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Instagram takeover: Rujuta Kshirsagar

Rujuta Graduation 2022 is right around the corner at Northeastern University! We’re sharing two Instagram takeovers featuring an undergraduate and graduate student, celebrating our soon-to-be graduates. This week, Rujuta Kshirsagar, a recent graduate of our Master of Science in Bioinformatics program, shares her experience with our community. Follow along for an inside look at her time in the College of Science!

Q: Why did you decide to enroll at Northeastern University and pursue a degree in bioinformatics?

After completing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biotechnology, I worked in the industry for four years. I always wanted to do something that would positively impact the patient community so I decided to move to the clinical side of biology.

During my experience as a biologist, I was amazed by the use of informatics to decipher vast and complex biological data. This realization made me see the tremendous potential bioinformatics has in clinical research. I then decided to pursue a formal degree in bioinformatics.

While researching MS in bioinformatics programs at various universities, my main focus was securing practical exposure within the formal education. Northeastern has an exceptional curriculum framework and is a perfect blend of academics, research, and experiential opportunities. Moreover, I knew pursuing a degree from a university with a focus on global and cultural diversity would only enhance my learning experience and better prepare me for future roles.

Q: Are there any particular faculty or resources that helped you succeed in this program?

The faculty and staff at the College of Science are excellent. They provided all the necessary guidance throughout the coursework and assignments, often going above and beyond to help when needed.

As an international student, I found the co-op course especially beneficial, preparing me for my co-op experience and future full-time role. Alex Susienka taught this class, making sure he was available for help in any area we needed assistance with, including resume writing, mock interviews, etc.

Professor Sophine Clachar and Professor Martin Schedlbauer taught data analytics courses, and these courses prepped me for R programming language, which I applied at my co-op and am currently using during my full-time job.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest strength of the bioinformatics program?

I think it’s the way the program is structured. The coursework exposes us to most of the bioinformatics concepts used in the industry. As a result, I gained various skills and knowledge, including R programming, data analysis, machine learning, statistics using R, networking, presenting and public speaking, critical thinking, and biotech ethics.

Q: Tell us about your co-op experience.

I experienced co-op at Ikena Oncology. My role consisted of working with scientists and helping analyze large complex datasets and derive meaningful conclusions. I also built analysis workflows for RNA-Seq and transcriptomic data.

As an international student, this experience also guided my understanding of the U.S. work culture. In addition, it allowed me to interact and connect with people from various backgrounds, strengthening my cultural agility.

Q: During your time at Northeastern, what were you involved with on campus?

During my time on campus, I was a residential security office proctor and a teaching assistant for two semesters for a Khoury College of Computer Sciences data analytics course.

Q: You graduated in December; what have you been doing since then?

I started working full-time with Kymera Therapeutics as Associate Scientist, Computational Biology, in February 2022. My role consists of building computational pipelines for biological data analysis.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of being a student at the College of Science and Northeastern?

It’s the campus diversity. My time here allowed me to work and interact with people from all over the world!

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