Hometown: Originally from Kiev, Ukraine
Undergraduate School: University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2002
Degree/Field of Study: Undergrad – Bachelor of Science, Major – Microbiology, Minor – CIS (computer sciences)
"Towards the end of my undergraduate studies, I realized that a bachelor's degree in microbiology offered limited possibilities. Since my undergraduate studies also included many computer science classes, I thought that I might want to go into the field of Bioinformatics. However, I was not sure that with my background it was the best choice. I decided to apply to PIBS instead of directly to the Bioinformatics program because I did not want to be tied to one particular department with strict requirements from the beginning.
"The PIBS year helped me decide 'what I want to be when I grow up.' Through my rotations in the first year, I had the time I needed to find out more about the different programs to narrow down my choices. As an incoming student I had some ideas as to what kind of research I wanted to do, but it changed in the end. Talking to different professors and hearing feedback from other PIBS students helped me shape my choices.
"One thing I would definitely strongly recommend to all PIBS students is to do as many rotations as you can. Because many departments have different requirements it was great to have a whole year to find out all of the details, not just from formal websites and pamphlets, but also from other students. Even if you think that your very first rotation is the perfect match, do another one (or even two) with an open mind. It helps to establish new connections from early on and open possibilities for future collaborations. My year with PIBS gave me a perfect opportunity to decide for myself that Bioinformatics program was indeed the best fit for me."