Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Big Red Recruitment

So a brief synopsis of recruitment at Cornell -- disappointing. Cornell's a great school but I haven't found a niche, and all the research I thought I would be really excited about I'm just not. The faculty seem more stand-offish, and overall there isn't the kind of passion I saw at Arizona. Though Cornell's grad program has more money, and they really go all out to try and impress us by showering us with food and stuff (and really, the coordinator has done a great job scheduling things)... I'm just not terribly impressed. A lot of the profs seem a little narrow in scope and just not interested in broad physiological research and applications. I don't want to get diverted right into a molecular and genetic lab, and I thought that Cornell would be really into encouraging bredth as well as depth, but I'm finding a lot of profs who are simply disinterested if you don't fit their field exactly. I did seem to have interviewed with the wrong people. I picked people who were sort of remotely involved with molecular and genetics, but who were working on interesting fields. (One person I got scheduled with was very low on my list and I knew wasn't terribly relevant). And most of the people I chatted with were simply surprised that I was even there because I had already expressed my interest in genetics. That being said, the sheer 'we have money and name recognition' thing is very attractive. But almost every other factor, Arizona has Cornell beat out. Even Arizona's stipend is bigger (comparatively, considering rent in Ithaca is nearly 1.5 times Tucson), including the fact that all the researchers I met in Arizona were all passionate not only about their own research but were interested in what I do as well. By comparison, only one person asked me this entire weekend what I do. I also much prefer the greater flexibility when it comes to teaching opportunities in Arizona -- even if I can't spend a lot of time TAing, it sounds like grad students have more opportunities to teach and to learn to teach than in Cornell, where it seems like it'd be a struggle to get more than the required one semester of TAing out of my committee. So, overall, I think I like Arizona better. That being said, I still have one more Cornell interview left (in two hours) and I haven't even gotten a hint of a decision yet from them, so all this may be moot anyways.


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