Our Students

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is committed to providing its students with an outstanding learning and living experience. Our program is geared to enable students to be problem solvers, work well in teams, be excellent communicators and leaders who are prepared to excel as they transition into their next experience.  We are also committed to ensuring that your  graduate school experience offers multiple opportunities for personal growth and fulfilling experiences. RPI sits in the capital district close to beautiful lakes, hiking trails, music venues and club activities so that your hard work is balanced by enriching activities.  Listen to what some of our students have to say about their experience at RPI…..

Rebecca Miceli, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
My name is Rebecca Miceli, I am a fourth-year doctoral candidate at Rensselaer! I graduated from Wheaton College MA in 2019 and started here at RPI the following fall. I was excited to be closer to home and live much closer to the Adirondacks and southern Vermont mountains. I love trail running, mountain biking, and skiing – the trails are very accessible from Troy. My cohort and I survived the pandemic shutdown together by enjoying all the outdoor restaurants, beautiful parks, and bike paths in the area. In terms of academics, I have loved everything about RPI. It is very easy to work in a collaborative environment, both through CBIS and co-advisorships. I have taken numerous classes that have directly impacted my research, and get to work with undergraduate students in a research setting every day. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is an awesome school that will prepare you for your future!
Gayathri Subramaniam, Graduate Student
Being a graduate student at RPI has allowed me to become an interdisciplinary researcher. RPI culture promotes collaboration and teamwork which leads to an innovative and caring community. Advisors and staff at RPI are incredibly helpful and always available to discuss problems and help you find solutions. Along with its incredible researchers, RPI has state of the art facilities that are available to students to further their research. One of my favorite things about RPI is that there are plenty of places to explore in the cities of Albany and Troy. RPI is also near the Adirondacks for outdoor activities, and major cities like Boston and NYC being only a bus ride away.
Rebecca Greene-Cramer
I chose to come to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute because I knew I would receive outstanding training from experienced faculty and have the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research. The chemistry department faculty are invested in the success and wellbeing of their students and focus their instruction on knowledge and skills needed to secure positions in industry and academia upon degree completion. Outside of academics, Rensselaer is in a great location for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. Hiking and skiing are easy day trips from Troy and you can pick up the Empire State Trail across the river. Trains or flights out of Albany also make travel outside of the capital region a breeze. Downtown Troy is home to great local shops, cafes and restaurants and the Farmer’s Market is a top weekend destination for visiting friends and family. Troy’s historic location on the Hudson features a Riverfront Park that is a great destination all year long.
Lauren Zakrzewski, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Chemistry & Chemical Biology department at RPI. I graduated from The College of Saint Rose with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 2019 and thus, have been a member of the RPI community since fall 2019 (pre-pandemic days). Surviving the pandemic certainly wasn’t easy, but it was possible through the support of my peers and faculty as well as the adaptive nature of all of us here at RPI. Being part of Rensselaer gives me an immense feeling of pride and fulfillment. Our institution is full of bright minds in various avenues of scientific and engineering research—which only helps to broaden my own horizons when pursuing my particular chemistry-related research. RPI’s motto mentions, “why not change the world?” As each day passes, I feel that I come a step closer to achieving that goal through my work here at RPI.
Paige Nowak, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
RPI’s motto is “Why not Change the world?” Since making a difference in the world is my life’s goal, I was immediately drawn to this school. As a student who did their undergrad at RPI, choosing RPI for my graduate studies was an easy decision. The chemistry department is unlike any other department on campus. From the professors who care so much about their students, to my peers who celebrate each others successes, this department truly feels like home. Both professors and students organize social events, celebrations, and activities to enjoy together as a department. The professors at RPI are extremely resourceful and helpful, if they can’t assist you with your current situation, they will find someone who can. In the undergrad program, students have the option to participate in research, which prepared me for my graduate studies and helped me to choose a focus of study. As an undergraduate, students also get access to training on many different instruments which strengthen your CV and improve your chances for securing a position in a variety of fields. RPI also has an abundance of resources to help find internships, jobs, and experience in any field, they also offer free services for resume/CV reviews and mock interviews to increase your chances at landing your dream job! However, RPI isn’t all work and no play! There are an abundance of clubs and organizations to join on campus. From sports and dancing, to outdoor activities, the fun is there for you to participate in. Joining an academic club or honors society is also an option. These groups offer great opportunities such as going to professional conferences, which is truly a unique experience. The city of Troy is another reason RPI is unique, there are many restaurants and shops within walking distance to campus. There is always something fun to do, from a board game café to sports bars and trivia nights to a farmers market every Saturday, you will never be bored in this city.
Isha Shah, Third-year Doctoral Candidate
My name is Isha Shah, and I’m a third-year doctoral candidate at Rensselaer! I graduated in 2020 from Albright College with my B.S. in Biochemistry and started at RPI in the fall semester. I’ve ended up loving the collaborative nature of the Chemistry department and have taken many opportunities to both give and receive help from other labs to develop my research and professional skills. I appreciate the push that graduate researchers receive to develop mentoring skills through teaching assistantships and mentoring undergraduates in the research lab. I think there is also a push for a healthy work-life balance, which was one of the most important factors for me in deciding where I would pursue my career. When I’m not in the lab, I like to spend time outdoors with my dog, Venus, or volunteering with my organization Alpha Phi Omega to help at local schools, shelters, and humane societies. RPI has pushed me to be well-rounded both in and out of the lab and I can’t wait to see where my academic work takes me next!
Benjamin Howard, First-year Graduate Student
My name is Benjamin Howard and I am a first year graduate student in the Chemistry program at RPI.. I began my STEM career in North Carolina and attained a Bachelors of Science in both Biology and Chemistry. The impetus of my passion for science, specifically chemistry, is grounded in my curious nature that was evident in my youth. I decided to pursue a career in STEM out of my fascination with medicine and have yet to look back. Though moving from another institution in a different state was a great step in life, my short time in Troy has provided a great community and a wealth of knowledgeable resources and healthy learning spaces within the Institute itself. The sense of collaboration within the program is incomparable and the academic caliber is rigorous, yet insightful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Holistically, this environment has allowed me to call it home and have a zest for pursuing my PhD in Chemistry.
Charles McCabe
There are so many ways to get involved in the campus community at RPI, both academically and socially. There is so much exciting research going on all the time, and faculty are always open to starting new collaborations. With the annual graduate symposium and multiple other events put on by various departments, there are many opportunities for us to share our research. The clubs and professional organizations on campus are always holding events and are a great way to meet people on campus and connect with graduate students from other departments we might not see otherwise. When I’m not working on a new synthesis, I like to play trombone in the RMA Symphonic Band here on campus. It’s a great way to feel like a part of the community.
Dan Xiao, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
I am a 4th-year PhD student in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at RPI. I graduated from Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology in 2013 and then moved to Singapore where I earned a M.S. in chemistry from the National University of Singapore in 2015. After spending 4 years in industry working for the China General Nuclear Power Group in Singapore, I chose to continue my studies and came to the U.S. in pursuit of my PhD. RPI offered me an excellent opportunity to communicate, work with, and study under world-renowned researchers: and I took it! I attend seminars with well-known leaders in research and am engage with them personally to share ideas and refine my skills. I really enjoy the RPI campus as it is so beautiful and filled with ambition. It is the perfect place to ponder my research conundrums and walk with colleagues to discuss new ideas. Outside of research, I enjoy sampling the diverse cuisine the capital district offers, going to Grafton and Thacher state parks for hiking, and attending the many fairs and parades that go on in beautiful upstate New York.