Class of 1998
Baylor University in Waco, TX
Vice Provost for Research (Chief Research Officer)
If a Ph.D. is on your bucket list, embrace it! Make the most of your time in graduate school. Avoid the tendency to just do the minimum. Learn what you don’t know, and take steps to truly master the literature in your area(s) of interest. And last, but certainly not least, don’t overlook the importance of being an excellent communicator (written and oral).
During my time at CSU, I received multidisciplinary training (i.e., ANAL/INORG) and built a strong network of colleagues (i.e., students, professors, and national lab contacts) that have all served me well at various points in my career. Although my professional network has expanded over time, I’m consistently surprised at how often the contacts I developed at CSU continue to be instrumental in doing the work that I do today.
When I came for my student visit, I was very impressed with the professors and their research. The variety of topics I could potentially study was very attractive. And I won’t lie, the laid back, biking-and-brewery vibe of Fort Collins with mountain life just up the road was a serious draw for me as well. It seemed I could be a graduate student and also have some fun (this was definitely true).
I found that in job interviews, I have been able to convey the fact that at CSU, I learned how to learn anything, and that skill set has been key.
Class of 2014
Class of 2002
National Institute of Standards and Technology
NIST Research Chemist and NMR Facility Manager in the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division
Location is one factor that I think is undervalued when people are choosing a PhD program. Obviously, it’s beneficial to live in an area that provides an enjoyable lifestyle. Beyond that, there are many advantages to choosing an area of the country with a vibrant science and technology sector, like what you find alone the Front Range. Fort Collins is the greatest place I’ve ever lived.
I received great training at CSU. I owe a lot of that to Rick Finke. Among other things, he insisted that his students publish several journal articles before defending. That felt hard at the time, but it opened doors for me. My publication record was one of the primary reasons that I got a postdoctoral fellowship at NIST, which is how I began my career here.
When you choose a graduate school, everyone tells you to pick two out of three: the location, the people, and the research. CSU has all three. Fort Collins is amazing, the faculty treat students like humans and actually care about their success, and the research is cutting edge. It was a no brainer to come here.
CSU excels in Tech Transfer. I thoroughly enjoy fundamental research, but knowing our discoveries will be applied and actually used in the world makes it all worthwhile. CSU fostered my entrepreneurial spirit and shaped my research path to make sure my work will be useful beyond a laboratory setting.
Graduate school is for the curious, the independent, and the diligent. If you have all three, the education follows. If you would rather create something new than imitate someone else, you should consider graduate school.
Class of 2016
Class of 2010
University of South Carolina
Peter and Bonnie McCausland Associate Professor
My only advice for students who are going to pursue their careers in science is to not be afraid of trying. I encourage my students to do things in research , which they are passion about, even if no one believes it is possible. I encourage them to think of it as an adventure and once they climb to the top of the mountain, they will see that their efforts were all worth it.
I was privileged to be taught by the world-known experts in crystallography, material characterization, organometallic chemistry, spectroscopy, etc. I even saved all notes from my classes, and I use them now during my independent career.
I choose CSU because of the Strauss group and fantastic research opportunities. It was the only school in the U.S. to which I applied, and I have never regretted my decision.
Colorado State University
I was drawn to the mountains, the faculty, and the other students. When I first arrived on campus during the graduate recruiting weekend, it was immediately clear to me that I could do state-of-the-art research in a fun learning environment, a vibrant city, and a beautiful area. The faculty were so approachable, and the other students became instant friends. CSU was everything I wanted.
I decided I wanted to pursue a career in academia in my second year of grad school. The path ahead was clear: I needed to find an outstanding postdoc position. My research accomplishments at CSU propelled me to that position. My PhD advisor and the Dept. put me in the position to “win”. I was able to secure my dream postdoc position at Cornell University, which ultimately propelled me to my faculty position.
Class of 2011