Input on Application List

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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:15 am

Input on Application List

Post by zhaligkeer » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:54 am

My B.S. is in physics, and my research interest is in neuroscience--specifically high-level quantitative behavior in model systems (e.g. sensorimotor control of locomotion, navigation, etc.), and the physical/optical systems used for recording large neural populations. I have found a variety of professors whose work really interests me, across various types of departments, but I would appreciate input on whether I am aiming too high, or if there are other schools that I should look into.

School: Small liberal arts school in MN; physics dept. has great teaching and solid optics research, but isn't well-known
Overall GPA: 3.89
Subject GPA: Similar to overall

Degree: B.S. double-major in Physics and Applied Physics
Minors: Mathematics, Spanish, Cross-Cultural Studies

[V] 167
[Q] 162
[W] 5.0
[P] Not taken yet
*Note: I took the general GRE last year, and didn't study much; I could probably get a little higher if I decided to re-take it, but I would rather focus on the PGRE

-Senior thesis: Optimized a frequency comb using nonlinear fiber laser optics (no pubs)
-Second undergrad project: Built a 3-dof prosthetic arm which was controllable via human neural input (no pubs)
-1yr of ~half-time R&D while working as an optical sensor design engineer (proprietary work, no pubs)
-Currently 2 months into a 1yr research fellowship doing medical imaging physics (working on 2 projects that my PI thinks will each result in a 1st-author publication)

Other information
-I spent a semester studying abroad in Ecuador (do grad schools care about this?)
-I took on substantial leadership as an engineer, managing projects and working as an equal with CTO's, etc.

-My senior thesis advisor, who did a post-doc at NIST and has some connections in AMO physics
-My prosthetic arm advisor, who is somewhat well-known in neuroscience
-My current PI, who is somewhat well-known in medical physics
-Possibly my PhD-holding engineering mentor
All of them have been enthusiastic about writing me letters

My current list (may eventually be cut down a bit)
CalTech - Computation & Neural systems
UC Berkeley - Biophysics
Harvard - Biophysics
NYU - Biomedical Engineering
UC San Diego - Neuroscience
U Washington - Neuroscience
U Toronto - Physics (Biological)
Rockefeller U - Bioscience
Tufts - Biomedical Engineering
Northeastern U - Physics (Biological)

I realize that people here have more knowledge of physics than other fields, so if I only get feedback on my physics/biophysics choices that would still be helpful.

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