Why did you enroll in Integrated Science?

In high school, I was super interested in learning how the brain worked. In 12th grade, I opened a textbook on theoretical neuroscience and learned that neuron firing is modeled using differential equations. When I read about ISC, I was sold because ISC combines amazingly cool science and experimentation with learning technical skills like mathematical modeling and coding. I chose ISC because I felt it would best prepare me for modern molecular biology and neuroscience research, which is so often interdisciplinary.

What was the ISC Freshman Sequence (ISC231-234) like for you?

ISC was a unique experience I know I will probably never have again. At its core, ISC was a social experience. More than what we learned in the classroom, I learned how to work together - with my peers, TAs, and professors. I learned how to solve problems, to ask for help when I need it, and improve myself in ways I could not do alone. Though ISC is very hard, it is hard in the best kind of way. I made some of my best friends through ISC because we had to support each other and work together all the time. When I finished ISC problems and lab reports, it was the same adrenaline rush I got when I had climbed a mountain or completed a mile run! ISC lecturers are passionate and the material really solidified my love of interdisciplinary and quantitative science.

How have the courses benefited you academically, and has it made you think about what you want to do after you graduate?

I got a hundred times better at googling, which sounds bizarre! What I mean is that ISC has taught me to be resourceful and find answers, even if I feel totally lost when faced with a problem. ISC has also taught me the basic computational and math tools I’d need throughout my molecular biology degree, and in my research – I use computational methods and mass spectrometry to study of proteins, on a genome-wide scale.

ISC has given me the confidence to take courses that interest me, regardless of their difficulty. It has also taught me to take the initiative to find areas of research I am passionate about and pursue them in graduate school. I am applying to MD/PhD programs, so I can do research in basic biophysical sciences but also get an appreciation of science is put to work to solve disease.

How do you like working with the various Integrated Science faculty and staff?

It goes without saying that the integrated science faculty and staff are amazing scientists. More than that though, ISC teachers are truly passionate about the course and often go the extra mile to answer student questions. I will be ever grateful for the huge amount of resources and time my instructors and peers have given to me throughout the program. I am also grateful to have had the chance to learn from professors in a firsthand way – the class is small enough that students and professors are often on a first name basis. This opportunity is fantastic, especially given the size of most introductory science and engineering courses.

I now work in the lab of Prof. Martin Wühr, who taught us about his proteomics research during ISC. A highlight of the course for me, the study of proteins on a genome-wide scale really combines knowledge and technology from physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. I have thoroughly enjoyed continuing an integrated approach to science with Prof. Wühr and throughout my Senior Thesis research.

What is it like going through Integrated Science with a close cohort of student peers?

It was an awesome way to start Princeton! My peers inspired me enjoy the subjects that I felt less comfortable with. They were always there to explain a concept or do their best to help me with math and any other challenge I faced. In ISC, my peers asked deep, thoughtful questions: they were super curious about the material at hand. I had never experienced a classroom setting like that before. I feel that ISC students share a refreshing curiosity and drive to learn about the world. As is common, my ISC peers became some of my closest friends at Princeton - I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have met them!