Diane Haynes Memorial Award: Matthew Pennell
Presented to an outstanding graduate student in the College of Science.
My name is Matthew Pennell.
I am from Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada.
Why did you choose UI?
I came to the U of I to study with my future advisor, Dr. Luke Harmon. I thought his research was exciting and several mentors from my undergraduate institution encouraged me to go work with him. I knew very little about the school, Moscow, or Idaho before arriving—and honestly I was initially hesitant to move to a small town in a foreign country—but came to love it here.
Mathematical Statistics, taught by (now Dean of the College of Science) Dr. Paul Joyce.
Dr. Luke Harmon
The Harmon lab, of course.
The evolutionary history of sex chromosomes.
Study early or procrastinate?
As a grad student, there are no deadlines; no matter how much one gets done, there is always more to do.
Dorm or Greek?
Intramural Sports or Student Clubs?
Ultimate Frisbee, occasionally
What are your plans for after graduation?
I am moving back to Canada to do postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
What should incoming first-year students know?
While everyone expects graduate school to be intellectually challenging, few people realize how much of an emotional slog it is. It is incredibly easy to fall into a spiral of self-doubt—nobody cares about me; I am not smart enough; my research doesn't matter; I won't be competitive for jobs. Learning to be resilient to the (frequent) blows to your confidence is the real struggle of grad school; research is easy by comparison.
What advice do you have for other students in your major?
Keep a regular schedule. Find interesting people to collaborate with. Write. All the time.