Brandeis University Admissions
A Day in the Life: From Chamber Singing to Cellular Biology Research
By Jack C. ’23
My name is Jack, and I am a senior majoring in biology and minoring in journalism. Follow me for a day in my life at Brandeis!
I wake up and get ready for class. I’ve got two classes today and the first one starts at 9:35. Although this is already a lot better than a 7:45 start time in high school, it is still early for me. But since I am taking classes that I like, waking up early doesn’t feel too bad.
I started my first class after breakfast, BIOL 101A: Molecular Technology with professor Rachel Woodruff. Today, we are talking about the gene editing tool CRISPR and its applications in therapeutics. I decided to take this class because, as a biologist, it is important to learn about all the genetic tools that are available to use in our experiments.
After my biology class, I have choir practice. I have been a part of the university Chamber Singers, one of the two choirs run by the music department, since my first year. I have been singing since high school, and I auditioned to join Chamber Singers on the first day of my freshman year. We rehearse twice a week, and we perform for the Brandeis community at the end of every semester. We also toured France last summer, performing in Paris and Normandy. It’s my weekly escape from schoolwork, where I get to make music with talented peers.
I love cooking. Today, I made fried rice with Chinese sausage, corn, and peas in my off-campus apartment. I love this recipe's simplicity, and it is great for meal prep!
I am an undergraduate researcher in the Rodal Lab at Brandeis. Our lab studies Alzheimer's disease-related cellular processes in fruit flies. You may ask, “how is studying fruit flies gonna tell us anything about human brains?” As it turns out, flies and humans are very similar on a genetic level. And we have very similar nervous systems. So, whatever we find in fruit flies can be related to our brains.
Today I’m maintaining the cells I need in preparation for future experiments. To do this, I am preparing the nutrient media and the antibiotics that are required to keep the cells happy and safe from contamination. I am quite new to this task, so fingers crossed on getting it right!
I am applying to graduate school this year, and I have been working with my co-workers to revise my personal statement. When I first sent my personal statement to the lab, everyone gave me feedback. I am very grateful to have a supportive lab that has my back.
(Spoiler alert!: I will be attending University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School for a PhD in biomedical sciences starting in the fall! I am super excited about starting the next stage of my career.)
I am getting ready for an interview for an article I am working on for JOUR 89A — Contemporary Media: Internship and Analysis with Professor Rachel Raczka. For this class, we will publish a zine, essentially an indie magazine, to be distributed around Waltham. The zine contains a collection of stories about Waltham such as food recommendations and untold stories of the community. For example, I worked on a story about the Little Queer Library in Waltham. I love the fact that our homework assignment is actually getting published.
I am participating in a workshop for students who are interested in doing research in biology at Brandeis. It was run by a student club called InT Brandeis, whose mission is to create a community for all biology students who are interested in research. I am sharing my experience and some helpful resources with the students. I wish them the best of luck.
That is it for the night! I will now get some dinner and watch some TV before heading to bed around midnight. Today was a busy day.