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The relief of completing my graduate coursework and becoming an “official” doctoral candidate came with the excitement of finally being able to focus entirely on my thesis project studying the effects of dietary polyphenols on human DNA topoisomerases. Without the distractions of classes and exams, I was able to gain a better appreciation of the life of an academic research scientist and the responsibilities principal investigators have in maintaining a successful research program at a reputable institution such as Vanderbilt University. To gain more insight into being a principal investigator, I embarked upon one of their most vital tasks, developing a grant proposal. Although this was an invaluable and rewarding experience, I was fortunate to know that regardless of the outcome, my aspirations of obtaining a Ph.D. would not be derailed. I was aware, however, ...