Thursday, March 31, 2011


I got quite the surprise on Tuesday evening. I was just checking my email for the millionth time, not expecting to have anything remotely important in my inbox, when I saw a message from the chair of Iowa State's Micro program. That would be the PhD program I just got accepted to. The title of the email didn't set off any bells in my head, so I opened it. That's when I got the surprise!!!! (Exclamation points added to make it look surprising.) Apparently the faculty in the Micro program nominated me for an AGEP fellowship! AGEP stands for the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and they reach underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. I had heard of them before because there were some people on an AGEP internship in 2006 when I did my Carver internship, but I didn't know they had a graduate fellowship or that I would even qualify. See, my family decided to go hide in the mountains during Indian Removal, and somehow they managed to pretend to be white for more than a century (Don't ask me how; I have photos of these people and they are not remotely white.) So I have no tribal registration and no official blood quantum, and the Eastern Band has been less than helpful in my family's quest to get us enrolled. Anyway, I don't look super Native either, so sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle to prove that I'm a minority, and thus I don't even think about minority scholarships as possibilities.
But I digress! Anyhow, the faculty in the IM (interdepartmental microbiology) program think that I'm awesome enough to have this AGEP fellowship. That means that I get paid $25,ooo a year instead of $20,000, guaranteed for five years. It also means that the professor I choose as my PI will have less to have to pay out because I have some external funds of my own, so I may have a little more leeway in terms of who I can work with. I am really happy because now it's likely that I won't have to take out any loans for graduate school!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I got in!

So I was going to write this long post about my interview at Iowa State, and then I put it off for a week, and last Thursday I got an email saying that I was accepted to the Interdepartmental Microbiology PhD program! So it seems a little silly to write a huge post about my interview. Instead I'm writing a short post that says yay!! I got in! So obviously I'm going. I start in August. Now I have to find an apartment and get that part squared away.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pending Change in my Future

Next Tuesday, I'm driving from Detroit to Ames, IA. I like Ames. Ames is a sweet place. I did my undergrad degree at Iowa State. For some reason, when I graduated, I never thought I would go back, even though I love the place. So I'm a little bemused because next Tuesday, I'm going to Ames to interview with the microbiology graduate program. I applied in the winter for the PhD program there. Initially I thought about applying to some other schools, but the more I looked, the more I realized that I didn't want to go anywhere except back to Iowa State. So I said 'to hell with it' and have staked all of my chances at even higher education on ISU. Since I've made to the interview stage, I've already passed the first cut of applicants. At this point I'm not even sure there is a second cut to be made, or if it's pretty much a given. (For the record, interviews did make a difference at Wake Forest, but if you were interviewed you were in at UMass, so I've experienced it both ways.)
Obviously, I am nervous as hell. I have an anxiety disorder to begin with, so I already fight with myself not to indulge in giant anxiety spirals of destruction. This is hard not to freak out about. Not only to I have to run the interview gauntlet, but I'm driving out there and back alone, which makes me worry about everything from the car breaking down to getting lost and ending up in Kentucky instead. Then of course once I get there, I have to run the interview gauntlet without sounding like an idiot, and there's always the question of whether I will be interrogated about the Great Georgetown Debacle of 2008-09. So yeah. I'm nervous.