• Ashvathi Raghavakaimal
  • Ashvathi Raghavakaimal
  • SAS '18
  • Major(s): Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Minor(s): South Asian Studies

Activities: Rutgers Reach Out and Read (ROAR)

What attracted you to Rutgers University and the Honors/Scholars Program?
I grew up in New Jersey so Rutgers was a household name so it was already on my mind when I was applying to universities. I think it was the SAS Honors Program informational session that convinced me the Rutgers would be the right fit--its an R1 research institution right in my backyard essentially with amazing PIs and labs doing cutting edge research that actively includes undergraduates. On top of that, the honors program gives you access to great housing, special sections of challenging classes (like Organic Chemistry), and the opportunity to graduate with a capstone Thesis project.

Why did you choose your major and/or minor?
The MBB program requires that students undertake some hands-on research for credit so that was critical for me.

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now. What was your first job after Rutgers? Where you do you live? What was your first job after Rutgers? Where you do you live?
I am currently a second year PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania and I live in Philly! Right after graduation, I was able to get a job at a biotechnology company (Creatv Microtech) where I was involved in cancer diagnostic research, specifically in the realm of breast cancer for four years (2017-2021). After working there for a few years, I am now a 2nd PhD Student at the University of Pennsylvania in the Cancer Biology Program (2021-Present).

What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since you graduated from Rutgers?
Since graduating Rutgers, I was able to use my work in an industrial lab to get my first first-author publication in the journal Breast Cancer Research--this was a super exciting accomplishment for me and the cumulation of many months of research and writing!

Was there a class and/or experience at Rutgers that led you to pursuing your current career?
I really enjoyed the electives I took as part of my major--like Gene Regulation in Cancer & Development and The Biology of Aging--and these classes definitely helped me narrow down areas of research that I found interesting which I used during my job search.

What three words describe your experience at Rutgers and the Honors/Scholars Program? 
Challenging. Rewarding.  Community.

How has your Rutgers and Honors education benefited you in your post-Rutgers life?
I believe the access to world class research and researchers exposed me to cutting-edge concepts that is unique to Rutgers and the Honors Program.

What advice do you have for our current SAS Honors Program students?
I would recommend that you consider early on whether or not the Honors Program requirements align with your goals for your undergraduate career. If you find that they do align and you are pursuing a research/health care career--start early with looking into labs and research experience. Do your due diligence before contacting PIs and be very genuine about your interests. Current students should definitely make use of the Honors Program Alumni directory and reach out to people in fields that your interested in! Alumni love to talk about their career paths and what they would/wouldn't do if they could do it again--this is invaluable advice that isn't sugarcoated. Lastly, enjoy your time at Rutgers and in the Honors Program because it flies by!

Are you a Rutgers Honors alum? Be featured in an upcoming Honors Alumni Spotlight by completing our online submission form.


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