Student Profile: Zachary Kauffman

Student Profile
Zachary Kauffman
(Joshua Lang laboratory)


Where are you from? Why Madison and the Cancer Biology program?

I’m from Columbus, Ohio. I chose Madison because of the nature, kind people, good food, and great beer. I was drawn to the Cancer Biology program because of the collaborative nature among the faculty trainers. I feel like the spirit of collaboration advances science past what individual labs can accomplish on their own.

What was your favorite place/activity to hang out when you need to de-stress?

I really enjoy taking my bike to a trail and surprising myself with how many miles I can cover. I enjoy the Monona Lake Loop most of all, but the Arboretum is a nice change of pace.

You came to Madison during a most unusual time, while the stay-at-home orders were still in place. What was it like trying to decide on and do lab rotations to find a home lab? How did you set those up and what was your experience like?

Rotations were difficult at first as the social distancing in a few of my rotation labs meant that I had less time in the lab than I would in a normal year. I put an emphasis on being as efficient and inquisitive as I could be in the lab, and then I made sure to schedule meetings with any graduate students in the labs that I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know in person. I ended up having three great rotations and joining the lab whose PI had the most compatible mentoring style.

Any new advice for incoming students, especially under these new circumstances?

I’d recommend checking out as many trails, gardens, and natural spaces as you can when the weather is nice and order as much takeout as you can when it’s not. The older graduate students have excellent recommendations on what you need to check out in Madison.