Growth as a scientist … and father

— Joseph Rosas

Right when I was offered the spot to be apart of the new PREP cohort, I could hardly contain my excitement. Not only because of the opportunities I knew I would be afforded as a prospective graduate applicant, but also because I needed it to happen. My wife was about 7 months pregnant and we were just finishing up our undergrad at UC San Diego.

My only real options at the time were to either apply to grad school near home, or find some other unrelated job. I didn’t get accepted into the two grad programs to which I had applied, so I was thrilled when I found out about PREP and how it could serve as a smooth transition into grad school: my ultimate goal. Of course, my likelihood of getting in seemed slim-to-none. And yet here I am, writing on my experiences one year later.

The birth of my son, Kaiden, really marks the beginning of the PREP year for me. I remember I even had to unexpectedly raincheck on meeting up with Dan and Carole because my wife was going into labor! There were some rough adjustments at first after he came. And those were only exacerbated by my hour long commutes from Galt to Davis. However, looking back, I’m glad I persisted through those challenges. 

I was so fortunate to join Megan Dennis’ lab, where I learned about cutting-edge research in human genetics. Her research and the atmosphere of the lab were like a dream come true. They gave me so much support with my research projects and with my adjustments as a new father.

As far as support from other areas goes, no one has been more supportive than Dan and Carole. The challenges they posed to us throughout the year were both nerve-racking and strengthening. Even though things could have seemed intensely stressful at times (cough NSF proposal), they never once made me feel like I wasn’t capable.

It’s one year later, and my son is walking and talking now. My commutes are still annoying, but I’ve reached my goal of getting into the IGG grad program at UC Davis, thanks to PREP. I’ve been pushed to new limits both as a researcher and as a new father, and I’ll never forget this past year. I look forward to what grad school has in store for me. And I say that with confidence knowing I have the best support system, both in my family, friends, and with Dan and Carole.
photo courtesy of Emanuel Jöbstl via Creative Commons