Small School Feel, Large School Opportunities with Nathan

Segment #5 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Say hello to Nathan, a PhD student in biochemistry and biophysics. Nathan is harnessing every opportunity he can at RPI. He’s conducting important research, accessing state-of-the-art equipment, innovating and collaborating. On top of all this, he’s growing personally, giving back, and pursuing his creative interests. The sky’s the limit, Nathan. Please take it away.

– Thanks Alex. I always knew I was passionate about science since I grew up reading books about herbal medicine and anatomy for fun. Although growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I always thought that would result in me becoming a high school science teacher. Although after getting my bachelor’s in biology, I started looking into medical school and that’s when I found my love for research. And my professors and I started to look into graduate schools and they helped me find RPI. RPI has all the things I loved about going to a small school, but also the advanced technology I expected at a much larger institution. After losing my grandmother to Alzheimer’s and hearing about all the research being done here on the disease, I knew it was perfect for me. The PhD program offered a fully funded education via research or teaching assistantships with a competitive stipend. This lets me focus on my research but also get involved with campus and local life without having to get a second job. I have had the opportunity to not only do high level research with advanced equipment, but also broaden my horizons. This year, a friend and I started a company with the hope of helping people with Alzheimer’s disease to better communicate with their physicians. I also got involved in a large poetry community and LGBTQ plus community in the region. The environment here gave me the courage to publish my first poetry anthology, “Cotton Candy Sun”, but also to take risks in many other aspects of my life. RPI encourages students to get involved both on campus and off campus. The opportunities through RPI have taken me to conferences and symposiums, where I have met people from all aspects of research. Whether working in another lab or pursuing my love for education, I know that I will be going in with the advantages that I was given by choosing to get my PhD at RPI. Back to you, Alex.

– I love hearing that RPI helps students develop professionally and personally. Researching the disease that affected your grandmother and potentially contributing to new treatments must be so gratifying. It’s fantastic. Students have access to clubs, support and research centers on campus in Troy and New York City. Well done, Nathan. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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