Campus Hosts Prospective Students
By Mika Ono
About 40 of the country's most promising young science students
listened attentively as Jeffery Kelly, Dean of the Kellogg
School of Science and Technology at The Scripps Research Institute
(TSRI), stepped up to the front of the room to describe the
institute's Ph.D. program.
"The emphasis here is on learning," said Kelly. "Scripps
is a small place, an interesting place, a place that fosters
Most students had arrived in San Diego the night before
to attend one of TSRI's three "recruitment weekends" this
month, designed to provide them with information about all
aspects of the institute's graduate programs.
"We want to provide flexibility to the students to move
among disciplines," Kelly continued. "We want to provide the
support and resources so that you can come to work everyday
and not worry about the things that you have to worry about
later in lifelike health coverage and money to buy books."
Students in TSRI's programs follow a core curriculum according
to specialty. Classes are taught by more than 100 faculty
members representing every department at TSRI. Optional, independent
courses provide special topics and methods training in such
areas as x-ray diffraction, statistical mechanics, nuclear
magnetic resonance techniques, immunology, and virology. As
part of their training, students rotate through different
laboratories, which enables the budding young scientists to
explore different areas of research.
TSRI's graduate programs are ranked among the top ten in
the nation. U.S. News & World Report places TSRI
sixth overall in chemistrysecond in the specialty of
organic chemistryand ninth overall in the biological
At the end of his presentation, Kelly asked the students
to stand and say a few words on who they were and why they
The answers varied. Some were finishing college; others
had years of research experience. A few had already decided
on one very focused area of research; others were torn between
larger disciplines. Undergraduate institutions represented
included Harvard University, Yale University, Cal Tech, UC
schools, Northwestern University, University of Arkansas,
and Williams College.
However, the prospective students had one thing in commonalmost
everyone seemed genuinely excited about being at TSRI.
Again and again, they cited TSRI's reputation for quality:
"I'm here because it's one of the best programs out there";
"I'm here because the Chemistry Program is top-notch"; "I
want to do synthetic chemistry and this is a great place to
Many mentioned the opportunity to integrate chemistry and
biology: "I want to merge the biology that I love with the
chemistry that excites me"; "I'm a chemistry major interested
in getting more into biology."
Others named specific faculty member whose work they admired.
One student added poignantly, "I really want to come here
and hope I'm accepted!"
As the introductions ended, Associate Dean Jamie Williamson
prepared the students for the day ahead. The schedule included
intensive interviews with some half dozen to a dozen faculty
members, a tour of TSRI's campus and specialized research
facilities, a presentation on benefits, and lunch, reception
and dinner which provided an opportunity to speak with the
deans, current students, additional faculty members, and the
Graduate Office staff.
"Make the most of the day," advised Williamson. "Pay attention.
Don't be afraid to ask hard questions. You'll have fun..."