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Day in the Life of a Neuroscience Graduate Student (and New Dad)

Hello my name is Chris Valdez. I am a 4th year Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate here at the University of Michigan. My hometown is San Antonio, Texas and I am very happy to have moved up here to be part of this excellent university. At first the move was difficult for my wife and I but as you read my blog, you will see we made a happy little family here in Ann Arbor. First-things-first, the research! Currently my thesis work focuses on adult neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Essentially, I am interested how newborn cells are regulated in the adult brain. This is an interesting field of neuroscience because the role of these newborn cells in the adult brain has not fully been characterized.

10 Tips for Incoming Graduate Students

The undergraduate student I mentored for the last 1.5 years just graduated this past spring and is going on to begin graduate school this fall. He asked me what are some tips for things he should know before entering graduate school…probably not realizing exactly how loaded of a question that was. I got the same question from the undergraduate student I’ve been mentoring this summer, so I thought I’d list a few of the things that came to mind. A lot of it I think is based on the science-related graduate school experience, and it may be different in other fields of study.

The Graduate Student Summer: Fostering a Balanced Summer Self

For those of us who grew up in the American public school system, it is hard to forget those blissful days when the ring of the final bell on the final day of school meant three months of blissful summer freedom. Yes, many of us still had “work” to do over the summer: summer jobs, perhaps, or summer school and studying to help us “get ahead” or “catch up” in one way or another. But despite those responsibilities, the summers of my childhood were always a chance to take a deep breath and recuperate from the fast pace of the fall, winter, and spring months. A chance to get lost in the woods behind my house, swim in a muddy river, and spend evenings at the local drive-in (yes, we had one of those).

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