Tag Archives: School of Engineering

Why Michael Chose Tufts

Written by Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020

In this multi-part blog series, we will be exploring why current #TuftsGrad students chose to pursue their graduate education at Tufts University. Today, we hear from Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020, in part 1 of our ‘Why Tufts?’ series.

Tufts University was the first school that accepted me twice. I was admitted into the Biology (MS) and the Bioengineering (MS) program. I was ecstatic because Tufts was also my first official graduate school acceptance. I can remember anxiously sitting at home when I got the email that a decision had been made on my application. During this round of graduate school applications, I had applied to about 20 programs including an international university in Tel Aviv. I had been working at Boston Children’s Hospital as a research technician in a regenerative biology lab for nearly 2 years to prepare myself for a graduate education in STEM. After countless hours of discussion with other engineers, friends, and my partner I decided to remain in Boston and pursue my engineering degree at Tufts.

Ultimately, I made my decision to attend Tufts School of Engineering based on two important economic factors: proximity to the Boston biotechnology ecosystem and the earning potential in the Boston area. In other words, I was concerned with how difficult it would be for me to enter the job market and maximize my earning potential once I gained experience. 

According to Glassdoor and LinkedIn, entry-level Biomedical Engineers in the Boston area have a much higher earning potential than in other big cities like New York City and San Francisco where salary might be higher, but so is the cost of living. I am originally from Los Angeles, California (the land of eternal summer), and knew that San Francisco would be a change, but I like living in the Northeast too much. Boston is a college town so there are a lot of college students here which means the quality of conversation is always engaging and challenging (no shade to my LA friends that work in the film industry … well, maybe a little). 

Despite the ‘frigid’ stereotype of Bostonians, I have really found a great community here of scholars, entrepreneurs and scientists. Bostonians, and New Englanders in general, have truly warmed up to me. 

GSO Spotlight: Graduate Student Sports Organization

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) always welcomes proposals for new Graduate Student Organizations (GSOs). The Graduate Student Sports Organization (GSSO) was recently started by a number of students. Their first year has been very successful, and they’ve even been awarded the honor of Outstanding Graduate Student Organization of 2018-2019. I recently sat down with Rachel Owyeung, President of the GSSO, to chat about their experiences.

Brenna:  Could you tell me a little bit about why you wanted to start the GSSO?

Rachel:  Because day-to-day grad school responsibilities can be draining, we weren’t satisfied with many of the events planned for us that involve thinking about stress inducing activities, like finding a job after graduation, learning a new coding program, etc. These events are all extremely useful and they do a great job at facilitating a well-rounded graduate school experience, but when you’ve just done experiments for the entire day or spent the whole day writing or editing a paper, sometimes the last thing you want to do is to attend an event that requires extra thinking power. We soon realized that there was a real need for fun activities that kept us active after sitting at our desks all day. We were always planning get-togethers on the weekends to play Spikeball or Ultimate Frisbee, so we figured it would be nice to get funding for these meet-ups and expand these events. Thus, we created the GSSO. We’ve received a surprising amount of support from a diverse group of grad students spanning many departments. Our events have become a great way to meet other students that love sports and staying active throughout their degree. 

Brenna:  Was it difficult to start a new GSO?

Rachel:  Starting a GSO was extremely easy. You can boil the whole process down to three essential steps: 1) You make a constitution, 2) you remember to apply for funding each financial quarter, and 3) you attend monthly GSC meetings (free dinner!). I would encourage everyone to start or join a GSO.

Brenna:  What are your most popular events?

Rachel:  This is our first year as a GSO, but people loved our ski trip to Gunstock Resort in the White Mountains. We were able to secure funding for lift tickets, including rentals, which made it accessible to people who had never skied before. We had 2 new skiers on that trip! We’re hoping to make it an annual event because of the positive feedback we received. We also recently held an archery tag event, which people loved. There are a lot of unique ways to stay active in the area, and we’ve got our eyes set on axe throwing next!

Brenna:  Do you have any events planned for the summer?

Rachel:  We are always hosting small scale get-togethers to play sports. We’ll be hosting many Spikeball tournaments throughout the summer, among other sports, like soccer and frisbee, to name a few. We’ve also been discussing hiking, axe throwing, and going to a Red Sox game or another sporting event. Keep an eye out!

Brenna:  What’s the best way to find out about your events?

Rachel:  Keeping up with the GSC calendar is the easiest way, as we are extremely diligent about submitting our event info there two weeks prior to our events. We also have a newly created GSSO Facebook page that we will be using to advertise our events.

Where to go? A grad student’s guide to her favorite spots on campus

Written by Amanda Wang, Innovation & Management M.S. 2019

Since I spend a lot of time on campus, I try to find the places where I feel the most comfortable. I am writing to share some of my favorite spots on Tufts’ campus, and hope this post will inspire you to find your own spots here as well.

School of Engineering Complex Building (SEC)

As a graduate student in the School of Engineering, my daily activities are mainly around the SEC. The building is already lovely from the outside – a combination of the past and the modern times with both old and new blocks within the body. There are always exciting events happening in the SEC, so it is the ideal place for me to spend time on campus.

  • Kindlevan Café

Seriously, Kindlevan Café has the best smoothies on campus! Tropic Kale is always on the top of my list (also on many of my friends’ lists). When you don’t have time to have a full meal in the morning, you can find assorted bakery choices here for a quick breakfast or brunch. Under a glass ceiling with spacious areas filled by couches and tables, Kindlevan is a beautiful indoor place for me to do some work or to meet with friends. It is never too loud or too quiet in the day, with very generous sunshine entering from all sides of the building.

  • MSIM Studio

Located in the connecting part of the old wing and the new wing of Anderson Hall, the MSIM Studio is the place where I spend most of my time with my classmates. What is most exciting is that a lot of the projects that start here, actually go on to influence real people. It is a very innovative and creative studio, where you will feel collaboration is comfortable and fun! Since orientation, this place has gradually become my second home. 

  • Random Space

There are also plenty of chairs and couches on the upper levels of SEC. While still being able to enjoy the bright natural day light, you can find a quieter study area if you need to concentrate, or if you need a huge white board to keep track of all your new ideas.

Tower Café

Sometimes I go to Tisch Library if I need some books or some good coffee. I study in Tower Café often, as it has great coffee and a cozy vibe. Tower Café provides the latest magazines and newspapers for you to stay tuned with every corner of the world, and a full shelf of books among which you can find very interesting stories. Tower Café is usually open till late at night, so it is also the best place to refuel yourself during the long finals period.  

Campus Center

This is the best place to take some mental rest between your busy schedules. I play billiards and table tennis with my friends on the upper level – it is the best spot around campus to play games with your friends. There are also plenty of big and soft couches near the game room, where you can rest while watching TV. On the other side of the floor is the Rez Café, a student-run café at Tufts. They have amazing coffee and tea drinks with beautiful names, and I have difficulty making decisions every time since there are so many choices. Downstairs there are places like the Commons or Hotung Café where you can grab some snacks and a seat at a table to enjoy your time. 

574 Boston Ave (574)

As a student studying innovation and management, I am always looking for inspiration and an entrepreneurial environment. Therefore, I go to 574 very often either to meet my teammates in a well-equipped discussion room or to find a quiet but open area to do some work. On the first floor of the building, there is a coffee vending machine, so no worries finding hot coffee around this area. Plus, the Semolina Kitchen and Bar is right next to 574, and they have a crazy good menu with freshly-made elegant sandwiches starting from $10.  

The Lawn

We sometimes ignore the invaluable but free natural resources around ourselves. Summer is almost here, and all the lawns on campus are back to their green, fresh, and lovely status. Small animals also come back to us who are invisible during the winter. No digital devices needed this time – just get ready to freshen your mind. I love to sit and simply watch bunnies and squirrels jumping and running around or listen to the birds chirping around me. 

Oh the Places You’ll Go (With Your Tufts ID Card)

Written by Ruaidhri Crofton, History & Museum Studies M.A. 2020

As a graduate student, being able to save money is important. But at the same time, being able to take some time away from your studies to visit a museum, go to a movie, or grab something to eat is a great way to change up your routine and ensure that you’re not burning yourself out from working nonstop. Finding a balance between saving and going out to do something fun isn’t always easy, but thanks your handy dandy Tufts student ID card you have access to a number of things that will allow you to decompress, explore, and learn something new without spending too much, if anything!

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Perhaps one of the most exciting perks of being a Tufts student is free (yes, that’s right, FREE) admission to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)! Located right next to the Tufts Fenway Campus, the museum is easily accessible both via public transportation and the university shuttle. Though visitors typically pay as much as $25 to enter this renowned cultural institution, you have the opportunity to peruse its seemingly endless galleries and corridors as frequently as you like for no charge. Explore vast collections of art from around the world ranging from Roman pottery and Egyptian mummies to Colonial Era American paintings and modern art from around the globe. Home to nearly 500,000 pieces of art, I have never found myself able to see everything there is to see, even after multiple visits. However, even if you were to manage this impressive feat, the museum’s array of temporary exhibits and public programming will hopefully keep drawing you back over and over again!

The Royall House & Slave Quarters 

A mere 10 minutes walking distance from the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus, The Royall House and Slave Quarters preserves the 18th century home of the Royall family, the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts, along with the only remaining slave quarters in the northern United States. Visitors are welcome to visit the site from mid-March to mid-November where they can take a guided tour of both the mansion and slave quarters to learn more about the property’s role in the history of race, class, and slavery in North America. Though the stories preserved and interpreted by the site can be troubling to hear, a visit to the museum provides an impactful means of learning about this country’s past and its significance today. Admission is typically only $10, but Tufts students are able to visit for free.

Theaters

Taking the time to see a cool new movie on the big screen or even attending a play or concert can make for a fun night out. However, the cost of seeing a film in theaters alone can often cost nearly $20. That being said, several movie theaters in the Boston area offer discounted showings and student rates. Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline is a popular independent theater known for showing a wide variety of mainstream and independent movies, as well as being affordable for students. Even the AMC chain theaters in Boston and Somerville offer a fairly substantial discount on tickets (though they can vary from location to location). Although I haven’t seen a formal student discount at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square, it’s $11 ticket prices certainly beat out other theaters in the area and it’s only a short walk away from campus!              

Groceries, Shops, and Restaurants

As a graduate student, finding time to cook and eat can definitely be challenging. Having the luxury of going out to eat isn’t always possible, especially on a tight budget. However, many restaurants, shops, and even grocery stores in Davis Square and elsewhere near the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus offer discounts to Tufts students to make eating out a bit more affordable. Perhaps the most well well known among Tufts students is Yoshi’s Japanese and Korean Cuisine, which offers a 10% discount to students who show their ID. B-Fresh Market, a grocery store in Davis Square, similarly offers a 5% discount on groceries at checkout to students (just make sure you use a regular checkout and not a self-checkout to get this discount). Multiple other businesses also offer similar discounts so make sure you keep your ID card with you and your eyes out for signs promoting these deals! 

So Much More!

Though these are just a few examples of some of the deals you can get with a Tufts student ID, there are plenty of other museums, restaurants, events, and businesses in the Boston area that offer discounts and promotions for students. Make sure you always keep your ID handy to take advantage of these offers, and make your experience as a graduate student just a bit more affordable and fun! 

So you’re ready for a job: Resources to take your employment search to the next level

Written by Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020

This week I want to address a different aspect of life here at Tufts: that period when you are preparing to finish your program and enter the work force. That’s why we came to graduate school right? To graduate. As a graduate student currently applying for post-graduation positions, I want to share my experiences and the resources at Tufts that will bring your job search to the next level.

When reviewing resumes of potential employees, approximately 98% of companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) and/or some form of a cognitive aptitude tests. I have found that the ATS can be both interesting and frustrating. It’s meant to streamline leading talent to the top of an application pile, but may make it difficult for companies to locate diversely qualified candidates without proper user input specifications on the front end. In other words, the potential to screen out qualified candidates can be high without proper ATS software training. 

When I first started my job search, prior to studying the ATS and utilizing my resources at Tufts, I sent out countless resumes with little to no response, and did a few first-round interviews with companies that didn’t go any further. Follow up emails didn’t produce results and employers didn’t provide feedback. In short, it’s a tough time to be on the job market, and I wondered what I was doing wrong. 

I visited Tufts Career Center and, with help from the staff there, spruced up my resume and cover letter template. I used Big Interview to practice my responses for job interview questions, and I also learned how to use LinkedIn to conduct informational interviews. On my own, I also decided to utilize a different, experimental approach to finding a job. In one week, I carefully crafted a handful of job applications with custom resumes, cover letters, and a few short essay prompts for four categories of jobs in which I am currently seeking employment. I used a word cloud search approach to scan job descriptions and found commonly used words in the different categories and made sure to strategically integrate those words (where appropriate) into active and achievement-oriented highlights of my career experience. 

Within the first week, I received seven invitations to interview. After another week and going to those initial seven interviews, I was called back for several second- and third–round interviews. 

As new graduates, we can find ourselves facing more barriers to entry than previous generations. Therefore, it is very important to be creative and utilize as many resources as you have available to you, and Tufts provides those resources for graduate students. While I’m currently continuing to send applications and waiting for the right offer, I am working with a Tufts professor of the practice (professors of the practice are faculty members from non-traditional academic backgrounds, often senior-level executives from top companies across a number of industries in the Boston area, who teach at Tufts) to improve my resume and interview skills. Wish me luck! And good luck to all fellow job seekers. 

Why I chose Boston (and you should too!)

Written by Ece Gulsan, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student

If you are new to Boston and have no idea what to expect from this beautiful city, chances are high that you are already confused because there are many different views about Beantown. Some people will tell you about the wicked cold winters and some will claim there is nothing to do here, but a considerable amount of Bostonians will try to prove to you that Boston is the best city in the entire world. For me, it was love at first sight. The historic red brick buildings, Fenway Park, beautiful public gardens, wide variety of restaurants, and iconic identity stole my heart. I had a chance to live in many different countries, but Boston is by far the only place I feel home away from home.

First of all, it is not Beantown: it is Braintown. The greater Boston area hosts many world-class colleges, which means thousands of smart, well educated, and intellectual people live within a couple of miles. While hanging out at your favorite brewery, you can meet someone who might be curing cancer for a living. You will learn a lot from your upstairs neighbor who is getting her Ph.D. in a comparative study of Turkish and Japanese Occidentalism. Or you can see a stranger reading a book about Marxist Histography on your subway (locally called the T) ride back home. Everybody is passionate about something, and the variety of their interests is mind blowing. Boston is obviously the learning capital of the world; living in such city always challenges you intellectually and keeps you stimulated.

Speaking of people, you might have heard that Bostonians are not as friendly as people from other parts of the country – which I strongly disagree with. Most of them are nice, say “thank you” and “excuse me,” and are happy to help you whenever you need. They say “stay warm!” during the winter as a way of saying “goodbye”, and I think this is the cutest and the most Bostonian thing ever! They just do not always look friendly from the outside, because you cannot possibly smile and survive a New England winter at the same time. Everybody minds their own business, which is pretty fair, but once you get to know people, they’re kind and helpful.

Fun fact: GQ once ranked Boston as the “Worst Dressed Town in America”. In my defense, I love wearing my Red Sox cap and Tom Brady jersey together, knowing that people will not judge me by what I wear, but by who I am. Plus, in the winter, it is way too cold to care about what I wear anyways. The first thing my Bostonian friends taught me was that layers are your best friends.

You will always see people going for a run early in the morning, and a snow storm is never an excuse to skip leg day. My 6:00 a.m. Rise and Shine yoga classes are always almost full, and I think this is refreshing. Boston locals are very health-conscious and it is very inspiring to live in such a community.

If you enjoy trying out new restaurants and bars, the city has a lot to offer. From authentic Vietnamese to hearty Mediterranean cuisine, you will find anything that you are looking for. Still not satisfied? New York City, the gastronomic capital of the East Coast, is just a bus ride away. 

You will never run out of things to do in Boston. If you are interested in art, the museums have a lot to offer, not only because they have magnificent collections, but also because they organize a lot of great events regularly. Check out Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where you can learn how to make a Venetian mask or craft a Caribbean cocktail. Go to movie nights on Fridays at the Museum of Fine Arts. Are you more into self-development? Attend public courses organized by local universities. Attend Harvard’s mini-med school program for the public and participate in discussions with brilliant professors. Become a member of MIT Waste Alliance and meet ecologically conscious people. 

If you need a change on weekends, Boston’s location is hard to beat. Do you want to see fall foliage? Head to Vermont for a romantic weekend getaway, and stop by an apple farm on your way back home to pick some tart Granny Smiths. Do you want to ski? The mountains you hiked in September in New Hampshire turn out to be a fantastic ski resort. Is it starting to get warmer up here? Hop on the commuter rail to visit Rockport and take long walks right by the ocean. Is it beach time already? Cape Cod is waiting for you with its beautiful coastlines and amazing seafood, only a two-hour drive from Boston. 

Before I conclude, let me describe my perfect Sunday in my favorite city. Have a long brunch in Cambridge with your loved ones, and head to the Harvard Book Store to wander around bookshelves. Go downstairs for the used books section, leaving your expectations behind. Once I ended up buying a book about the feelings of octopuses, and now I know way too much about them. Stop by Tatte Bakery to grab a cup of coffee, and find a spot to enjoy your new-old book. Visit Somerville Farmer’s Market on your way home to buy some fresh produce for the week. 

You never know what you will find in Boston, but I am confident that you will love it here as much as I do. If you’re very lucky, you might even meet philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky while waiting for your coffee (trust me, I’ve met him!). 

Beyond Tisch: The Best Study Spots Around Campus

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

With finals week rapidly approaching, finding the best nooks and crannies around campus is crucial for cozy and efficient studying. Over my years at Tufts, I’ve searched for these spots and I’m happy to share them here.

The OG: Tisch Library

I can’t ignore the good old library on the Medford campus. To me, there’s something special about libraries that make you feel more productive. I think it’s probably all the other people working around you that makes you feel guilty for getting distracted. There are plenty of carrels on the bottom floor of Tisch and lots of great tables for group work. One of my favorite things is that there are quiet areas where you can go for extra focus. There is also a late-night study room that is open until 3 am most nights. Not that I condone pulling lots of all-nighters, but sometimes you have to. Oh, and to fuel those late nights, Tower Café is open until 1 am on weeknights!

Grad Students Only

Did you know that we have not only one, but two on campus graduate student lounges? These are located in West Hall and Curtis Hall and are open 24 hours a day; accessible with your Tufts ID. Both locations have free printing and mini cafes with snacks, coffee, and tea. In West Hall, there are now seven brand new carrels for extra focused studying. Curtis Hall can also be reserved for graduate student events like meetings, board game nights, and ice cream socials. The best thing is that these spaces are only accessible to graduate students. So, when Tisch is getting too crowded with undergrads, head over to a lounge.

New Hot Spot: The SEC

The Science and Engineering Complex, abbreviated SEC, is a new building on campus that houses teaching and research labs and several departments. Contrary to its STEM-focused name, there are plenty of communal spaces that anyone can use. The atrium of the building is a beautiful space with plenty of natural light and lots of tables. Kindlevan Café is also located on this level which serves up delicious smoothies, hot lunches, and snacks. If the atrium is too crowded, head up to one of the other levels which has even more tables and white board walls!

Cafes Around Campus

If you like to work off campus, there are plenty of great cafes within walking distance. Tamper is located right on Boston Avenue. It’s your classic hipster café with communal tables, tasty lattes, and good vibes. Tamper also serves delicious food; when your brain needs a boost I recommend the chicken pesto sandwich. A little-known fact—Tamper is open for dinner on Wednesdays and serves delicious craft beers. Who doesn’t need a beer every now and then to complement their work? Finally, if you’re looking for a classic, Starbucks in Davis Square is a great option. It’s pretty much a standard coffee shop, but there’s an added bonus of a fireplace! This is absolutely perfect for when the weather gets chilly. 

Hopefully these options will give you plenty of options to make your finals week a success!

Finals Season is Coming: 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

Written by Amanda Wang, Innovation & Management M.S. 2019

Stress is a word that never leaves a college student’s dictionary. In April, when you find out you have tons of reports, assignments, and exams ahead of you, even the fact that the summer break will (eventually) come  barely helps. I have tried multiple methods from drinking too much coffee to watching a whole season of drama, only to figure out that neither pushing harder nor procrastinating longer would make a real difference to my stressed-out brain. 

Maybe knowing how to relieve stress is one huge part of ”adulting”. Now with almost five years of university life experience, I found five ways that work best for me and perhaps will work for you as well.

  • Write tasks down 

This might be the most straightforward way to reduce stress. Your brain is like a strawberry jam, and it is hard to figure out what you should do. Seems like no matter what task you do first, you will not be able to finish all of them on time. But is this the case? Or just because you do not know how much you have to finish by today, this week, and this month? The quickest approach to stop the panic is to write all your tasks and concerns down. After writing down the tasks quickly, you will find that many things are easier than you expected. Try hand-writing instead of plugging the deadlines into an Excel document (for me, Excel itself already looks stressful), as writing by hand can help the brain process  information and clean it up. Sounds cool, huh? Get down to write and see how amazingly it helps with your stress relief!

  • Chat with your friends

It is understandable if you want to be left alone when you are stressed, as social time can be tiring when you have tons of work to do. However, if you have a weekend or a day off, call a friend to grab coffee or food together! Trust me – once the conversation starts, you will feel much better. In addition, some coffee and food will help to create comfort and relieving environment. The time spent with friends makes us much stronger when facing stress. Many times, we just need a bit encouragement and we will have enough energy to carry on. Friends are the people we can seek encouragement from most directly and effectively. Don’t forget to help your friends when they are stressed, too!

  • Go outside

Try not to stay at home all day when you feel that you need some personal time. Instead, go outside. If the weather is good, do some exercise! Spring is around the corner (finally!) and I can hear the birds chirping in the morning. Outdoor activities can help you to gain energy, but even  going to the gym or shopping malls is better than staying inside your place the whole day. You may go hiking or biking around the  area near Middlesex Fells Reservation. Or simply take a day trip outside campus (see our blog ‘Escaping Campus: The 5 best day trips from Tufts!’). Enjoy the sunshine and nice weather!

  • Clean up your space

A messy living space will add to your stress level. To keep your mind clear, having a tidy space of your own is essential. I was amazed by the power of a clean home  after watching the Netflix series “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”. No need to throw half of your stuff away, just give yourself some organized space to work. Put stuff that is not frequently used back in boxes or drawers, reorganize your closet to get ready for the spring, do some laundry for clean towels and sheets – anything that you can think of to ‘renovate’ your space will significantly help to reduce the stress. 

  • Have some comfort food

Food is always comforting under the proper circumstances.  Try to make your favorite dish at home, no matter if it is eggs & bacon or some hot noodles with seasoning. I sometimes make Shakshuka, pasta, or Chinese noodle soups. Or, you can dine out at your favorite restaurants or explore new restaurants in the area! Remember, the idea is to eat something that will make you happy, but don’t eat food that is unhealthy as it will only add to your stress later on!

Being a full-time employee and part-time graduate student: A week in the life

Written by Penelope Seagrave, Human Factors M.S. 2019

I work full-time as an Engineer at Cognex and am also a part–time graduate student. This semester, I’m enrolled in two evening classes at Tufts as I work on my  masters in Human Factors Engineering. I thoroughly enjoy these courses, and find the assignments interesting and worth the precious time that I forfeit to work on them on Saturdays and Sundays. Occasionally, I may work through lunch on an assignment, but typically I am able to manage by finishing assignments exclusively over the weekend. Weekends are now my productive time. Honestly, it’s encouraged me to be more responsible and disciplined in my life overall. While it does mean that I spend more Friday or Saturday nights at home, I’ve come to realize that having an entire weekend day full of productivity is a truly fulfilling experience, and worth the potential FOMO. Working on a Sunday makes me feel like a responsible adult.

While I could choose to do homework assignments in the evenings during the workweek, I find myself extra inclined towards procrastination after I’ve spent the whole day working already. So, for me, it’s easier to plan to devote a weekend day. During the week, I prepare by reading over the assignments and getting a solid sense of the expectations so I can predict how long I will need to complete it, and then I save the work for the weekend.

There are some projects that are better broken down into steps over the course of many days. This goes for studying too. Especially for design courses that encourage an iterative process, I tend to work on my assignments after work and sometimes during my lunch breaks. This allows me to space the time better and also solicit feedback from my coworkers, which I have found to be an incredibly helpful and unexpected bonus. 

So far, I have been able to manage working full time while in graduate school very smoothly. And the best part is that I have an income while in school. If you are considering this option, check to see if your company offers tuition reimbursement. Having money coming in while I’m in school is fabulous. There is no way I could go back to my old college days of ramen noodles.

I will say that the consequences of being a part-time student are felt primarily in the length of time it takes to complete the program. For example, if I were a full-time student, I could have graduated in two semesters. Now I’m completing my fourth semester and looking forward to my final full semester in the fall, with a one-course summer session in between. 

But the upside is that I get to be a Tufts student for a longer period of time. I love being a Jumbo! And because I’ve been attending classes here for so long, I feel it has a stronger place in my identity. I am really proud to be studying at Tufts.

Event Spotlight – Graduate Student Research Symposium and 3-Minute Thesis

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

As a member of the Graduate Student Council, I’ve had the pleasure of helping organize a number of events. From roundtables with administrators, to pub nights, to community service opportunities, one of the primary goals of the GSC is to provide meaningful experiences for all graduate students within the Tufts community. 

One of the most popular events is the annual Research Symposium. Every year in early March, graduate students from across campus come together to present their research in a variety of different formats; posters, speed talks, long talks—there’s something for everyone! And as usual, we aim to feed attendees with plenty of food. This year we even had the Frozen Hoagies  food truck, a local ice cream sandwich favorite. Graduate students present their research while faculty members and post-doctoral fellows provide feedback and ultimately choose the top 3 from each category. The winners get awards, but everyone gets free food and has a great time.

This year was no different. The day began with a poster session. Students from Biology, Chemistry, and other departments all presented their research during an informal reception. We were grateful to have judges from diverse, interdisciplinary backgrounds. One of the best things about Tufts is being surrounded by such interesting and broad research. At these kinds of academic events, we emphasize communicating research in an accessible way. Though I’m a biologist, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from students in the English, History, and Child Study and Human Development departments. As a Tufts graduate, I can guarantee you that you’ll have your elevator pitch down and that you’ll be able to clearly discuss your research with anyone who might listen.

The posters were followed by 15-minute talks, during which I learned about triple-stranded DNA, how climate change is impacting the use of bike share programs, and whether cupcakes and muffins are statistically distinguishable. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a symposium that is more diverse than that!

While the Research Symposium is the biggest academic event that the GSC runs, we have also begun a 3-Minute Thesis competition in the fall. 3MT is an international event that began in Australia, but any school can create its own version. It’s pretty much all in the name—you have to describe your thesis research in 3 minutes, using only a single PowerPoint slide with no animations. It is definitely challenging to say the least. This year we had nearly 15 participants from across the campus. Competition was fierce, but Alec Drobac from the Physics and Astronomy department prevailed. We’re looking forward to continuing to expand this event, and possibly even including other Boston-area schools in the future.

These academic-focused events give students the opportunity to practice communicating their research to the broader Tufts community. It’s also a great chance to meet and connect with students outside of your department. You never know where your next collaboration might be, even right on campus!