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First BCTR student mixer held on Feb. 5th

February 13, 2013

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Grad student Emily Chen speaking with undergrads Kristin Hildebrandt (HBHS) and Vicki Atzl (HD)

The first BCTR Student Mixer, held on Tuesday, February 5th, drew together graduate and undergraduate students from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and disciplines who work for BCTR research projects or are interested in doing so. The Mixer was originally proposed by the Student Engagement Committee (SEC) as a way for undergraduates to talk candidly with current graduate students about their respective education and career trajectories over snacks in Beebe Hall.

During the Mixer, undergraduates expressed a range of concerns and apprehensions about applying to graduate school or entering the work world post-graduation. Although their individual perspectives and goals were unique, one overarching theme emerged from the various discussions. Most commonly articulated was the perceived pressure to go directly from undergrad into graduate school. Although the Cornell environment ignites a deep-rooted love of learning and knowledge, it also fosters a sense of insecurity for some students who wish to take alternate paths after graduation. Graduate students were able to quell this apprehension by describing their own varied trajectories and the time it took them to figure out a good “fit” for graduate school.

Although the graduate students in attendance were primarily pursuing degrees in Human Development, their backgrounds represented a diverse array of undergraduate majors and previous experiences. Whereas some had obtained an MPH or other master’s degree prior to working towards a doctorate, others had pursued careers in policy or research in a medical setting. Graduate students concurred that giving oneself permission to take time to figure out one’s goals and priorities is of the utmost importance.

Grad student Nicole Ja with undergrad Brian Maley (Ithaca College)

In attendance were 5 Human Development graduate students and 8 undergraduate students from Human Development, Human Biology, Health, and Society, and Psychology, among other departments. At the conclusion of the Mixer, both graduate and undergraduate students expressed enthusiasm for attending similar events in the future.

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