Graduate Student Reflections: An Interview with Mike Hepler

This semester, in our spring series, PCURs will interview a graduate student. 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, Nicholas shares his interview with Mike Hepler, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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Mike Hepler is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

 

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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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Graduate Student Reflections: Nathan Li

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, Alexandra shares her interview.

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As part of our Spring seasonal series, I interviewed Nathan Li, a first-year graduate student participating in the 5-year PhD program in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). He completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in Chemical Engineering, completing the Environmental track.

Nathan Li, a first-year graduate student in the CEE department.

After completing his undergraduate degree in 2014, Nathan spent a year working at a startup, and the year after that working in finance. However, he felt that those jobs were not completely aligned with his values—partly, he missed the learning environment of college, but he was mostly concerned about the impact of his work: “I wanted to contribute to science and technology more directly.”

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Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Adrian Tasistro-Hart ’17

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally and personally. Here, Alec shares his interview.

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Adrian Tasistro-Hart ’17

Adrian Tasistro-Hart graduated in 2017 with a degree in Geosciences. A PEI Environmental Scholar, Adrian focused on one independent research project spanning his Junior Papers and Senior Thesis, which he plans on submitting for publication. Adrian is currently working towards a masters degree in Geophysics at ETH in Zürich, continuing his research journey which began at Princeton. Here is what Adrian had to say about his experience with undergraduate research and the impact of his independent research experience:

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Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Jacob Schatz ’15

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally and personally. Here, Ellie shares her interview.

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Jacob Schatz ’15 began his first semester of graduate school in NYU’s department of applied psychology this past fall.

Jacob Schatz graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a degree in Psychology. After graduation, he worked as a lab coordinator at the Temple University Infant and Child Lab until this past fall, when he began graduate school in New York University’s Applied Psychology program. I had the privilege of talking with Jacob about the independent work in psychology that he conducted at Princeton. He provided the following insights on how his interests in psychology and education inspired his senior thesis research on how children learn from storybooks and his professional trajectory beyond Princeton: Continue reading Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Jacob Schatz ’15

Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Teri Tillman ’16

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally and personally. Here, Taylor shares her interview.

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Teri Tillman ’16, now pursing a law degree at Cornell University!

Teri Tillman graduated in 2016 with a degree in Sociology and a certificate in American Studies. Now in her second year at Cornell Law School, she’s the academic chair for Cornell’s Black Law Students Association, the co-president for Cornell’s Sports & Entertainment Law Society, as well as a student associate in Cornell’s Labor Law Clinic. During her time at Princeton, her thesis helped her develop the confidence to conquer any large assignment, and this determination has carried over into her graduate work. Here’s what she had to say about her experience with independent work:

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Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: An Interview with Masi Yamada ‘94

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally, and personally. Here, Alexandra shares her interview.

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As part of our Seasonal Series, I had the opportunity to interview Masi Yamada ’94, a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer (MAE). He is currently working as a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase and offered insight about studying MAE and transferring that into the world of finance.

                     A photo of Masi Yamada

AK: Why did you choose to major in MAE?

MY: A lot of it was the generation I grew up in—as kids, we grew up seeing Star Wars and all those sorts of things; the space shuttle had been developed and there were a lot of engineering and economic resources being put towards defense and aerospace. The Cold War was still going on, so there was an ongoing buildup of arms and technology against the Russians. Back then, aerospace was viewed much like the startup and technology field is viewed now—that was where all the interesting tech jobs were.

I grew up thinking that I wanted to work at NASA—it was always my intention to go into the aerospace industry—but then reality set in. The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989 and by the time we had graduated in ‘94, the aerospace and defense industry had been downsized and NASA’s budget was being cut. A few of us went on to graduate school, but the majority of us followed the classic Princeton path, going into finance and consulting because those were the companies that were recruiting very heavily at the time.

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Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Chris Lu ’88 on Public Service

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally, and personally. Here, Nicholas shares his interview.

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 Chris Lu ’88 was a member of the Obama administration, where he served as a Deputy Secretary of Labor, White House Cabinet Secretary, and Assistant to the President. He is now a Senior Strategy Advisor at FiscalNote and an At-Large Member of the Democratic National Committee. He also served as the senior news editor for the Daily Princetonian during his time at Princeton. With a long career in public service, he has some useful insights for those seeking to pursue careers in public affairs. I had the opportunity to speak with Chris about his experience writing a senior thesis in the Woodrow Wilson School and the enduring impact that policy research has had on his career. Here’s what he had to say:
Chris Lu ’88

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