Chris Tokita, *21, EEB


Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Chris did his Ph.D. with Corina Tarnita in the Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Sitting at the intersection of computational biology and computational social science, his dissertation studied social networks, collective behavior, and information flow in social systems—from ant colonies to social media. Upon graduating with his Ph.D., Chris joined the cybersecurity startup Phylum, where he is using his computational skillset and scientific background to build a safer internet and software ecosystem. At Princeton, Chris was a Diversity Fellow in the Access, Diversity, and Inclusion team at the Graduate School and was also a co-founder of his department's EEB Scholars Program, a preview program for underrepresented students hoping to pursue a PhD. Prior to graduate school, Chris did his undergraduate studies at Yale University and spent two years working in federal science policy in Washington, DC.

"I absolutely treasure my time at Princeton and as a graduate student. I'm so happy that—thanks to my graduate education and programs like GradFUTURES—I am able to pursue a fulfilling and intellectually challenging career on my terms (for example, I just moved back to my beloved Los Angeles after 11 years away from home!).

GradFUTURES provided an organized way for grad students like me to expand our professional horizons. It's easy to get tunnel vision in your Ph.D., but programs like GradFUTURES helped me continue to think through what I want in my future career and realize the options that were available to me!

What advice do you have for current graduate students regarding their professional development?:

Don't be afraid to weigh other options, even if you are pretty sure you want to stick with an academic career! There are plenty of careers that can offer intellectual and fulfilling work. I think it is a mistake to think that an academic career is the only way to remain a researcher, analyst, scientist, intellectual, or meaningful contributor to society (with absolutely no disrespect to academic careers, which are great too!)."

Yes, I am open to being contacted by Princeton Graduate Students for an informational interview!

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