Sanjeevani Arora, PhD
Originally published in Forward, Fall/Winter 2017
In India, I grew up surrounded by cultural and religious diversity and I learned from an early age the value of different opinions and perspectives. Moving to the U.S. to pursue doctoral studies, I was happy to see how welcoming it is and how the country really embraces and celebrates that diversity.
In science, having diversity and gender equality makes it possible to discover ideas you may not have found otherwise. When we work together we can learn so much from each other.
Before starting the coursework towards a doctoral degree, I didn’t think too much about anything other than the science. I soon learned the importance of the collaborative environment of the lab. In my program, I wasn’t committed to a specific lab and was offered rotations in different labs and projects before deciding on joining a lab for my doctoral thesis. I learned to ask the questions that were important – lab fit, enthusiasm for the project, lab work ethic and so on. I also had the freedom to enroll in inter-disciplinary courses giving me the ability to explore areas I wasn’t able to explore before. It’s empowering to choose.