A bit of a personal post today…

So, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, I have only just started working at my graduate institution. My program is part of a larger medical school which, in turn, is only one of many medical schools and hospitals in the area. I have lived in major cities before, but this new place is particularly daunting. There are people of all different backgrounds, speaking numerous languages. There are doctors, nurses, students, administrators, scientists, volunteers, patients, visitors… the list goes on and on. I can’t help but reflect on how there must be a certain camaraderie among those around me. All of them are working toward the same goal of improving human health – and this is a brotherhood I am now a part of. However, I still feel like nothing more than a face in the crowd, on the outside looking in, so to speak. I don’t like to think of myself as a shy person and, to be honest, I probably have more self confidence than is normal, but this is a challenge like I’ve never faced. Classes haven’t started yet, and everyone in my lab is in a completely different stage of life than I am and knows I will be here for only a few short weeks before school begins, so making new friends has proven to be difficult.

Here’s where the irony comes in… Read the rest of this entry »


If you’re like me, then all of your life has been a giant question mark.

The answer: 42.

No, but seriously, there was never really any doubt that I’d become a scientist. I can remember being four years old and wandering around my yard examining plant life and watching animals interact (usually my dogs tormenting a squirrel, but still…). There was also little doubt that I would be a skeptic – at five, after getting home from Easter Sunday Mass, I tormented my mother with questions about how we know God exists (she couldn’t answer my questions very well and I didn’t go back to church much after that…).

How I got from those preschool days to applying to Ph.D. programs would make a very long, boring book, but here is some interesting trivia:

  • I grew up in an average conservative town in New York.
  • I could talk about anything with my parents, but they taught me that politics and religion are societal taboos – I didn’t often listen.
  • The first thing I ever wanted to be was a detective, then an astronomer. (Now I am neither, but a lab rat instead.)
  • My favorite question was “How does this work?”. Followed closely by “But how does THAT work, then?”.
  • Evolution was taught at my school – and no one complained.
  • The question was always “WHERE are you going to college?”
  • My little cousin was diagnosed with autism at age 4.
  • The most important phrase I learned in college was “It depends”.
  • Statistics has always been my forte.