm probably the ~4th author out of ~8 (I need to drop in to talk to the PI about this). Co-author on two presented posters and first author on a third poster.Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I received the highest level of Florida Bright Futures scholarship and the second-highest level of secured scholarships for incoming freshman in undergrad. That's really it I think? :(Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None :(
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I have written two theses?
Special Bonus Points: First-gen college student, Pell grant recipient. I think my LORs should be quite strong; one is from my undergrad academic/thesis advisor, with whom I worked very closely for most of my time in undergrad, another is from the PI whom I worked under in the PC lab, and the third will be from the director of my MS program. All three have repeatedly told me that they believe I would be an excellent PhD student.
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Not sure...Applying to Where: U of Minnesota (Twin Cities) - Applied Plant Sciences
U of Wisconsin, Madison - Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
U of California, Davis - Plant Biology
NCSU - Plant Biology
MSU - Plant Breeding, Genetics & Biotechnology
I want to apply to two other schools that are maybe easier to get into for similar programs - I fear that the programs I have listed above are simply too competitive. UMN has an acceptance rate of about ~34% for that program but the others are around ~15-20%.
Does anyone have any suggestions on other schools I should look into? Or do y'all think I have a decent shot at getting into one of the programs I mentioned?