Where are you from? Why Madison and the Cancer Biology program?
I am from Hannibal, MO, but my entire family is from Minnesota. I applied to UW’s Cancer Bio program because one of my undergraduate lab mentors got his undergraduate degree at UW, and my Cancer Biology Capstone class instructor at Mizzou, Dr. Mark Hannink, did his postdoc at McArdle. Both recommended UW-Madison as a fantastic research university, and the Cancer Biology program seemed like the best fit.
What is your favorite place/activity when you need to de-stress?
My favorite place to de-stress prior to the pandemic was the Natatorium. Exercise is my way of de-stressing and the Nat, before it was torn down ☹, was very convenient to WIMR. When not working out at a gym, the Temin path is a great place to go for a run.
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 extremely supportive during the worst parts of the pandemic. Being so new to the lab, I did not have much to work on at home. In lieu of data to work on, Dusty helped me write a review article, which was an excellent learning opportunity.
What is your new norm? How have you been coping with classes and trying to do in-person research?
I am a huge extrovert so not being able to go out and see people has been tough. Luckily, I have two roommates who are great friends, and they have been willing to put up with me this past year and keep me entertained.
Any advice for incoming students, especially under these new circumstances?
It is especially important to establish a social group. Even for people who are not particularly social, having a group of people you can vent to and hang out with is crucial to maintaining good mental health during grad school. It is not as easy making friends as it was as an undergraduate, so it is important that you reach out to people, even if it seems awkward.