Why did you enroll in ISC?

ISC was actually a big part of the reason why I decided to come to Princeton. I was always sure that I wanted to major in some scientific discipline, but I had no idea which one or two I wanted to focus on in college, which is what a lot of undergraduate curriculums force you to do. I saw ISC as the opportunity to study biology, physics, chemistry, and computer science all at once while I decided which of these disciplines I wanted to pursue for my major. In the end, I decided to keep going with all of the above!

What was the ISC Freshman Sequence like for you?

The ISC freshman sequence was a great experience. I learned so many things about physics, biology, and chemistry, but most notably I learned about how interconnected these fields are, and how excited the science is that occurs at this intersection. ISC is definitely a difficult and very time-consuming course, but I always felt that every problem on every assignment served a purpose and got us to think about problems in a different way. I especially thought that the lab component of the course was spectacular, especially when hearing about the labs my friends were taking in the other introductory science classes. While they were trying to predict the height that their bottle rockets would reach, we were replicating Nobel-prize winning experiments from the 1940s!

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

ISC benefitted me immensely academically. Coming into Princeton I knew next to nothing about physics, and now because of ISC I’ve decided to become a physics major! ISC prepares you to be successful in virtually every major in the natural sciences and engineering, in part because of the large number of topics covered by the class, but primarily because of the problem-solving techniques and work ethic it instills in you. ISC also gave me my first experience in a wet lab and introduced me to the professor whose labs I have worked in over the past couple of years, which has convinced me to try to go to graduate school in quantitative biology or biophysics.

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

What makes the ISC science faculty and staff special is that they are excellent educators as well as scientists. There are lots of good lecturers at Princeton, but you can definitely tell that the professors and lab instructors have a special relationship with ISC because of the special nature of the class. Many of the professors have relationships with the course going back many years and have been integral in its formation. This close relationship definitely comes through in all of the class meetings and labs. Additionally, the ISC professors are very willing to discuss any number of topics about their labs and careers in the sciences outside of class and were instrumental in me deciding to pursue graduate school in the future.

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

I think that typically it is difficult to make friends in Princeton classes, as you may never see any of your classmates outside of lectures. It took me four shared Latin classes and two shared physics classes for me to get to know one of my friends! However, the opposite is true in ISC. The group of students you’ll take ISC with will be in class and labs together all throughout the week, and you’ll constantly be consulting each other while working on problem sets. You’ll form friend groups that stay together the rest of your time at Princeton.