Interview with Pragati Chengappa Biotechnology, Fall 2014

What was your background prior to Graduate Professional Studies?
I had triple-majored in Biotechnology, Chemistry and Botany at Christ University, India.

Why did you choose to participate in Graduate Professional Studies?
When I was done with my undergraduate degree, I felt like I was at a crossroads and I was unsure of what the next move should be. The idea of interning full-time while also doing full-time graduate classes appealed to me because it seemed like a great way to test the waters and figure out whether I wanted to continue with my studies, or enter the work force.

Where did you intern? What were some daily tasks at your internship? Favorite part?
I interned at GeneCopoeia, a genomics and proteomics company located in Rockville, MD. I worked in the lab under an organic chemist who was working on developing a commercially available assay. A large chunk of what I did included troubleshooting the kit to ensure that it held up to market standards. I really enjoyed the work I did there and I really enjoyed interacting with all of the senior scientists; since there was an array of products being produced in the labs there were a lot of radically different projects happening all at once and it was a very educational experience.

Did you know what your career/academic path looked like before you joined the program?
I was fairly certain that I wanted to stay in academia, but I wanted to see how I would fare in a job atmosphere. While I really did love my internship, I was further convinced that I wanted to continue on to graduate school in order to gain the credentials I needed to [become an accomplished researcher].

What did you do after completing your GPS semester?
After the GPS semester, I chose to pursue a Professional Science Master’s of Biotechnology at American University, which is easily the biggest takeaway I got from the experience. Since the coursework that you complete while in Graduate Professional Studies includes classes that are necessary for the Master’s degree, it was a very seamless transition.

I am currently a second year Master’s of Biotechnology student here at American University and I will be graduating in May 2016.

Did your time with GPS directly affect your professional success?
I truly believe that my time in Graduate Professional Studies was a great springboard and has set me on a path that I am proud of. Furthermore, my time at American University and Washington, DC have been very lucrative for me professionally and I would definitely recommend it to anyone choosing to pursue a career in Biotechnology.

How would you summarize your experience in AU's Graduate Professional Studies?
Partaking in Graduate Professional Studies was a great decision that helped put my graduate plans into motion. It helped simplify a process that was very daunting and overwhelming into a very effortless and easy choice.