Chemistry and CSTEP
I chose Barnard because I knew I could receive a rigorous science education and liberal arts education here. It was important to me to have a well-rounded education but still have access to many science opportunities. What I also loved about Barnard was the small size of the school, which meant small classes. These small classes have helped me build strong relationships with both students and professors.
During my time here at Barnard, I have been fortunate enough to participate in research programs both on and off campus. During my summer after sophomore year, I participated in the Amgen Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This was a great opportunity for both research and networking with students and scientists of many different fields. It helped me realized that I want to pursue a career working in industry as a scientist.
After I decided that I was going to be a chemistry major, a few friends and faculty told me about CSTEP. I was attracted to the program because a few seniors that I knew told me about all the support they received from the program for their post-graduation plans. As someone who did not know much about graduate school in the sciences, I decided to apply at the beginning of my junior year.
Being in the CSTEP program has given me a supportive community at Barnard. As a black student in STEM it is comforting to be around other underrepresented identities in STEM knowing that we may face similar obstacles. CSTEP holds frequent information sessions about job searches, after college plans, and navigating college life in general. Even when I am not talking to a counselor one-on-one, they constantly send emails about all types of opportunities including summer internships and grants for unpaid internships.
During the summer after junior year, I worked in a physical chemistry lab with Professor Crowther through Barnard’s Summer Research Institution (SRI). The Crowther lab studies electron transfer between graphene and iodine in solutions. This was a great experience because not only was I able to start my senior thesis, I also built a close relationship with my mentor and other members of the Chemistry department. During SRI, I became a more independent researcher and improved my science presentation skills. This research experience further helped me visualize what my life would be like as a graduate student in STEM since I was working in a lab from 9AM until 5PM. But even with that said, I still needed help weighing out my options and deciding on how to go about after graduation plans.
CSTEP reaches out to all of its senior scholars to meet and talk about the upcoming year and post graduation plans. During this meeting I was reminded that CSTEP assists its scholars with the expenses of graduate school applications, graduate school visits, and GRE/MCAT prep courses. This meeting is a great way to start senior year because it’s a great reminder of all the support that CSTEP provides especially during a time where many seniors (including myself) can feel overwhelmed with what to do next. After this meeting, I’ve stayed in touch with counselors about my next steps and even though I am still deciding on post-graduation plans, I am confident that CSTEP with help me through the process.
If you have any questions, please let me know!