Keisuke Ishihara '10
Chemical Engineering Major
Certificates in Quantitative and Computational Biology, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Engineering Biology
I actually entered the program in my sophomore year. I had heard about the class from several friends who loved the first-year sequence. I had always wanted to learn biology, but I was more comfortable with the physical sciences. I thought that Integrated Science was the perfect option for me.
Jumping into Integrated Science in my sophomore year was one of the best academic decisions I made at Princeton. The first several weeks were certainly not easy for me, but the course definitely opened up a new field, molecular biology, in the quantitative language that I was familiar with. The fact that I worked with brilliant friends majoring in various fields facilitated this, too.
Integrated Science has made me realize that many current issues in biology are sometimes most effectively addressed with quantitative methods and models. I will graduate with a degree in chemical engineering, but I plan to do my graduate study in the biological sciences. I see biology as one exciting application field of my engineering education.
It was an amazing experience learning directly from scientists who are at the forefront of their fields. They have had a huge influence on my research interests and my goals after Princeton. I really feel close to them, and they certainly are my role models as educator-researchers.
In a way, it was a 10-week senior thesis crash course that taught us the essentials for being an independent researcher. Though we spent a lot of time in the lab, the tremendous faculty support and laboratory resources, as well as the class camaraderie, made the semester both enjoying and rewarding. The project lab experience is definitely a highlight of my undergraduate years.
I wouldn’t have been able to go through Integrated Science without my friends in the class. From solving weekly problem sets to preparing a poster and a 30-minute presentation on C. elegans under time pressure, whatever I did, I received great help and inspiration from my peers. I now realize that Integrated Science has left me a network of friends in all areas of the sciences. No wonder that some of my best friends at Princeton are Integrated Science students.