Adam Carte, a senior at West Virginia University, has been traveling across the United States interviewing with Ph.D. programs in biological and biomedical science at top-tier universities, all while preparing for graduation in May.
Carte is a first-generation college student from Hico, W.Va., studying biochemistry with a minor in biology.
He currently serves on the WVU Student Government Association Board of Governors and founded the WVU Association of Undergraduate Researchers.
When Carte began his college career, he originally wanted to attend medical school because he excelled in math and science in high school.
However, after conducting research in a biology lab his sophomore year, Carte said he realized he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. rather than a M.D.
“I think I can contribute more to science than I can to medicine,” Carte said. “Understanding the fundamentals and molecular biology are probably where my skills fit best.”
Carte said he has always been passionate about science and understood that, if he were to attend medical school, he would only be practicing a subset of science.
“I realized if I went on to get my M.D. I wouldn’t really be a scientist anymore. I would be practicing medicine,” Carte said. “If I get a Ph.D., I can be a scientist and continue doing something I love.”
Carte applied to 10 different graduate programs at eight different schools and accepted seven interviews from some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country.
“It’s been a lot of work. I’ve had to write a lot of essays, and I’m thankful for the professors who wrote letters of recommendation for me,” he said.
Carte was recently accepted into the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at the Harvard Medical School of Harvard University.
He interviewed with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Harvard Systems Biology program and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Biology program, but Harvard BBS is the first program from which he has heard back .
Carte will finish his interviews at Rockefeller University, Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley.
In order to be taken into consideration for these programs students need a high grade point average, a high GRE score, research experience and letters of recommendation from professors.
Applicants are also required to submit a personal statement outlining their background information, research interests and future plans.
These programs are seeking students who have the aptitude to grasp the challenging concepts of biology and biochemistry. They are also looking for students who have adequately prepared themselves for careers in the field of science during their undergraduate education.
Carte said he contributes his success in his undergraduate career to hard work.
“I have a drive to succeed and outperform students coming from more prestigious universities, and I’ve really worked hard for what I’ve accomplished,” Carte said.
Carte said his final decision will be based upon which program suits him best.
“In the past few weeks I’ve met Nobel Prize winners and scientists who have written my textbooks,” Carte said. “This has been a great experience, and it’s nice that I have Harvard to fall back on.”