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PhD Trekkers

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Join us, Mari, a Latina soil scientist from Massachusetts, and Yan, an Asian chemist from California, on our graduate trek towards a Ph.D. and beyond. A podcast on the interface of science, socio-political discourse, activism, and intimate life journeys. #CornellAlumni #PhDLife #NSFGRFP #WeAreMcNair

Join us, Mari, a Latina soil scientist from Massachusetts, and Yan, an Asian chemist from California, on our graduate trek towards a Ph.D. and beyond. A podcast on the interface of science, socio-political discourse, activism, and intimate life journeys. #CornellAlumni #PhDLife #NSFGRFP #WeAreMcNair


United States


Join us, Mari, a Latina soil scientist from Massachusetts, and Yan, an Asian chemist from California, on our graduate trek towards a Ph.D. and beyond. A podcast on the interface of science, socio-political discourse, activism, and intimate life journeys. #CornellAlumni #PhDLife #NSFGRFP #WeAreMcNair








EP30: BRiDGE: Changing the Face of Departmental Seminars

Have you heard of BRiDGE? Tune in to today's podcast to learn how some trailblazing graduate students are taking matters into their own hands, by taking out the stodginess in traditional department seminars and turning them into a tool that works to change department culture and increase the visibility of traditionally underrepresented scientists in STEM. Historically, scientists invited to give seminars have been cis-gendered older white males. This is due to the cultural norm, that...


EP29: Yan Finds a Postdoc Position!

Yan shares his story on finding a postdoc position after many applications and several interviews. Listen in for advice on the dos and donts in postdoc applications and interviews. Yan also tells his once-in-a-lifetime story hanging out with the 2018 Chemistry Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold.


EP28: Mari Gets Surgery

Mari and Yan are back! After over having half a year to recuperate from a surgery Mari updates Yan on what its been like being back at home during this time. Mari talks about getting her surgery and how she is struggling staying connected with her lab work while taking this much needed time away and break from the traditional grad school timeline.


EP27: When I Grow Up...An Unexpected Journey Into Science, Academia, and Single Parenting

Join us as we talk with Dr. Samantha Ying, an Assistant Professor from UC Riverside on her journey through undergrad and take an intimate look at the world of academia and the barriers it poses on members of our society from becoming part of & contributing to our scientific community – specifically, single mothers. Dr. Ying was a Fall 2018 BRIDGE Scholar at UMass Amherst, we would like to acknowledge the funding from BRIDGE that made this podcast interview possible. Dr. Samantha Ying's...


EP26: Yan's First Conference

We are back! Join us as we chat about Yan's experience at his first conference!


EP25: A Ph.D. in Action: Fighting Hurricane Maria w/ Dra. Rosimar Rios-Berrios

This interview was made possible by BRIDGE, a new initiative at UMass focused on increasing the presence of early career underrepresented scientists and providing them with the opportunity to give department seminar talks. To learn more: Join us as we talk with Doctora Rosimar Rios-Berrios originally from the mountains of Puerto Rico (Barranquitas), as she shares with us what she works on at NCAR. Motivated and intrigued by the hurricane weather that affected...


EP24: Presidential Award for STEM Mentoring with Prof. Sandra Petersen

Listen to our interview with Prof. Sandra Petersen who received the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Sandy talks about her research in veterinary science as well as her mentoring work as the director of the Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NEAGEP), a 15-institution alliance focused on increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups who earn Ph.D. degrees in science, technology,...


EP23: Long Distance Relationships In Graduate School

Join our stories on navigating through the various challenges of being in long distance relationships in grad school. To all grad students, are you currently in a ldr? How does being in a ldr contribute to your experience in school, research, and life? What are your advice for making a ldr work?


EP22: Ph.D.'ing After Serving in Iraq

Today we are talking with Rachelle from Western Mass, a Marine Veteran, Soil Scientist, University of Massachusetts Alum, and soon to be Cornell Graduate Student. Join us as she talks to us about her experience training & serving in the Marines in Iraq after high school and then returning to the US for a Bachelors and Masters. Rachelle takes us into her world as a #firstgen #female #veteran going back to school to get her Ph.D. and the challenges in her journey.


EP21: Semi-Synthetic Life with Professor Floyd Romesberg

Listen to @PhDTrekkers where Yan interviews Professor Floyd Romesberg in the Chemistry Department at the Scripps Research Institute. Floyd talked about his fascinating multidisciplinary research in chemical biology and the unique challenges associated with it. Specifically, Floyd talks about his journey from a high school student with a 1.8 GPA to pursuing graduate degrees in science, from zero knowledge & experience in chemical biology starting his postdoc career to multiple biotech startup...


EP20: Fresh Off The Boat - Our Parents' Stories Coming to America

What are the stories behind some of modern day American's Immigration experiences? As first generation children, we all at some point may have felt uncomfortable sharing our parent's stories because of the stigma and dirty names society gives us. But our parents fought valiantly to give us a chance in a world that had predestined us to have none. We come from those who are forgotten and stereotyped by this great nation, here we share the story of the ones that fought through muddy waters so...


EP19: 2017 Year in Review

Be sure to tune in as we reflect on the old year and get ready to take in the new! Join us as we talk about our most proud accomplishments and biggest challenges in 2017, our thoughts on the various political movements this year (e.g. current political climate, political divisiveness & polarization, #MeToo, #MovingForwardTogether), and what we are excited and looking forward to do in 2018!


EP18: Stonehenge, Bath, Theater

Gambling, Politics, and Fashion? Join us on the last leg of our adventure through London as we visit the famous Stonehenge, explore natural hot waters in the town of Bath, and are left in awe by the immense culture and love for theater in the area. #Travel #Theater #London #Opera #Bath #Stonehenge


EP17: #SafeAtWork with GWIS

Sexual violence is an enduring problem in academia, and graduate student women are especially susceptible to this abuse. The Graduate Women In STEM (GWIS)at UMass have been fighting to change this atmosphere in academia, even before social media was taken up by the #metoo. They worked to put together a #SafeAtWork campaign as a call to arms encouraging graduate women to center their basic right which they deserve and which Title IX protects: the right to be safe at work. Join us as we chat...


EP16: Lost in London

Join us as we continue our travels through London experiencing all the sights, smells, and tastes this place has to offer! Listen to how we lost each other in Westminster Abbey and how Yan make a big fuss over it! Tons of fun in London and more adventures to come!


EP15: Raising a Family & Getting Tenure with Prof. Ryan Shenvi

Want to know what it's like to raise a family while trying to get tenure? Tune in this episode of PhD Trekkers where Yan interviews Prof. Ryan Shenvi in the Chemistry Department at the Scripps Research Institute. Ryan talks about his life and career while raising four children with his wife who's equally busy being a doctor in the midst of her residency. Ryan also discusses his career trajectory and how he discovered the unique similarities between science, chemistry, art, architecture, and...


EP14: A Trek in London - Part 1: Leake Street Tunnel

Join the PhD Trekker's first literal trek in London! Tune in for general travel and planning tips, airline customer service ratings, the London Pass, our first impressions of London and its rich culture, and the secret hidden gems in London! Specifically, listen to Yan's 30sec Trump conversation with the British custom/border officer on Trump's travel bans, the importance of taking a break during your graduate career, our interactions with graffitti artists in the Leake Street tunnel, and...


EP13: Student or Employee? Supervisor or Mentor? - Interview with UMass Graduate Student Union

Are graduate students employees or students? Are PIs supervisors or mentors? Join the PhD Trekkers' discussion on this delicate issue central to our career development. Topics include the graduate student-PI relationships & power dynamics; the grey area where graduate school functions both like a startup company & like a traditional higher education program, and the various underlying graduate student health issues behind this establishment. We also discuss potential solutions from both the...


EP12: From Cellos to Soils - Interview with Care Anderson

Tune in to listen to Mari's interview with Care @CareAboutSoils, a graduate student on their nonlinear path towards a #PhD in #science from Cellos to Soils. Getting a Ph.D. is never really a straight path as everyone makes it seem. Learn tips on how to navigate the #academic world, finding opportunities and your way through life despite what others may be telling you or think.


EP11: Quarter Life Crisis

Have you experienced the quarter life crisis? And how did you pull through that? Tune in for Mari and Yan's heart touching stories on their quarter life crisis experiences. Topics include life goal/dream, career trajectory, communicating with parents and the generation gap, mental illness & depression, self reflection and evaluation, gap year opportunities, and advice for everyone who are going through this phase of their life. We even put in a Billy Joel song!