February 19th, 2019
Jenna Gustafson (now Dr. Jenna Gustafson) becomes the first WilmerLab PhD alumna after successfully defending her thesis. Recollecting her first days in graduate school, Jenna says her time in WilmerLab has helped her feel more confident.
When I started the PhD program at Pitt, I was excited but felt like I didn’t belong and that everyone was smarter and more capable than I was. Over the past few years I have grown to believe in myself more and not accept the minimum for myself, and I owe that all to Chris’s encouragement and his belief in me. I have worked very hard for a long time, and I finally understand that I deserve this and I am more than capable of success. I could not have asked for a better experience than the one I had here at Pitt in the Wilmer Lab, and I hope to represent the group well in the outside world.
Jenna also offered support for new graduate students and undergraduates thinking about starting graduate school.
Graduate school can feel endless and lonely sometimes, but in the end it feels like I have accomplished something meaningful. I am very lucky to have the support of my friends and family, and my parents will continue to brag about me to everyone they can. There is some pressure to being the first doctor in the family, or as my sister’s would say “not a real doctor”. I am very excited about the opportunities ahead and that I may use my knowledge and experiences to create positive change in the world.
Congratulations Dr. Gustafson, WilmerLab is going to miss you!