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Jarlath Byrne Rodgers '10

STUDENT PROFILE

Molecular Biology major
Certificate in Computational and Quantitative Biology
 
Why did you enroll in the Integrated Science course?
When I arrived at Princeton, I hadn’t heard about Integrated Science, and it wasn’t until I had already chosen classes for first semester that I ran into Professor Botstein. He described the program to me, and I was immediately intrigued. I didn't want to have to choose which of the basic sciences to take in my first year -- I was broadly interested in everything, and not yet sure on which I wanted to focus -- and Integrated Science offered me the opportunity to explore all of them. I also was attracted by the emphasis on learning about novel ways to approach problems in science at an absolutely fundamental level.
 
What has it been like?
Exciting and challenging. Integrated Science has been an amazing experience, and has helped to define my time at Princeton. The program offered the kind of hard work that I could get excited about, and taught me how to collaborate with the incredible group of peers I was working alongside. 
 
How has the course benefited you academically, and has it made you think about what to do after you graduate?
The program exposed me to an entire field of study I barely knew existed -- quantitative biology -- that has since become the focus of my course work at Princeton. I’ve learned invaluable lessons about how to approach problems in biology, and I definitely have a much better understanding of how the fields of physics, chemistry and biology interact. Integrated Science has instilled in me a passion for research, which I intend to continue to explore in graduate school. 
 
How do you like working with the various Integrated Science faculty?
The faculty members are what make the Integrated Science program as strong and successful as it is. The time and energy that this group of cutting-edge researchers is willing to devote to the program is a testament to their commitment to science and to teaching. It was very exciting to learn concepts from the scientists who discovered them first, and to hear about what drove them to enter their respective fields in the first place. 
 
What is the project lab experience like that you do as a junior?
Project lab is an experience unlike any other. It is a chance to do truly original research with virtually limitless support. At first, the prospect was daunting, but as our experiments became more focused, my partner and I developed a real sense of ownership and investment in the research, which made the time we spent in lab worth it.
 
What is it like going through the Integrated Science curriculum with a close cohort of student peers?
Some of my closest friends at Princeton are from the freshman Integrated Science class I took three years ago, and going through the program would not have been nearly as much fun or as rewarding without them. Our class became very close, and in this group of intelligent, motivated and generous people, I've made some lifelong friends.