Experiences at PREP: Students Share What Made a Difference
Thanks to the PREP program I had a very successful graduate career. I published 12 scientific papers, one book chapter, and the February 2009 cover of the Eukaryotic Cell Journal. I won several awards and presented at numerous scientific meetings, such as American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Minority Trainee Research Forum (MTRF), and National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA). In the summer of 2009, I had the honor of being selected in a national competition as a research fellow participating in the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Laboratory Fellowship Program sponsored by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and administered by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL).
PREP Scholar, 2001–2002
CDC Post-Doctoral Fellow-Infectious Disease, Wadsworth Lab, Albany
The PREP training at Icahn School of Medicine was my first true research experience, and one which empowered me to overcome any doubts in my ability to pursue a career in research. Since, I have earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Colorado at Denver, where I studied the molecular structures of tumor suppressor proteins and their function in the cell nucleus. Currently, I am training as a postdoctoral associate at Biotechnology Institute of the University of Minnesota, where I work on the metabolic engineering of yeast cells to more efficiently produce ethanol, from the sugars in plant cell walls, as a renewable biofuel.
PREP Scholar, 2003–2004
Post-Doctoral Associate, Biotechnology Institute
University of Minnesota
PREP was a great stepping-stone that allowed me to grow as a student in pursuit of a scientific career. I received a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from both the PREP administrators and my mentor. The PREP program gave me the confidence and direction I needed to be successful in the program and gain admittance into several PhD programs.
PREP Scholar, 2004-2005
PhD Candidate, Icahn School of Medicine
Many of my previous professors argued that I did not require more research training and that I was ready for medical school. But after two years in PREP, I know I made the correct choice in becoming a PREP scholar. This program made me aware of the demands and responsibilities of an MD/PhD student, an accomplishment that no counselor, student, or program brochure can achieve with such clarity. The more intense graduate-level exposure to science evolved my capability for problem-solving and taught me many things about my fields of interest. The option to enroll in graduate courses not only expanded my knowledge of science but also the cohort of people I call colleague. This not only made me a much more competitive MD/PhD applicant, but now, it made me an even better MD/PhD student than I would have been.
PREP Scholar, 2002-2004
My experience at Mount Sinai PREP was one in which I was truly treated as if I were already a PhD student, as opposed to someone between college and university. I was interested in PREP partially because I really wanted to know first-hand what I was getting into, so this was perfect. Combined with the remarkable support and guidance of Terry [Ann Krulwich], I applied, interviewed, and was accepted to graduate schools I was interested in attending. I decided to stay at Sinai, because not only was the emerging virus research (which I fell in love with) high caliber, but because of the rigor of the program.
PREP Scholar, 2007-2008
My PREP experience was overall a great and supportive experience. Dr. [Terry Ann] Krulwich worked with each PREP student on an individual basis and addressed what each student needed, whether it was further academic training, preparing applications, providing life advice/perspective, or putting a student in contact with any further support that a student might need. Working in the Shapiro Lab was intense, but they did excellent science, were passionate about it, and invested their time and energy in teaching me some of the fundamental and critical concepts of cognitive, behavioral, and systems neuroscience and proper scientific thinking and protocol. The students were great as well. We supported one another on an academic and personal level.
PREP Scholar, 2004-2005