final decision

Today I decided to accept the Princeton offer. This is an incredible opportunity, to say the least of it. I’m so privileged to work with creative and inspiring faculty members in the psychology and neuroscience departments, and I’m already thinking of ideas for prospective research projects. Dominick and I are very excited to begin this new chapter in our lives, and I’m confident that Princeton will be great for both of us.

The interview process itself was a wonderful learning experience for me, and I’m glad that I had the chance to talk to so many outstanding faculty at UCSD, UMD, and Rochester as well. Having a critical dialogue with other researchers is what helps me to grow as a student, so I really enjoyed answering the “tough” questions. As I said in a prior post, I’m still thinking about some of those questions now! And as I’ve gone through the interviews, I’ve realized that that’s okay. I have 5 years (and my whole career, really!) to think about those questions.

Most importantly, today I’m thinking about my family, friends, and mentors who always support and encourage me. I don’t know where I’d be without them. (After all, it wasn’t too long ago that I was a truck stop waitress!) I’m most fortunate to have such unparalleled colleagues in my field and cheerleaders of all sorts who keep me going day-to-day. I hope to make them proud.

UMD and Rochester visits

Yesterday I got home from visiting the University of Maryland Hearing and Speech Science program and the Rochester Brain and Cognitive Science program. Here are some photos from my adventures!

Taking off from Boston en route to DC, with a view of Cape Cod on the way:

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Interviews are surprisingly good for you! My phone gives a coarse estimate of how many miles I walk per day. You can clearly see when I’ve been at interviews – exploring the campus and meeting faculty in different departments.

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a direct flight from DC to Rochester (Never fly US Airways if you can avoid it!) so I flew from DC to Boston to Rochester instead, spending most of my day in transit. On the bright side,  I got to see a lovely view while taking off from Boston at sunset:

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Of course, I enjoyed touring the developmental labs at both programs. I was so excited to see this little guy – It looks like a zebra! – in Dr. Chigusa Kurumada’s lab:

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It was finally time to go home after nearly a week of travel, but alas, the weather had other plans! So I stayed in Rochester for one more night, and arrived home yesterday morning.

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I had a wonderful time at both these schools, and really enjoyed talking to faculty who challenged me with tough questions. Do you have to have lots of bottom-up input to become efficient at integrating top-down cues? How are our prior expectations set, and how do we update those expectations in real time? When/why do behavioral results conflict with measures of online processing (i.e., Why use eye-tracking paradigms)? I’ll be thinking about these questions for some time to come!

three admissions offers

I now have three admissions offers! There are some tough decisions ahead…

Here’s where I stand with each school:

  • UMD – offered admission, visiting 2/25-2/26
  • Princeton – offered admission
  • UCSD – offered admission
  • Rochester – interviewing 2/27-2/28
  • UIUC – declined
  • Harvard – waiting
  • Stanford – waiting
  • UPenn – waiting

Having this many offers frankly never really occurred to me – I mean, WOW! – and I wasn’t sure how to proceed from here, so I asked my mentors for some advice. Taking their wisdom into account, I think I should review the official offer for each school before making any serious decisions. As soon as I can review the details, I’ll politely decline 1-2 schools and move forward with the interview process.

two admissions offers

Yesterday I got a phone call from my prospective advisor at Princeton: I’m being offered admission! Nothing is official until the graduate school makes the complete offer with all the nitty gritty details, but I’m absolutely thrilled!

three interviews, one admissions offer

Today I got an admissions offer from the University of Maryland! The administrative email was pretty frank (i.e., We are offering you admission. Please accept or decline.) so I wrote to request additional information, and we’ll see what happens.

So, here’s where I stand with each school now:

  • UMD – offered admission!
  • Princeton – interviewed
  • UCSD – interviewed
  • Rochester – interviewing 2/27-2/28
  • UIUC – declined
  • Harvard – waiting
  • Stanford – waiting
  • UPenn – waiting

Now that I have an actual admissions offer, I feel much better about everything. I’m not the type of person to count my chickens before they hatch, so even having interviews wasn’t enough. But now I have a real life offer, and it feels great!

two interviews done

Visiting UCSD was wonderful! The faculty were engaging, the campus tour was gorgeous, and I even got to see some familiar faces too. My friend Melissa is a current student, my friend Margarita was interviewing, and we stayed with my former labmate, Eva, who is now a post-doc in the Linguistics department. Though I didn’t see the beach (sigh!) the overall atmosphere was lovely.

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one interview done

Princeton went incredibly well, and I had a great time talking with the faculty. It felt a lot less like a scrutinizing interview and more like a casual chat about mutual interests. I especially enjoyed the language group lab meeting, wherein each faculty member in the area gave a brief presentation of their current work and future directions. What a wild ride!