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Isle Bastille, Class of 2014

Ph.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts

When did you graduate from Cornell?

"I graduated in 2014."

What led you down this career path?

"I used to want to be a veterinarian, but then sophomore year I "tried out" research after doing lab tours with BSP (Bio Scholars Program) and fell in love with it. I took time off after college just to make sure it was a job I would still love full time, daily (also to take a breather, Cornell really kicked my butt). Indeed it was, so I applied to graduate school while I was working as a lab technician at Columbia University Medical Center. I also received great advice and suggestions from some of my PIs and mentors that helped me make the right decision."

Can you talk a little bit about what a typical day in your workplace entails?

"It's different everyday, but overall, I come into lab around 10:30 am. At the beginning of the week, I plan out experiments I have to do for my project. So I just come in and do the experiments I have for that day. That sometimes involves processing brain tissue for histology, doing electron microscopy **COOLEST thing in the world, in my opinion**, taking fluorescent images with a fancy microscope, or analyzing my images on my computer. Sometimes I'm writing grants or papers. Its really a self directed job - my curiosity drives what I do next."

What advice do you have for current Cornellians?

"Find what you love, no matter how esoteric it seems and run with it. Even though it might not seem like a "marketable skill", or like the beginning of a career path, you would be extremely surprised about where your passions will take you. And at the end of the day, your hobbies and interests are what enriches your life, don't let anyone every make you feel bad for taking time to do them. I still power lift competitively, do yoga, play soccer, do performance poetry and volunteer when I'm not in lab."