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January 26th, 2009:

Graduate Admissions

I’m one of eight graduate students Berkeley admitted to their plant biology program last year. We come from a range of schools with a range of strengths and interests. But lets say you wanted to squash all that down to a couple of numbers. One approach is to look solely at what undergraduate schools we graduated from. This is incredibly inaccurate. For example, my roommate and I both attended the same school for undergrad, but we’re not interchangable. I know her GPA was way higher than mine, our GRE scores no doubt also vary, and we had very different sets of undergraduate research experience. Still the appeal of this method is that it doesn’t rely on having access to any remotely confidential information (like GRE stores or GPA) making it very easy to make comparisons between my class, and the set of students invited to interview for next year’s class.

My cohort’s undergrad schools:

  • Average rank: 29
  • Median rank: 21.

Interviewee’s undergrad schools:

  • Average rank: 12
  • Median rank: 4

This was not an easy year to be applying to graduate schools.

Vilsack’s First Week

My old governor is my new boss (at least for two more weeks). There’s an interesting summary over at La Vida Locavore. To me it sounds like he’s doing everything right, and it appears the organic/local food/etc movement can get behind every action he’s taken as well (even if they dreamed of a secretary of agriculture that would do other things as well).

Chinese New Year

Lots of new photos up on Flickr. On Saturday I went down into San Francisco to see Chinatown in the weekend before Chinese New Year (which is today:  新年快乐 ! <– I theorize this means happy new year, given it’s appearance on so many people’s facebook statuses over the past few days) Lots of pictures.

That night we decided we wanted cake, and took advantage of the fact that I keep buying boxes of cake mix, even though I never get around to mixing them. Resulting in so much cake. Just to clarify, there are FOUR pans of cake in this photo:
Four Cakes

Work is going well. Only two weeks left in this rotation and I’m racing to have something to show for my three months of effort.

This is the year of the ox. The second time it’s come around since the year of the ox when I was born (which for those doing the math means I’ll be turning 24 all too soon.)