Hamline talks graduate school

At the Graduate Student Roundtable, students enjoy free food and answers to their burning questions about graduate school.



Amani Lee, who is working towards a PhD in chemistry, tells Hamline students about the various types of programs students can explore after their undergraduate years.

Christian Buonfiglio, Reporter

At the Graduate School Roundtable on Nov. 6, students talked over hot chili and cornbread muffins. The room on the third floor of Anderson was cozy and welcoming, which made it that much easier to breach the complicated subject of graduate school.

Hosted by the Career Development Center, the event was well-attended. Hamline students discussed graduate school with graduate students and heard directly from admissions staff about the application process. The event is a chance to network with graduate schools around the state, as well as to help Hamline students understand their options.

“If you’re not exposed to it, how would you know it exists?” said Hamline career counselor Masha Finn, who facilitated the event along with career counselor Mara Stommes.

Finn said that many students come to the CDC with questions about graduate school, and many students wonder whether to apply straight out of undergraduate studies or take time to get work experience.

Hamline graduate Esha Seth, ‘14, is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of Minnesota. After graduation, Seth spent four years in the workforce before returning to school and was grateful for the experience.

“There is time and freedom to go at your own pace,” Seth said.

Other students asked about the application process and how to approach interviews with admissions staff.

Gunnar Drossel, ’17, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at UMN, responded by stressing that students ought to be honest with their desires and experiences.

“They know when you’re lying,” Drossel said.

Students’ concerns about the process, however, were outweighed by their desire to learn and do good in the world. Junior Raniya Yimam, an international student from Ethiopia studying public health, said that graduate school will help her gain knowledge and help those in need.

“I’m eager to learn about this world, then go home and help in my field,” Yimam said.

Other students see graduate school as a chance to delve further into new and complex fields. Senior Mohamed Mashal is studying neuroscience and wants to spend graduate school exploring the mysterious workings of the brain.

“I want to be able to tap into the unknown,” Mashal says, “and contribute to what we actually know about the human brain.”

Some students, like senior Alex Walsh, are still searching for their goals.

“I see myself teaching, but I don’t really know yet,” Walsh said. Walsh is passionate about chemistry and hopes that graduate school will open more paths to consider.

There are also students who simply want to keep learning, like Avery Marshall, ’19, an anthropology major pursuing her master’s degree.

“College was so invigorating,” Marshall said, “and I’m doing the same work now. I can’t get enough of it — I want to be pushed in a new space.”

The event was officially over by 7 p.m., but students remained well after, gathering pamphlets, exchanging emails with admissions staff and snagging leftover cornbread muffins to take back to their dorms. Finn and Stommes encouraged students who could not attend the event to visit the Career Development Center in Drew Science room 113 or call the office at 651-523-2302 to make an appointment and learn more about graduate school.