Exploring Opportunities: Pitt by Pitt

Hello! I am Simone Mohite, an international student from Dubai, UAE. I was born in India, but I spent almost 12 years in the United Arab Emirates. I am currently a Junior at Pitt, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Chemistry, Theatre arts and French studies. I also plan on applying for the Bachelor of Philosophy program at the end of this semester.

I loved learning about the brain since the 10th grade and quickly realized I wanted to be in the field of neuroscience research. This led me to Pitt – it has a very strong neuroscience program and an abundance of research opportunities. Since I was studying outside the United States, I had no idea on how an honors college works. I did not know whether I was good enough or even how I can apply for it. So, I figured that I would settle in first and then explore my options when I physically got here. When I was in my freshman year, I was in a class called Brain and Behavior, taught by Dr. Edward Stricker. He was the one who introduced me to one of these unique opportunities called the Bachelor of Philosophy (B. Phil). Pitt is one of the few universities that offer this degree, and it requires candidates to complete a senior thesis and defend it – much like a master’s degree. I highly recommend this to all students pursuing research in their futures.

To further my research for the B. Phil, I joined a lab at the Rangos Research Center where I plan on working on my project from summer’21 onwards. I found this lab at a fair organized by one of the pre-med clubs on campus. These are amazing and very helpful because you get to see exactly what kind of research students and faculty are involved with. Talking to the PIs or students who are presenting is also a great idea to narrow down some labs by getting a sense of their work environment and the possible roles you would have.

Additionally, I engage with Pitt Honors by enrolling in Honors classes and just recently declared the Honors distinction. These classes are open to all Pitt students, regardless of their admission in the Honors college. This is my favorite thing about Pitt Honors. These classes are SO unique and fun to participate in. Honors classes have an element that pushes me to think outside the box. An honorable mention would be the Honors OCC program. I have been recently exploring all the events offered and I can guarantee there is a fun event for everyone. Doing a virtual semester can cause a little bit of a disconnect from campus so these events are a great way to attend with friends and learn something new!

Lastly, my favorite things about Pitt in general is how inclusive and welcoming it is – both socially and academically. There is a place for anyone with an intellectual curiosity and every single professor and student is immensely supportive. I had no idea how Pitt would be for me, an international student who only looked at this place virtually, but as soon as I got here, I truly felt at home.

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