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Designing Your Own Academic Journey

In his research, Adam Nitenson studies personality, behavior and brain chemistry response to alcohol and drugs. He works with human subjects and his tools include an MRI scanner, a health questionnaire and statistical analysis.

Looking at an array of career options, he sees value in acquiring additional tools, specifically to address the business of science. That’s what prompted this doctoral candidate in Neuroscience to apply to Brown’s distinctive Open Graduate Education program. In the autumn, as part of the third cohort of the OGE program, he started his studies in the Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship Engineering (PRIME).  

“I want to strengthen my science communication skills, which will be useful in the job market," he explains. “Even [principal investigators] need to be able to navigate the business world to communicate and demonstrate techniques, for instance, beyond journals. 

“That knowledge can help you bring your research to a lot more people, whether through consulting or patents,” he says. “I want to be a link between science and business or industrial health.”

Applications for the fourth cohort of the Open Graduate Education program are due February 13.

Nitenson heard about the Open Graduate Education program and the PRIME degree while applying to graduate school. He had been interested in job-ready courses for business in STEM fields since his undergraduate days at Tufts University and was at the time employed by Massachusetts General Hospital as a clinical research coordinator.

His advice is to “come to Brown for your program and your research.” Get settled into the doctoral program, he says.  And if you are interested in the Open Graduate Education program, talk to your advisor, department head and the director of graduate study in the master’s program.

“Be very open,” he says. “Talk to the other program and learn about when you can take courses. Know the requirements and find out about the time commitment. Is there a thesis? This is not a club – you are doing a degree.”

The variety appeals to him. “I rarely do the same thing two days in a row,” he says. “When I focus on PRIME, I think about something completely different. It’s a refreshing difference.”

Credits: Profile by Beverly Larson; photos by Peter Goldberg.