(Douglas McNeel laboratory)
Where are you from? Why Madison and the Cancer Biology program?
I am from Bangalore, India. UW-Madison is one of the nation’s best public institutions with afavorable faculty to student ratio. This is important to me because it suggests I will get a lot of mentorship. The Cancer Biology program appeals to my existing research interests, but I was also attracted by the opportunity to specialize and develop new expertise. The breadth of research opportunities, flexible curriculum, and outstanding training from faculty will help me to accomplish my educational and training goals and to establish myself as an independent researcher. I wanted to take advantage of the facilities and expertise this university had to offer. Madison is a great city, and I like how the university is integrated into Madison’s culture.
What was your favorite place/activity when you need to de-stress?
I love the Memorial Union terrace, and a walk to picnic point is always fun.
You were 6 months into the program when the lockdown was put in place. What was your PI and lab’s response?
My PI was incredibly supportive and allowed me to come into the laboratory under safe conditions to continue my work despite the lockdown and social distancing rules. Others in my lab helped me learn some of the necessary lab techniques I needed to allow me to be independent with my experiments going forward.
What is your new norm? How have you been coping with classes and trying to do in-person research?
Time management, such as planning daily lab experiments, has helped coping with virtual classes and in-person research.
Any advice for incoming students, especially under these new circumstances?
My advice is to take this pandemic as a blessing in disguise–to help us spend more time in the lab rather than traveling to and from to classes, especially in the winter.