Advice

I've learned a lot while making my way through college, internships, and the first couple of years of a PhD program. I've relied on Reddit posts, advice from friends/peers/mentors, and a bunch of trying-and-hoping-for-the-best to get to where I am now. I figured I would write my experiences down along the way, in hopes that it make someone else's academic journey easier some day.

How to use my advice: At my first internship, right before I applied for PhD programs, I went around asking different full-time employees with PhDs if they would recommend going to a PhD program. Shockingly, most of them said no, it's not useful, and I should avoid it if I can. One panic later, I realized that I was speaking with the wrong audience: these were software engineers, many of whom don't work in research or at least don't aim to publish every year. Some of them were from other countries and pursued a PhD to help with immigration. Our goals and situations were too different for me to directly apply this advice, but I did learn a lot about career planning in general.

In this spirit, I try to avoid making universal declarations because I know what works for me won't work for everyone because we're all different. I also try to be explicit about my thoughts and experiences so you can understand why something works for me, not just what works for me. Then you can extrapolate to fit your own thoughts and experiences. Or just ignore me. 😅

Happy reading!

More About Me

My Much-Abridged (College) Life Story

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

What I learned from four years of wrestling the research monster at Columbia and why I wanted to go to grad school.

Applying to PhD Programs and Fellowships

A Very General Guide to PhD and Fellowship Applications

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

A basic overview of the materials you need to prepare for PhD and fellowship applications.

Applying to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

A brief overview of the NSF GRFP and some tips based on my experience applying to (and winning!) a fellowship in my senior year of college.

All About Letters of Recommendation

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

Who, when, and how to ask for letters of recommendation.

Studying for the GRE

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

A few tips, tricks, and life hacks for surviving yet another standardized test.

Your Application Timeline

Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Modified: May 23, 2022

A suggested timeline for applying to PhD programs and fellowships to help you get organized.

Succeeding as a CS Researcher

Python Coding Best Practices for CS Researchers

Posted: Jul 13, 2022 | Modified: Jul 10, 2022

Stop hard-coding your main method and changing it every time you want to run something!

How to Read a Research Paper

Posted: Jun 14, 2022 | Modified: Jul 10, 2022

Literature review? Just starting out? I have a few tips on how to read a research paper more effectively.

Pre-Conference Checklist for Newcomers

Posted: Jun 12, 2022 | Modified: Jun 14, 2022

A few tips on what to do before your first conference (and a list of must-have items to pack!).

DivE In 2021

DivE In Weekend is the University of Pennsylvania’s diversity welcome weekend for the mind sciences. I was very excited to be head of the Programming Development Committee for our very first DivE In on October 8-10, 2021. Check out our website, event recordings and resources, and Twitter! Recordings and slides from my workshops are below.

Strategizing Your Recommendation Letters

Posted: Oct 09, 2021 | Modified: May 24, 2022

Did you know that you can help your letter writers write your letters? Presented at DivE In 2021.

Overview of the Application Process

Posted: Oct 09, 2021 | Modified: May 24, 2022

An overview of the different parts of the PhD application, including what fellowships are and why you should apply for them. Presented at DivE In 2021.