Biology Graduate Student Ambassador Student Profiles

As current Biology Graduate Students, we invite prospective students to communicate with them regarding graduate studies in Biology!

From left to right:

Sarah Marzec: marzecs@mcmaster.ca

Paul Knoops: knoopsp@mcmaster.ca

Caroline Cauret: cauretc@mcmaster.ca

Sarah Marzec

Name: Sarah Marzec
Degree: Masters Candidate
Lab: Dr. Ian Dworkin (Life Sciences Building – Room 422)

Area of specialization: Evolution and Development

Undergraduate/(Master) Degree: Bachelors in Biology

Your reason for choosing Biology at McMaster?:
I came to McMaster to work with my professor, Ian Dworkin. I talked with him before applying to graduate school and had already started to plan out my project before I began. Our research interests overlapped and I was excited to work with him.

Benefits of being a graduate student?
It’s a time where you can really focus on research and answering questions that interest you. You get paid to be a student. You have a good academic support system not only in professors mentoring you, but also in discussion and collaboration with your peers.

Skills that you are learning?
There are a lot of things you learn besides the obvious lab skills. In grad school, there’s a focus on scientific writing and presenting concepts and research in a clear way to the public. Because research topics are specific, you must become independent and research ideas on your own, instead of relying on a professor to tell you. Most importantly, you learn to think critically and question.

Paul Knoops

Name: Paul Knoops
Degree: M.Sc. Candidate
Lab: Dr. Ian Dworkin (Life Sciences Building – Room 422)

Area of specialization: Behavioural Evolution and Genetics

Undergraduate Degree: B.Sc. (Honours), Western University

Reason for choosing Mac:

I was familiar with the Hamilton area and McMaster University before applying and enjoyed both the atmosphere of the town and university, and I was able to find a supervisor that shared research interests as myself, which both contributed with my choice in McMaster.

Benefits of being a graduate student:

There is a lot of freedom to conduct research that I am interested in, along with the ability to interact with other biologists to brainstorm and work through problems together.

Skills being learnt:
I have improved my communication and teaching skills through both presentations and TAing courses, along with the obvious increase in my knowledge of biology and my research skills.

Caroline Cauret

Name: Caroline Cauret
Degree: PhD candidate
Lab: Dr. Ben Evans (Life Sciences Building – Room 324)

Area of Specialization: Evolutionary genetics

Undergraduate/(Master) degree: French BA Biology of Organisms, Populations and Ecosystems (BOPE) / French MSc Biodiversity Ecology and Evolution (BEE)

Why joining the Biology Department at McMaster: The areas of research being investigated by the department of Biology, particularly that of my supervisor, which focuses on evolutionary genetics, are consistent with my research interests.

Benefits of being a grad student: As a grad student you have the opportunity of working on projects you are interesting in with the help of experienced researchers. You are learning important knowledge and skills while doing your own research.

Skills that you are learning: One of the skills that I have improved the most since I started I McMaster is probably presenting. As a tutorial assistant you have to give tutorials for which you need to make students interested in what you are saying as well as making your speech as clear as possible. As a grad student I also had the opportunity to present a poster at a conference, explaining my research to outside researchers (and being able to switch between presenting in English and French) was an enlightening experience.

Best experience at the University: The Graduate Biology Student Day was a great moment. When I started a year ago in September, I did not really know what the other labs were working on in the department. During this day, students were presenting (posters or talks) their research. This allowed me to know what the interests of the neighbouring labs are and also who can be a good help in the future for my own projects.

Best “lab”/”grad” experience outside the University: As a graduate student you might go outside the walls of the lab to get your data. With my lab, I had the chance to go to Ghana to sample some populations of frogs. That was a great research and human experience.