Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
BS in Chemical Engineering, Penn State
PhD Candidate, Chemical Engineering, USC
Definitely my research advisor. She has been a mentor at every aspect of my graduate experience at USC, which I really appreciate – some other students don’t get [this opportunity]. We started talking about my big picture plans further from graduate school pretty early on and we kept an open communication so that I was always working toward some things. She has helped me with my career plans, and that started pretty early compared to other students.
She has obviously helped me with the scientific details and everything, but she has also mentored me on the women in engineering aspect and how to be successful when facing some of the challenges that women experience. She has also encouraged me to get involved with the organizations supporting women engineers on campus which has been a really positive experience.
On a personal level, I can go to her for anything that I need and she is always welcoming and supportive, but she does challenge me too.
As an undergrad in the research labs, I got a good understanding of experiments: setting them up, data analysis, etc. But coming to graduate school, I learned the bigger picture of academic research: applying to get funding, collaborations within the university, how professors’ works and interactions happen. I learned what academic research is outside of my individual lab. I was able to see more in terms of the seminars on campus and a bigger community working together and sharing ideas and contributing to other people’s research. Just being at USC, I have learned more about independence – just being a graduate student and being away from home.
I really learned how to sell my work and make my research more connected with other people and tell you why I’m doing this on a bigger picture and why it’s important. That’s probably the biggest thing that I have learned.