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Alumni Profiles

MRADS alumni pursue a wide range of academic and career paths after they leave the University. Read below to learn more about each of the featured alumnus's endeavors, their experience with the MRADS, and their advice for current MRADS students.

Andrew Jaeger

Years in MRADS: 2016-2017

Bachelor of Science in Microbiology

Minor in History

Quynh Kieu

Years in MRADS: 2015-2017

Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience

Minor in Translation Studies

Nicole Davies (DeSousa)

Years in MRADS: 2010-2012

Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education


Benancio Rodriguez

Years in MRADS: 2016-2018

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Minor in Spanish Language, Literature, Culture

Brendan Whitney

Year in MRADS: 2016-2020

Bachelors in Organizational Studies and Psychology

Minor in Spanish Literature, Language, and Culture

Emily Francis

Year in MRADS: 2016

Bachelor in Biomedical Engineering



Audrey Funwie

Years in MRADS: 2017-2019

Pursuing a Major in Cognitive Science

Minor in Science, Technology and Society

David Nguyen

Year in MRADS: 2015

Bachelor of Science in Information

Minor in Business Administration

Javier Taylor

Years in MRADS: 2014-2016

Computer Science BSE

Minor in Entrepreneurship

Michelle Fan

Years in MRADS: 2016-2018

Bachelor of Business Administration

Minor in Intergroup Relations Education

Celine Barthelemy

Degree: University of Michigan, Master's of Public Health, 2011

Current Position: I work as a Project Officer at the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation, a global population health research institute affiliated with the University of Washington. I help coordinate a small research team conducting analytical studies focused on Universal Health Coverage, Healthcare Access & Quality, and Human Resources for Health. After my MPH, I spent time implementing electronic medical record systems across the US, working as a Public Health Director with an NGO in Ethiopia, and running operations for a tiny maternal health organization in Seattle. My experience in global health and research has been a bit broad and varied in the past decade, and I look forward to getting more involved in health program development, implementation, and evaluation in the coming years.

Molly Grant

What are your degrees? If you have future plans, what are they?

I graduated in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Upon graduation, I interned at The White House in the Office of the First Lady. In Fall 2018, I will begin law school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I hope to work in entertainment law in the future and possibly return to politics later on. 

Besides research, what was your involvement in the community? What was your favorite memory?

I returned to the community my sophomore year as a peer advisor for the Ethics group. During that spring, I supervised MRADS presenters at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Asheville, North Carolina. It was a great experience seeing first year students proudly present their research in such a professional, confident manner.

My favorite memory while in MRADS was traveling to Spokane, Washington my freshman year to present my research project at NCUR. Michigan was one of only a handful of schools to showcase first year student presenters. I am grateful that MRADS allowed me to attend the conference so early in my college career because I was able to use the knowledge I acquired to later conduct my own research capstone project.

What is something you learned while being in the community?

One of the most valuable lessons I learned is that you define your research. I remember coming to college worried that my interest in politics would never warrant "real" research. MRADS immediately disputed that myth by allowing me to study important questions that fully represented my interests in the social sciences. As a result, I realized that research does not take one universal form, but is rather unique to the individual. Being part of a community that studied topics as diverse as engineering, linguistics, and dance motivated me to pursue a question I was most passionate about, and hence contribute a small nugget of knowledge to the incredible breadth of research that happens at the University of Michigan.

Any advice for current community members?

If you see an opportunity for enrichment, do not hold back due to fear of failure. Whether that means applying for an internship, writing a thesis, or taking a course in an unfamiliar discipline, taking that first step may lead to new interests or possibilities. You also have an incredible support system in the MRADS community to reach out to for advice and encouragement. Initiative, coupled with an unparalleled work ethic, will make you unstoppable!

Nathan Wood

What are your degrees? If you have future plans, what are they?

I majored in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry for my Bachelor's degree and continued with the SUGS program (within the College of Engineering) for a one-year Master's degree in Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Currently, I work as an Associate Scientist at BASF working on 3D printing materials. 

As of right now, I do not have any immediate future plans.  I do keep the thought of going back to graduate school for a PhD or MBA very close in the back of my mind, though.  

Besides research, what was your involvement in the community? Also, what was your favorite memory of the program?

During both of my years as part of MRADS (serving as a Peer Advisor my second year) I was fairly involved in coordinating the IM soccer team for the community, possibly the greatest team MRADS has ever seen on the field.

As far as my favorite memory of the program, a group of us really wanted to get good seats for the Michigan vs. Notre Dame for the "Under the Lights II" game where some camped out and other left in the wee hours of the morning of the game to wait in line.  Needless to say, after 8+ hours sitting in that line our group of friends got front row seats to the game.

What is something you learned while being in the community?

What I learned and ultimately think had the greatest impact on me during my time in college was by the group of people I surrounded myself with. With MRADS, you are already off to a good start - nearly everyone in the community has similar interests and motivations.  After thinking through other activities or things that made an impression on me as a student (joining an engineering club, volunteering, research etc.), surrounding myself with people as or more drive than me was the most important.  My closest friends to this day come from those first two years I was part of MRADS, and those people and time in the community really helped bring me to where I am today.

I also learned that the process for joining a research group is not as difficult or intimidating as many make it out to seem.  Professors and graduate students are regular people (albeit pretty smart people), and as long as you have confidence in yourself and express an interest/drive to work in their lab, there is a pretty good chance you will get that opportunity.

Any advice for current community members?

Your time in college really is the perfect time to try new things out.  If you think an art class or trying out for the Ultimate Frisbee team sounds interesting but you haven't done anything like it before, just do it! It doesn't have to be a permanent part of your routine forever. Don't not do something if you worried by what others think about it.