• April 30, 2023
Alumni Achievements

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the School of Graduate Studies is delighted to showcase the accomplishments of our current students and program alumni. For this final SPOTLIGHT of the 2022-2023 academic year, we are excited to showcase RISE alum and SUPER-GRAD fellow, Caitlyn Tobita.

Read below to find out more about Caitlyn. Thank you, Caitlyn, for sharing your experiences with the SGS community!

What is your current title?

PhD Candidate 

What Rutgers School of Graduate Studies (SGS) program(s) did you participate in and when?

RISE 2016, SUPER GRAD Fellow 2018-2019 

What department do you work in? 

Chemistry and Chemical Biology PhD program

What is the current title of your project? 

"Characterizing the morphology, dynamics, stability, and function of full length, in vitro collagen using mammalian cell-based extracellular matrix; RISE project: characterizing the recovery and adaptation after exercise of C. elegans"

When do you expect to graduate? 

Likely within a couple of years

What accomplishments would you like to share? What have you been up to since you completed the program? 

Since RISE, I joined the Chemistry & Chemical Biology PhD program at Rutgers. At Rutgers, so far: I attained an honorable mention for the 2020 NSF GRFP, Publications: "Collagen I Weakly Interacts with the β-sheets of β2-Microglobulin and Enhances Conformational Exchange to Induce Amyloid Formation." (Published in JACS 2020; doi: 10.1021/jacs.9b10421) Presented at SACNAS 2021 (Online, Poster), Presented at ICMRBS (In-person, Poster)

What advice would you give to someone interested in following a similar path as yours?

Life is always full of unexpected circumstances. Sometimes it's easier to be critical of ourselves and of our mistakes than to be kind to ourselves, but being kind to ourselves is just as important to learn as any research topic or experiment. We can try our best and still fail, but what's important is to be able to accept our mistakes, be able to reflect on what to do, and get back up and continue moving forward. Often, we're told that graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint, but I'd like to think of it more like climbing up a mountain - challenging, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, rewarding, and everything in between. I'm still climbing that mountain, but looking forward to seeing the peak.

Caitlyn Tobias