PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

Why Penn's Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG)?

“I chose NGG for many reasons, but the three big ones were the top-notch scientific training available at Penn, the supportive environment, and the chance to be involved in community outreach. Not only are there literally hundreds of labs in every possible area of neuroscience to choose from as a grad student here, but also every student gets to benefit from this diversity: in Core classes literally every single lecture is given by an expert in the field, and Penn draws a massive variety of visiting speakers and seminars. That really appealed to me as someone interested in having a broad understanding of my field. Second, I feel like everyone associated with the program, from PIs to administrators to my fellow grad students, is motivated to support students. This has been especially remarkable now, as a second-year preparing for my candidacy exam. Our program put together a 10-week course to help us all prepare; it’s the opposite of sink-or-swim. Third, I have the time and opportunity to regularly volunteer in science outreach outside of lab, and it’s been an incredibly fulfilling part of my time here. I think that engagement with the public is a major scientific responsibility, and at Penn not only do they agree with that statement, they actually walk the walk.” – Hannah Shoenhard, 2nd year

“One of the reasons I really love Penn is that they like having larger classes and getting people from really diverse backgrounds. They want computational, molecular, e. phys, and behavior people all to be represented in each cohort – the idea being that you have all areas represented for class discussions and a sort of built network of people when you graduate. There’s always someone I can go to when I have questions outside my field. Also, GLIA is a huge deal and one of my favorite things about NGG. We were recognized by SfN as the graduate group of the year in large part because of GLIA. Community outreach is a huge emphasis, and that was really appealing to me. NGG as a group is rather self-selecting in that we work really hard, but we very much believe in having lives outside of grad school. Neuroscience is a surprisingly cutthroat field, but Penn and NGG try to minimize that as much as possible. Plus the coordinators are wonderful, really. They view their job purely as a support system to help us in any way they can – there’s no attempt to trip up or fail anyone. – Julia Kahn, 4th year

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