Tag Archives: grad school

Making a Decision about Grad School

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 19 April 2020

A little over a month ago, when life was still normal, I got to go visit a few graduate schools to try and help me decide where I wanted to go to get my PhD.

The first university I visited was University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While I was there, I got to tour several labs, go snow tubing, and was provided with lots of free food (always a huge perk in my book) with about twenty other prospective students.

Snow Tubing in Utah

It was my first-time snow tubing so that was an incredibly fun experience and I got to make lots of new friends with the current and prospective students.

In the two weeks following, I also visited the Ohio State University and Colorado School of Mines which were both great visits filled with more fun activities. The best part was my oldest sister is a post-doc at CSoM, so I got to stay with her and catch up on some much-needed sister time.

Sister

After months of worrying about where I would be living and what I would be doing after summer, I finally had heard back from all the schools I applied to and got to make my final decision. The decision was in no way an easy one as it was one of the biggest decisions I had made in my life thus far.

That being said, I will be attending the University of Utah to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering starting this August. My research will be on lower limb robotic prosthetics and exoskeletons, so I will get to combine my passion for robotics with my passion for helping people. While it is so sad to move on from all the great times I had in undergrad and all the amazing people I have met, I am beyond excited to start this next stage in my life and see where life takes me.

Making Plans for Grad School

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 February 2020

With the end of my last semester of college quickly approaching, I am constantly thinking about my plans for after graduation. After graduation I am hoping to attend graduate school to get a PhD in electrical or mechanical engineering. While doing this, I am hoping to work on robotics/medical robotics research. I have wanted to study robotics since I was in the 8th grade and came across one of Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robots being interviewed.

Applying to graduate school took a lot of my free time last semester with studying for/taking the GRE and writing and editing my personal statement/statement of purpose (I applied to 9 schools), so I am relieved to have that all off my plate. I am now waiting to hear back from each school to make my final decision of where I want to go.

Currently I have been accepted to The Ohio State University electrical engineering PhD program, and next weekend I will be visiting the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. During this visit I will get to meet with professors in the mechanical engineering department, eat with faculty, and even go snow tubing at a ski resort.

It’s extremely stressful not knowing where I’ll be in six months, but I know no matter where I end up, I’ll be one step closer to my dream of working in robotics, and hopefully making an impact in the lives of others. I am excited (but nervous) to hear back from other schools, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunities I have been offered thus far.

Grad School at Johns Hopkins

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2019

Starting next year, I will be pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. I recently had the opportunity to visit my future school as well as the specific lab in which I will be working.

During my three-day stint in Baltimore, I explored the city and got to know my future advisor and labmates. While I was there, many of the other students considering Johns Hopkins were also visiting; this gave me the chance to meet many of the students with whom I’ll share much of my graduate school experience.

In addition to seeing the city and meeting my future classmates, I was able to discuss my future research with my advisor, Professor Tamer Zaki. This research is an extension of the work I have done at Ohio University with Dr. Sarah Hormozi. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with Dr. Hormozi, who has helped me develop as an engineer and researcher.

The final detail of the trip, which is perhaps more important than anything else I’ve mentioned, is the plentiful and delicious food! The other students and I ate at a handful of Indian restaurants and took advantage of Baltimore’s abundance of crab cakes. This type of culinary exploration is a necessary part of visiting any city.

Senioritis? No time for that!

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 December 2017

It is most college students’ hope that after putting in three long years of studying and hard work, that their senior year they can just carry the required classes and maybe take some fun classes just to meet their minimum hours. For me, however, I don’t exactly get this luxury.

The largest reason for this is that because I plan to pursue medical school next fall, I had to take additional classes throughout my undergraduate years to meet the prerequisite requirements. In addition to these classes, you add a personal finance class (because I wasn’t exactly the best with money…) and a couple “just for fun classes,” and here I am as a senior and I need 20 credit hours each semester to graduate on time!

The reason I’m telling you this isn’t to brag or complain or anything of the sort, but rather to make two points:


  1. Plan your entire class schedule early and well, and

  2. Find what works best for you and grow from it.


This second point may seem a little odd, but let me explain. Though I had 20 credit hours this semester on top of the other organization commitments and responsibilities I had, I found it to be one of my most productive semesters to date. There’s something about feeling busy all the time that increases my productivity and makes me more motivated to keep moving forward.

When reflecting on this experience that I thought would be miserable, I have actually learned more about myself and how I perform best. The things I have learned from this experience are things I plan to implement into my life moving forward.

Heading off to Grad School

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 20 April 2017

It’s truly a wonderful time of the year, especially for us seniors, as we prepare to take the next big step in our lives and graduate. As awesome as this time is, I for one will testify that it will be hard leaving the city of Athens that we have called home for these past years.

After graduation, I will be attending Vanderbilt University in pursuit of a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I had applied to eight different graduate programs, and went to visit a few of them to get a feel as to how I would like the school. In the end, Vanderbilt just felt like the right place for me to be, and I am very excited to be pursuing a graduate education there.

I will be working under the direction of Dr. Michael King, a renowned professor in the field and the Biomedical Engineering Department Chair, conducting research focusing on drug delivery with translational applications in metastatic prostate and lung cancer treatment.

I am very excited to take this next step in my life, and I will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee this fall (an awesome city, by the way, if you’ve never been). This is bittersweet though, as I will undoubtedly miss Athens, the place I’ve called home my entire life. I am so thankful for all the people who have poured into me over this first part of my life at Ohio University, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds! Have a great summer everyone!

Women in Graduate School Conference

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 13 February 2017

This past weekend, I spent my Saturday attending the Women in Graduate School Conference which was hosted by the Ohio University Women’s Center at Nelson Commons. My friend Stephanie, a fellow ChE major, told me about the conference because one of her friends helped organize it.

Although I was initially hesitant to spend my entire Saturday at a conference instead of enjoying sibs weekend with my friends, I have to say that the conference surpassed all of my expectations, and I am so glad that I went. There were a variety of different panels throughout the day which covered a wide range of topics: we learned about presenting ourselves professionally, budgeting in graduate school, and succeeding in and out of academia.

For me, the best part of the day was listening to the keynote speaker, Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Dr. Young spent the day talking to us about impostor syndrome—that uncanny feeling that you sometimes get which tells you that you’re a fraud, not qualified to be where you are in life, and that someone is going to find out at any second.

I have to say, it was a huge relief to hear that I am by no means the first person to feel this way. In fact, around 70 percent of people—men and women—suffer from impostor syndrome. We talked about how the voices in our head tell us that we aren’t good enough, and how we should deal with them.

Within the next two weeks, I will be interviewing for PhD programs in biomedical engineering at two universities, and I have to say that Dr. Young’s talk could not have come at a better time for me. She reminded each of us that we are capable and qualified at a time in our lives when many of us are most doubtful of our abilities. I am so thankful to the Ohio University Women’s Center for putting on this incredible event—spending the Saturday with a group of talented and passionate women was a breath of fresh air and I felt lucky to be in attendance.

Where to Go After Graduation?

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 January 2017

As the new semester kicks into gear, I’m realizing that this is my last semester that will have this common progression: Early ease/confusion, then cruise control on the next three weeks, then progressive chaos from week 6 to week 14. I’m sure graduate school will have its own rhythm, but this is my last uniquely undergraduate semester. As I look into where I’ll be going for graduate school, I realize I’m going to have to get over my desire to know where I’ll be. It’s likely I won’t know that until June.

My two options are Ohio University’s graduate school to work with my advisor, Dr. Cyders, or GE Aviation’s Edison program. Graduate school here would be great, but it would be the safe option. My advisor wants to work with me, so I don’t have to convince him to hire me—I’ve been doing that for the last four years.

What’s not safe and is pretty scary is the Edison program. It’s a graduate-school track GE has to teach their engineers in depth how they do things, design things, etc. It’s super selective. I have to convince them that I can handle it and that they should invest in me.

I think what scared Jane would prefer would be gradually building her resume with safe options that just take time and hard work, until the point that I can apply to my dream job and there’s no convincing required. However, to make the most of my early years I need to take risks. I need to apply to places that might reject me. It’s scary, but necessary. So I’m applying to the Edison program. They don’t interview until June, but it’ll be okay. Everything will be okay. It’ll be an adventure.