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Anshu: From Fiji to St. Louis

The Division’s supportive and collaborative environment provides students like Anshu Gounder with the foundation to become independent scientists. Find out more about Anshu’s journey from Fiji to Washington University.

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My name is Anshu Gounder, and I am a graduate student in the microbiology department. I was born in Fiji, and I grew up there, and I lived there for 10 years. For women in Fiji, it's kind of hard to get past high school. So my parents decided to move to the U.S. to provide more educational opportunities for my sister and I.

When I came here for the interview, I think it was just kind of like love at first sight. I really liked all the students. They seemed genuinely and truly happy to be here. And they seemed to be so supported by all faculty and the program that was provided here. And that was kind of like this comforting environment that I hadn't experienced at any of my other interviews.

Within the division of biology and biomedical sciences, there are 12 departments. And we all collaborate in some aspect, either socially or with our science. And I have been able to bounce ideas off of the friends that I have had in other programs. And I've also been able to hang out with them, just getting a drink at the bar, or playing board games. Just to kind of relax with other people and talk about your science in a more informal setting.

Being in the community that WashU has provided has really helped me become a more independent scientist. I feel like I have the freedom to explore new questions and be able to come up with my own way of approaching a question and figuring out what to do next.

For anyone considering coming to Washington University, know that you'll be coming to a community where you'll be fully supported by the faculty and the students. You'll be joining a very collaborative environment. When you leave this university, you'll be a fully independent scientist and be ready for the scientific world.

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