November 22, 2019
Adam Antoszewski was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a B.S. in both physics and chemistry from the University of Virginia. He’s now in his third year of pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Chicago. We interviewed him about his experiences below.
What have you been studying or researching as part of your program?
I am a theoretical chemist, computationally modeling how insulin interacts with both itself and the cell, with eventual eyes toward informing a new generation of diabetes and other disease treatments through computational insights.
Why did you choose the University of Chicago?
When I visited, the graduate students I interacted with seemed genuinely happy, and actually enjoyed spending time outside of lab with one another. That, combined with the world-class research done here, was something I didn’t find anywhere else. And as an added plus, the cost of living in Chicago is very low compared to other major cities, and there is an incredible amount of (cheap) things to do in the city.
Please describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.
I was one of the three student architects of the Chemistry Department’s graduate student recruitment weekend last year, and getting to share my enthusiasm about the graduate program here was amazing. Recruitment weekends are not only logistically complex, but also the single most effective tool we have to convince outstanding scientists to come to UChicago. It was gratifying to work with the Chemistry Department, UChicagoGRAD, and other student leaders to make sure all the planned events went off smoothly, while also trying to showcase vulnerability and provide a genuine and insightful glimpse into graduate life in the Chemistry Department.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
I’m currently the Treasurer for the PSD Social Committee, which tries to encourage a healthy work-life balance through heavy financial subsidies for social events in Chicago and the surrounding area. Through that, I have been able to break out of my comfort zone and do things I never could have done otherwise, like indoor skydiving, skiing, Lollapalooza, and a very fancy dinner at Girl and the Goat.
What are your plans post-UChicago?
Undecided as of now! I could see myself doing an academic track, but I am also going to information sessions hosted at the University to see if I want to pivot the computational research skills I’m gaining via my research into the private sector. To that end, I’ve been looking into things like quantitative trading, data science jobs at tech companies, and intellectual property consulting.
What support have you received at the UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
I am very thankful to have received the Eckhardt Graduate Fellowship, which in addition to providing a generous financial stipend for five years of graduate study, also introduced me to an interdisciplinary network of scientists, many of whom work on similar scientific projects in vastly different contexts. In a more informal sense, however, the strong sense of graduate student community at multiple levels (between my roommates, lab, academic cohort, and Chemistry Department in general) has been an incredible resource for me. It’s nice to know you have multiple different spheres of people who care for not only your academic goals, but also your personal happiness.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
Visit! In my experience, the only way to truly get a feel for a place is to physically be in that place. I knew the research was good here, but I really felt at home when I finally visited and could talk to my prospective coworkers. If you can’t swing an in-person visit, reach out to professors and their grad students to ask them about their research and about lab culture.
How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued?
One of the most useful parts of Chemistry’s recruitment weekend, in general, is a grad student panel that explicitly encourages questions that relate to diversity and inclusion at UChicago, among other non-research topics. Moderating this panel has been an incredibly valuable experience for me, allowing me to showcase our current strengths in D&I, as well as highlight the active efforts of the department and the division to work with graduate student leaders (e.g. Women in Chemistry, Graduate Student Recruitment Initiative) to further improve the culture throughout the University. Working with other chemistry departmental leaders, we are also currently designing a pilot program for older chemistry grad students to present an hour-long informal talk, which is designed to introduce their research, but primarily focus on the individual life of the presenter—their background, path to grad school, advice they have for newer students, etc. Hopefully, this will further bring the chemistry department together, and make current students feel like no matter what their experience or background, that they have a place at UChicago.