Interview with Anita Rogacs

Anita graduated from SJSU with a BS ME in 2007, and received her Ph.D. in ME from Stanford University this past fall.  A video of her dissertation topic can be found here:  On-chip Isotachophoresis for Separation of Ions and Purification of Nucleic Acids.  A short interview with Anita is found below:

1. Could you explain the steps involved in getting a PhD?

It all starts before you apply to graduate school. Here I list the most important steps I believe you should take to increase your chances of success:

  • I highly recommend getting involved in undergraduate research while you are still pursuing your baccalaureate degree. This will allow you get a taste for research, but above all, you develop a closer relationship with your research advisor. When time comes to ask for recommendation letters, the strongest and most meaningful letters will come from him/her.
  • Start researching the schools you are interested in. If you have an opportunity to visit the university, try to schedule an appointment with the faculty members whose research you find interesting. If you get a chance to meet them, prepare meaningful questions about their work and research group. Also, make sure to ask their advice on how to navigate the first year so you get a successful start.
  • Search for a graduate handbook published by their department. You will find answers to all of your administrate questions there.
  • Start preparing your application package early. Have someone review your essay!

2. How does it feel now that you have finished your dissertation and successfully defended it?

It is exciting to close this chapter and open a new one.

3. What was the topic of your dissertation?

Microfluidic Techniques for Lysing, Purification and Bead-based Detection of RNA from Complex Samples

4. How would you describe your experience at Stanford University?

Stanford University is an amazing institution. It has world class research programs, supporting environment for graduate students and postdocs, generous resources, and fun and engaging student culture. The university also strongly encourages students and faculty to cross disciplines and fields in their work. I was incredibly fortunate to work in a research group which combined mechanical engineering with electrical, chemical and bio-engineering.

5. What is next on the horizon for you?

I recently joined HP Laboratories.

6. What advice would you give SJSU students who want to pursue an advanced degree?

Start to prepare early. Gather as much information as possible. And don't be afraid to ask for help and advice.