Why did you choose this graduate program?
I chose PSU because it has a high ranking chemistry program and it was close to my hometown. When I visited PSU during the open house weekend the current graduate students were happy with the program and the department was very friendly.
What does your typical day look like/what responsibilities do you have?
As a fourth-year graduate student who is funded through an NSF Fellowship, I generally work Monday through Friday 9-5-ish. On a normal day, I come into my lab and complete the experiments that I planned out the previous day and then analyze the results of those experiments in the afternoon. I often repeat the experiments the next day if needed. I have an undergraduate student that I am mentoring who comes in to help with my experiments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. After working in the lab, I go to the gym with my friends or attend one of the on campus bible studies that I am a part of.
Why did you choose this degree at Messiah College?
I chose a degree at Messiah because Messiah was close to my
home, affordable, and a Christian university with a great chemistry
How did your Messiah College degree prepare you for this career?
Messiah prepared me very well academically for graduate school. I found that I was more prepared academically than students from the other universities that came to PSU.
Is there any specific advice you would offer someone pursuing or considering this degree?
Getting a PhD is a great deal because they are paying you to get an education, and the experience can be very rewarding. But, make sure that you need a PhD for what you want to do in your career; a PhD is a long-time commitment. Likewise, pace yourself in graduate school. Burnout and anxiety is a very real reality in graduate school. High achieving undergraduates will need to let go of their perfectionistic tendencies and embrace average (which is perfectly fine!) performance in graduate school. With all of the responsibilities you are given, you will burn out if giving more than 100% to all of your commitments. Also, make friends with students in other departments. They will keep you sane when all of your friends in your department are experiencing the same stressors as you. Get involved in a campus ministry and find a local church. You will need the support and encouragement that the body of Christ can give you.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
If planning on going to graduate school, apply for the NSF fellowship
in the fall of your senior year of school.