The first few years of my PhD, I was supported by a teaching assistanceship and taking courses. From 9 am-5 pm, I would work in the lab on my own research projects.
While at WPI, Melissa has enjoyed many close relationships that have fostered her own growth, such as the principal investigators she works side-by-side with and the undergraduates she mentors in the research labs.
Now that she’s looking for positions after graduation, she’s finding a host of different options are open to her. Prior to graduate school, she enjoyed working with animals and thus ended up in a laboratory at WPI focused on worldwide bee declines, a project she’s very passionate about. However, she also likes to work with human healthcare as a career. So, she hopes to combine these two passions and transition back into pre-clinical drug development and is looking at positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
- Receiving several awards on presentation and communication skills while at WPI, improving her confidence when talking about her research
- Participating in multiple leadership committees that allowed her to actively participate in strategic planning of the WPI graduate program to make the experience even more valuable for future students
- Graduate Student Government and Committee on Graduate Studies and Research Department/Student Representative
- Presidential Strategic Pillar Team Student Representative
- Music, hiking, and photography
After my lab work was done for the day, I’d then begin on grading for my TA position, and then get going on my own homework. I’d often work late into the night to get everything done.
Now that I have completed all of my coursework, I’ve been transferred to a research assistanceship. This has opened up more time for me as I begin writing and completing my research.
Having undergraduates in the research labs allows you to practice managing a lab, brainstorming project ideas, teaching new techniques, mentoring, and more.
Your relationship with your PI is almost as important as your research project. Your mentor will develop your ability to learn and talk about your research, and help develop the future scientist you'll become.
I really enjoy the size of WPI. Being so small, it's more like a family. I know all the professors in my department by first name and I have become good friends with all my colleagues, which really makes it a more enjoyable journey.
WPI graduate students are very hardworking, motivated people. It makes it easier to be challenged when you have other people surrounding you who also want to produce the best results they can.