Major(s) and Minor: Cognitive Science & Psychology, minor: Philosophy
Why did you choose Cog Sci as your major?
Cognitive science, especially the department at Rutgers, offered an immersive and complex take on human cognition and extended it to models of machine learning, AI, and language development. I had been pursuing Philosophy and Psychology, but found that Cognitive Science really hit the sweet spot of human behavior and cognition that interested me most.
What did you like most about it?
The faculty and graduate students are amazing, and very approachable for advice or to ask questions about the mind. I really enjoyed that there were invited colloquia and brown bag style talks being held almost daily across the entire center and all departments.
What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I'm a 4th year PhD student in the Developmental Science program at Boston University. I love that I get to do research daily on topics related to child cognitive and social development while also mentoring undergraduates in lab and in classes.
What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?
I worked for 2 years as the lab manager of the Child Study Center at Rutgers-Newark. I heard about the job through a popular child cognitive development listserv and applied.
How did you move from that first job to your current position?
Being a lab manager or research assistant after undergrad is a stepping stone position. It is usually a test to see if pursuing graduate school and a long-term PhD program is the right professional and lifestyle choice for a candidate. After 2 years as lab manager, I decided I did want to attend grad school and applied to various programs.
Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?
Absolutely, hands down the lab experience. Getting to work on real research and interacting with professors, post-docs, and graduate students was taking all the reading we did in class and applying it to the scientific method in action. I was fortunate and was able to work in 3 different research labs as an undergraduate, and that experience not only helped me learn science but it also shaped my own research interests.