Physics Major
Certificate in Applications of Computing

Why did you enroll in Integrated Science?

I've always been interested in science, so I always knew I would study science in college. I liked all sciences so ISC seemed to be perfect for me because I wouldn't have to choose one. However, after taking ISC, I think that should not have been the reason why I chose it. ISC is not like doing many science introductory courses in less time. ISC shows you how different disciplines in science are related and how we can use the same tools in all of them; it teaches how to ask questions that challenge the boundaries between disciplines.

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

ISC was a very important part of my life during my freshman year, both academically and socially. Most weeks it was as much work as any two of my other classes combined. But I enjoyed this work more. Problem sets were long and challenging, but beautiful and, when completed, very rewarding. I remember doing ISC as being constantly mind-blown, in lectures and while doing problem sets. ISC was also a rewarding social experience. The whole class worked together on problem sets and all the hours we spent doing this made us really close friends. It was hard, but we made it through together.

There were good and bad times, but overall ISC was probably the best experience I had in my freshman year. I would definitely choose to take ISC again if I could go back in time.

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

ISC gave me an introduction to many areas of science that regular freshman science courses do not give. The intensity and fast pace of the course prevent this introduction from being shallow and the assignments and exams expect students to have good understanding of the concepts introduced in lectures. ISC labs were a great complement to the theoretical concepts learned in lectures. In lab, we learned how important scientific questions had been solved by using experiments and we learned to find our own questions in an independent lab assignment, which helped us understand scientific research.

One of the most useful things I learned from ISC is how to think and solve problems I’ve never seen before. ISC gave us the tools, and we had to learn how to use them. We learned how to not give up when you are getting frustrated and to learn from it instead.

I knew I wanted to do science before taking ISC, and this has not changed since then, but after the course I felt like I knew more about what doing science means and now I am more enthusiastic about it. ISC helped me understand a little better how science works and what kind of questions it tries to answer. It gave me a set of tools that have already proven useful in other courses and my summer research opportunities, and now I feel much more prepared for other challenges I might face in the future.

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

Each professor transmitted enthusiasm and they all added their own perspective from the context of their discipline. I enjoyed lectures and was often amazed by how these different perspectives all fit together in the same general discourse. TAs, tutors and mentors helped students survive assignments. They helped us learn how to find our way to the solution of a problem. They helped us understand concepts and sometimes they gave us additional questions to make us think and go deeper in the understanding.

This team of faculty and staff pushed us to our limits, while at the same time helping us with obstacles that might have stopped our learning. We had to do a lot of hard work, but they guided us through it.

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

It would be a lot harder to go through ISC without the other students. My ISC class was small, so we all worked together on problem sets a few nights every week. We helped each other and learned from each other by making progress together. They were always there to support you. Even if you were struggling with a problem set at 3AM, there would always be someone who was willing to help you. All the time we spent together made us end up becoming really good friends.