Crash Course: Letters of Recommendation

No matter what kind of application process you’re working through, you’ll likely need some letters of recommendation. There are a lot of common misconceptions about how to go about securing these letters that I will explain here; I hope this post will help clear some of them up!

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Post Princeton Life: Interview with Isabelle Laurenzi ’15

For this year’s Spring Seasonal Series, entitled Post-Princeton Life: The Experiences of PCUR Alumni, each correspondent has selected a PCUR alum to interview about what they have been up to. We hope that these interviews will provide helpful insight into the many different paths Princeton students take after graduation. Here, Raya shares her interview.

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Teaching, travel, Congress, the Writing Center, political theory, Yale! Former PCUR chief correspondent Isabelle Laurenzi graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a degree in Religion. She has since gone on to pursue an array of adventures and projects. Most recently, Isabelle completed her first year of a Ph.D. program at Yale in political theory. For our seasonal spring series, I caught up with Isabelle to learn more about her time at Princeton and explorations after. In our conversation, Isabelle and I connected over our shared interest in interdisciplinary studies and the joy of pursuing one’s interests through varied avenues.

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Post-Princeton Life: Interview with Jalisha Braxton ’16

For this year’s Spring Seasonal Series, entitled Post-Princeton Life: The Experiences of PCUR Alumni, each correspondent has selected a PCUR alum to interview about what they have been up to. We hope that these interviews will provide helpful insight into the many different paths Princeton students take after graduation. Here, Alec shares his interview.

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Jalisha Braxton ‘16 was a member of PCUR during her junior and senior years at Princeton. She concentrated in Psychology, with a certificate in Neuroscience. She is now a third-year PhD student in psychology at the University of Chicago, where she studies cognitive psychology with Professors Sian Beilock and Susan Levine. Her research focuses on math anxiety and math education. I spoke to Jalisha over the phone to discuss her work as a grad student, and how her experience as an undergraduate student at Princeton informed her post-grad plans. I found a lot of what she said to be quite helpful, as I personally am considering pursuing a PhD after graduation.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jalisha Braxton ’16 is a third-year psychology PhD student at the University of Chicago.

Continue reading Post-Princeton Life: Interview with Jalisha Braxton ’16

Post-Princeton Life: Interview with Melissa Parnagian ’17

For this year’s Spring Seasonal Series, entitled Post-Princeton Life: The Experiences of PCUR Alumni, each correspondent has selected a PCUR alum to interview about what they have been up to. We hope that these interviews will provide helpful insight into the many different paths Princeton students take after graduation. Here, Rafi shares his interview.

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I met Melissa, the former PCUR Chief Correspondent, in my first precept at Princeton—Professor Duneier’s SOC 101 – “Introduction to Sociology” in the fall of 2016. It was an intimate and difficult precept where we discussed race, gender, and class—conversations that were quite new to me at the time. Many of our discussions from that precept have stayed with me and guided my current academic work. The following semester, Melissa sent me an email telling me to apply to write for PCUR… and the rest is history. This past week, I caught up with Melissa over email to hear more about her time since graduation and her reflections on post-grad life.

Melissa Parnagian ’17 is finishing up her last year at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS). 

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Professorship and Mentorship: An Interview With Professor Bernadette Pérez

This winter, for our seasonal series entitled “Professorship and Mentorship,” PCURs interview a professor from their home department. In these interviews, professors shed light on the role that mentorship has played in their academic trajectory, including their previous experiences as undergraduate and graduate students as well as their current involvement with mentorship as independent work advisers for current Princeton undergraduates. Here, Rafi shares his interview.

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Professor Bernadette Pérez is a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities, History and American Studies and a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in Race and Ethnicity Studies in the Society of Fellows.

I met Professor Pérez last semester as a student in her course on Commodity Histories. Throughout the semester, I was inspired by her commitment to interdisciplinary research and her focus on subjugated histories. I was excited to hear about her personal research journey and any advice she might have for a confused undergrad like me. 

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Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Hadiya Jones

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student from their home department who either is currently a graduate student at Princeton, or attended Princeton as an undergraduate. In Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, interviews with graduate students shed light on the variety of paths one can take to get to graduate school and beyond, and the many insights gained along the way from research projects and mentors. Here, Taylor shares her interview with Hadiya Jones.

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Hadiya Layla Jones, 3rd Year Graduate Student in Princeton’s Sociology Ph.D. Program

What’s your research about?

As a black woman raised in a predominantly white middle-class suburb, I am intrigued, both personally and scholarly, by the diverse manifestations created by the intersection of race, gender, and class. I ultimately desire to study how black middle-class millennials, who are socialized in predominantly white spaces, navigate their identities, and I am particularly fascinated by how this process happens on the web.

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Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Alex Wheatley ’16 *20 and Nathan Eckstein ’16 *20 Part 1

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student from their home department who either is currently a graduate student at Princeton, or attended Princeton as an undergraduate. In Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, interviews with graduate students shed light on the variety of paths one can take to get to graduate school and beyond, and the many insights gained along the way from research projects and mentors. Here, Emma shares her interview.

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Alex Wheatley ’16 *20

As part of our Spring Seasonal Series, Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, I interviewed two students in the SINSI Graduate Program, Alex Wheatley ‘16 *20 and Nathan Eckstein ‘16 *20. Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) is a scholarship program designed to prepare students to pursue careers in the U.S. government. Students in the program spend two years pursuing an MPA in the Woodrow Wilson School and two years in a SINSI fellowship with an executive branch department or agency (often, but not always, between the first and second years of the MPA program). In the first post on this two-part interview, Alex and Nathan discuss their experiences as SINSI scholars in the MPA program:

 

Emma: How did you decide to apply for SINSI?

Alex:  I saw a SINSI advertisement hanging on a lamp post. It wasn’t quite that simple, but it wasn’t premeditated either. I had been thinking about health-related fellowships, and as I subsequently learned more about SINSI it seemed like an excellent opportunity to dabble in many different aspects of public health, to do good through public service, to be thrown into opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have, and to complete a higher degree with students whose experiences were very different from my own. This was back when SINSI was a six year program that students applied for in the fall of their junior year– one of the toughest considerations was whether I was willing to commit the next six years of my life to a program I had learned about from a lamp post (spoiler: I made the right decision).

Nathan Eckstein ’16 *20

Nathan: I entered Princeton thinking I was interested in a career in public service. At the start of sophomore year, I spoke to Ambassador Barbara Bodine, then the SINSI director, about applying for an internship with an embassy abroad. Through some luck I wound up in Embassy La Paz, Bolivia, working in the Public Diplomacy section. In Bolivia, I assisted to plan and implement programming that engaged hundreds of Bolivians on subjects such as American civil society, volunteerism, and education. Through this work, I developed immense respect for my colleagues and bosses. That summer more or less confirmed my inkling that public service would be a good fit, and I applied for SINSI a few months after during my junior fall. Continue reading Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Alex Wheatley ’16 *20 and Nathan Eckstein ’16 *20 Part 1

Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview With Ole Agersnap

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student who either is currently a graduate student at Princeton, or attended Princeton as an undergraduate. In Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, interviews with graduate students shed light on the variety of paths one can take to get to graduate school and beyond, and the many insights gained along the way from research projects and mentors. Here, Shanon shares his interview.

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Ole Agersnap, Ph.D. candidate in economics at Princeton.

As part of our seasonal series on graduate students, I decided to interview Ole Agersnap, a friend of mine in his first year of the Economics PhD program. Ole and I met at the beginning of this year in the Princeton Chapel Choir, where we both sing as baritones. Over the course of the year, we’ve chatted regularly about economics, school, and life in general. Ole is a dedicated scholar with a clear perspective on his academic journey, so I hope you enjoy reading his reflections! Continue reading Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview With Ole Agersnap

Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Jonathon Catlin

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student from their home department who either is currently a graduate student at Princeton, or attended Princeton as an undergraduate. In Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, interviews with graduate students shed light on the variety of paths one can take to get to graduate school and beyond, and the many insights gained along the way from research projects and mentors. Here, Rafi shares his interview.

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Jonathon Catlin, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of History.

Jonathon Catlin is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of History, focusing on intellectual responses to the Holocaust. Before beginning at Princeton, he earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago in Jewish Studies and Fundamentals: Issues and Texts and his M.A. in philosophy from KU Leuven in Belgium. A few days ago, I sat down with him in Chancellor Green café to hear about his research journey and some of what he’s learned along the way.

How did you arrive at your current research topic?

I was a junior in high school and, for whatever reason, I decided to take a course called “The Holocaust in History, Literature, and Film” at Harvard Summer School. Why I chose it I don’t know, but the rest is history. Holocaust representation and its intersections with philosophy, religion, literature, film — all in a sort of historical context — is essentially what I’ve been working on for about eight years now, bouncing around multiple disciplines.

My dissertation is hopefully going to be on the concept of catastrophe in modern European thought – a project I’ve been working on since my first year of undergrad. I guess the newest thing for me about coming to Princeton is that I’m in a history department now, which is just totally different than the interdisciplinary humanities focus that I was used to.

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Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Herrissa Lamothe

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student from their home department who either is currently a graduate student at Princeton, or attended Princeton as an undergraduate. In, Graduate Student Reflections: Life in Academia, interviews with graduate students shed light on the variety of paths one can take to get to graduate school and beyond, and the many insights gained along the way from research projects and mentors. Here, Taylor shares her interview.

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Herrissa Lamothe, 3rd Year Graduate Student in the Sociology Department

What’s your research about?

During graduate school, I became interested in learning how people know what they know. It’s essentially the idea that you as a person embody or have access to very rich cultural knowledge that is passed down to you through the people that you know in very subtle ways. At any given moment in time, you are actually operating on this incredibly rich, complex body of knowledge that is not only available to you, but is also available to the people associated with you. I’m interested in figuring out how to analyze knowledge like this–how it’s distributed not just to one individual, but to a group of individuals, and how to develop methodologies to do that.

As a personal interest, I want to know how this impacts inequality–does where you live and who you have access to affect not only what information you have, but your perception of the world, the assumptions you have for how you should function in society, and this kind of stock of cultural knowledge that you use to go about doing things like choosing clothes, taking care of your body, applying for a job–these types of knowledge that look simple in implementation but are really, highly complex.

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