Celebrating the graduates of Fall 2021: Sucheta Chakravarty

Meet some of the amazing members of the graduating class of Fall 2021 from the Faculty of Science.

Andrew Lyle - 18 November 2021

Meet Sucheta Chakravarty, member of the class of Fall 2021 graduating with a PhD in psychology from the Department of Psychology

Meet Sucheta Chakravarty, member of the class of Fall 2021 graduating with a PhD in psychology from the Department of Psychology.

This year, the University of Alberta is celebrating the achievements of our graduates with a virtual convocation ceremony on November 19. As we acknowledge the achievements of our graduating class, we’re sharing just a few of the amazing stories of our graduates.

This week, Sucheta Chakravarty graduates with a PhD in psychology from the Department of Psychology. Hear from her on growing her research and science communication skills over the course of her graduate studies, the power of having a great mentor, and advice on making use of the resources and support available to students in the Faculty of Science.

Congratulations, Sucheta! 

What led you to pick the University of Alberta for your studies?

I was drawn to the interdisciplinary research opportunities at the U of A, and more importantly, Dr. Jeremy Caplan — my PhD supervisor — and I connected very well when discussing our research ideas and approaches. Also, the administrative staff welcomed all communication regarding my application. It was a great decision to join the friendly environment offered at the U of A for my PhD!

Tell us about your experience in the Faculty of Science.

I have met some of the nicest people here and worked with instructors who are truly invested in creating a better learning experience for their students. I also had regular opportunities to deliver guest lectures and help create learning modules. These were extremely valuable experiences for me as a future academic. Dr. Caplan is an exceptional PhD supervisor and I feel privileged to be mentored by him. From working with multilevel statistical models to clearly expressing my thoughts when writing manuscripts and scholarship applications, there are so many things that I have learned from him on a first-hand basis. I have never had a question or concern that he couldn't help out with. While I miss running into Dr. Caplan and my labmates these days, I still collaborate with them on research projects and I am sure that we'll remain friends and colleagues in the future. 

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at the U of A?

There are many but if I have to pick one, it has to be one of those cold winter afternoons working in the Students’ Union Building when they'd light up a fire. I'd sit by the fire with some coffee and my laptop. Even better were the days when we'd work there as a lab!

What advice do you have for current and future students in the Faculty of Science?

You are in great company! The faculty and staff are highly knowledgeable, and are happy to help you, just reach out to them! There are great opportunities to explore different scientific directions and collaborate across different research labs. Take advantage of these opportunities. There are also many resources available for professional development, some of which can be tailored to your specific needs. Most of all, I am sure that just like me, when you look back at your time here, you will be glad to have made this choice. 

How have you spent your time during COVID-19 distancing?

I spent a major amount of time writing my thesis, meeting with my supervisor and other lab members over online platforms. I was also on the lookout for postdoc positions to pursue after PhD. When I had free time, I called up friends and family, did stretching exercises, tried new recipes, and watched some web-series. I also liked taking care of my plants and reading a book before bedtime.

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

I will be at work, as a postdoctoral researcher, during the day but I plan to go out for dinner with friends later.

What's next after graduation?

I am currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University, looking into neurocognitive markers of memory decline in healthy aging and preclinical Alzheimer's disease. I hope to establish my own research lab someday.