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Alumni Profiles

WISE RP alumni pursue a wide range of academic and career paths after they leave the University.  Click on the following names to learn more about each of the featured alumna's endeavors, her favorite memories of the WISE RP, and her advice to WISE RP students.

Sarah Ilkhani-Pour | Philadelphia, PA
University of Michigan, B.S.E., Biomedical Engineering, Dec 2009; M.S.E., Biomedical Engineering, May 2010

Sarah is currently pursuing a PhD in Bioengineering at University of Pennsylvania.  Upon completion, she hopes to teach as a professor.  Sarah describes a typical day: My research is on tendon injuries and rotator cuff repairs.  I spend my days in the lab doing mechanical testing and histology on rat tendons.  Currently, one project in which I'm involved investigates the effects of high cholesterol on tendon mechanical properties.  The other project investigates the effects of immobilization (versus normal activity) following a rotator cuff repair surgery.  Essentially, I get paid to learn.

Sarah recalls her favorite memory of the WISE RP: As a peer mentor my sophomore year in the WISE RP, I organized for my mentee group to decorate picture frames together.  It was a fun way for us to chat and unleash our creative sides.  I felt like we all opened up a bit more.

Words of wisdom from Sarah: It's okay to not know what you want to do with your life, and you may not know the answer for a while.  My advice, though, is to pursue something-- anything-- rather than waiting for something to come to you.  It's better to be active than passive; you'll gain new skills more quickly, more easily learn what you like and don't like, and build a network to help you along the way. The best part is you can ALWAYS change your mind and switch to something else if you determine that your original (or second, third, fifteenth...) plan isn't really what you want.  So join that new club, declare that major, try that sport, and live your life!

Sarah passes on some advice: Everything happens for a reason.  It's cliche, but when you live your life thinking in this way, you begin to see puzzle pieces fitting together perfectly.

Anjuli Jain Figueroa | Cambridge, Massachusetts
University of Michigan, B.S.E Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2009

Anjuli is currently pursuing a master's degree in Technology and Policy at MIT.  She describes a typical day:  The most important aspect of graduate school is research.  I interact with my research group and my advisor. I spend a large part of my time reading journals and articles, developing models of water resource allocation and writing papers to keep current on my research topic.

Anjuli recalls her favorite memory of the WISE RP: Two of my fondest memories from WISE RP events are the "Pies on WISE" and painting a mural in the East Quad Cooley Zero hallway with residents.

Words of wisdom from Anjuli: Take advantage of all the resources the university has to offer: join activities, go abroad, play a sport, learn a new language, lead a society. All these are part of the university experience and will help make you a better rounded person for any future endeavors.

Anjuli passes on some advice:  Learn to focus; whatever you choose to do with your time, give it your full attention.


Keli Klein | Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan, Bachelor’s in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science, 2005; Master’s of Social Work, 2006

Keli is currently a clinical social worker in the UMHS Emergency Department. She describes a typical day: On a typical day in the ED, I see patients who come in after traumatic events such as car accidents, attempted suicides, sexual assault, child abuse, etc. But I also see some people who have less emotionally trying crises – kids who got injured playing sports, someone who got a blood clot after having surgery, a patient who needs stitches because they cut themselves cooking. For all of them, I assess for any needs that are urgent, from finding a funeral home after a patient dies to helping someone call a neighbor to feed their dog while they are in the hospital. I have learned a lot about medicine because I am often the one who has time to spend with family members while the physicians and nurses are busy treating the patient. Especially in trauma situations, I have to interpret for the family what the various members of the medical team are saying.
I also participate in the Disaster Planning committee for the social work department, the code (cardiac arrest) response team for the hospital, and various quality improvement projects. I recently wrote a personal experience article about my work that was published in an online journal for health care professionals.

Keli recalls her favorite memory of the WISE RP: My favorite part of the WISE RP was the career-oriented WISE Nights, when someone would come to speak about their profession. Even if I didn’t really want to become an OBGYN physician or an astronaut, I loved hearing about all the different opportunities out there.

Words of wisdom from Keli: The University of Michigan can be intense. Classes, grades, and exams are only so important; you need to do well enough to get a degree and know what you’re doing. But in the real world, when you are applying for a job, no one asks what your GPA was or how well you did on the orgo final. They want to know if you are a person who can collaborate and work on a team, who is well-rounded with a balanced life so you won’t burn out in your career. Don’t work so hard to get stellar grades that you can’t enjoy being a college student, make lasting friends, and keep in touch with your family.

Keli passes on some advice: Pick your battles. Sometimes, the relationship is more important than being right or winning the argument.


Dayna J. Le Platte | Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan, Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology, MD, 2008

Dayna is currently a psychiatry resident at the University of Michigan. She describes a typical day: I take care of patients in various clinical settings (the hospital, outpatient clinic, community mental health system). Also, I am a part of the research track and I also spend time doing research that relates to my various clinical interests - Women's Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Preventative Medicine, Public Health, and Community Based Interventions.

Dayna recalls her favorite memory of the WISE RP: I have a number of wonderful memories. It is hard to determine which one is my "best." I really enjoyed hearing from other women in science and engineering. I loved listening to their stories, I also have found memories of building strong relationships with the girls on my floor - studying, laughing, and encouraging one another.

Words of wisdom from Dayna: Think about your goals, both long term and short term. Write them down and place them in a special place where you can see them everyday.  Always commit yourself to excellence. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. Start learning about how to build balance into your life now. You want to work hard but also play and enjoy this time in your life. Take too many pictures. Laugh too much. Make new friends.  Follow your passion.  Believe in yourself even if there is doubt all around you. Clear your mind of the word "can't." Think big and dream bigger.

Dayna passes on some advice: "Take one day at a time" and "Here is the key to success and the key to failure: we become what we think about..."

Becca Rosenbaum | Washington DC
University of Michigan, Bachelors and Masters in Industrial and Operations Engineering (through the SGUS program), 2009

Becca currently works for a government consulting company called LMI, doing logistics consulting for different government programs. She describes a typical day: Really, everyday is different for me depending on what specific project I'm working on and I love that my work is always changing!  I would say an average day starts with checking and responding to emails, then spending most of the day sitting at my computer doing things like running analysis in Excel, writing a computer program, doing research on the internet, or a variety of other things.  I also have several meetings in the office and sometimes go to a government office to meet with the client or do work there. 

Becca recalls her favorite memory of the WISE RP:  I'd say my best specific memory was the WISE/MRC formal my freshman year.  I remember the fun we had getting all dressed up and everyone sitting in the hall together doing our hair and make up.  In general though, I also have great memories of just hanging out in the dorm with girls who are still some of my best friends today!

Words of wisdom from Becca:  Try not to worry so much about everything and just enjoy your time at school!  I think when I was at school we were all worried about doing well on all our exams, choosing the right major, and picking the right job.  In the long run, doing poorly on one exam won't hurt you, your major can always be changed, and it's ok to try out a few jobs before finding the one you're really passionate about.  Try not to sweat the little things and enjoy your time at Michigan because it'll over before you know it!

Becca passes on some advice: "You can do anything for a year."  Great advice to keep in mind when it comes to trying out a new job or new city that you might be nervous about.