Caitlyn Moore, Ph.D.
Student in Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Physiology
Mentor: Pranela Rameshwar, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Medicine

Since joining the graduate program at Rutgers School of Graduate Studies (SGS) on the Newark Health Science Campus, I have challenged myself to squeeze the most out of my Ph.D. This past year, I extended myself in several exciting ways.

In particular, in February 2017, I participated in the first annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the SGS as the sole representative from the Newark Health Science Campus. 3MT was developed by the University of Queensland in 2008 as part of an international initiative to cultivate effective and engaging academic communicators. It is an excellent platform that allows students to distill their work into a three-minute presentation.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the diverse opportunities Rutgers offers graduate students..."

After months of hard work crafting my presentation, I qualified for the semifinals and excitedly performed my 3MT for an audience during the final competition. My major takeaway was that completing something imperfectly is more valuable than being paralyzed by perfectionism and not trying at all. I highly recommend 3MT to all graduate students because it grants you the unique opportunity to boil your thesis down to the essentials and practice public speaking in a collaborative, supportive, low-risk environment.

Moreover, in June 2017, I was fortunate to join a small cohort of Rutgers graduate students in a cultural exchange with Jilin University, our long-standing sister university located in Changchun in the northeast Chinese province of Jilin. During our time at Jilin, we engaged with dozens of fellow graduate students to discuss our experiences - both academic and personal. As the week progressed, it became clear that we all share struggles in regard to graduate school, our careers, the future of our society and environment, and the constraints imposed by gender and sexuality discrimination and power disparity. The level of community and understanding that we cultivated between our cohorts was both comforting and enlightening, although we are from disparate cultures separated by thousands of miles, we are much more alike than we think.

Both the 3MT competition and the trip to Jilin University were transformational experiences. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the diverse opportunities Rutgers offers graduate students to learn and explore both in and outside of their own fields of work.




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