Andrei (third from the right) with his first-year MRADS mentees.

    Greetings! I'm Andrei Ursu, a sophomore at the University of Michigan and a student leader at MRADS (Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars)! Michigan Learning Communities (MLCs) are small, thematic communities situated across campus within different residential halls, aiming to foster tight-knit communities of students sharing common interests. Whether it's health (HSSP), writing (LSWA), or research (MRADS), MLCs offer residential programs, bringing students together in the same building on the same floor, facilitating the formation of lasting ties and friendships. Opting for an MLC provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a large, renowned university while relishing the one-on-one camaraderie associated with smaller institutes.

    But, before we get too into the weeds, who am I? What do I think of MRADS and MLCs? Well as I said above I am currently a sophomore here at U of M and in MRADS, and will be returning next year! (Can’t wait to meet the new freshmen!) I study chemical engineering and am a member of the Romanian Students Association. I have conducted research for the past two years with nanoparticles and ways to apply them in a variety of situations. To say I love MRADS would be an understatement of insane proportion. All of my closest friends are from MRADS and I have had such amazing experiences and memories with them, ranging from getting donuts at 6:00 am to the best group conversations at 2:00 am on a Tuesday morning in the restrooms. I wouldn’t change a thing about my college experience so far. I highly encourage anyone to look into MLCs even if there is a fit better for you than MRADS. 

    Now, what sets MRADS apart? Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRADS) is the most selective MLC on campus, emphasizing research across various disciplines and fields. It forms a diverse community that inspires students to excel in their professional, academic, and personal lives. Contrary to common stereotypes that associate research solely with the sciences and STEM-related fields, MRADS welcomes exploration in the Humanities and Social Sciences, delving into subjects like economics, psychology, sociology, and political science! Regardless of major, college, or past experiences, engaging in research provides an excellent gateway to enter a field of interest, build a network, and enhance a resume. MRADS supports students from initiation to completion, aiding them in crafting resumes, cover letters, developing interviewing skills, and establishing contracts with their labs.

    The scope of research within MRADS is broad and diverse, ranging from interviews to hands-on computer work or even experiences with cadavers for those pursuing pre-med studies. The MRADS experience is truly incredible and eye-opening, offering a unique opportunity for students to explore and contribute to their chosen fields. We offer opportunities to incoming freshmen such as attending the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), while also hosting a symposium at the end of the year for each student to present the research they conducted or contributed to over the year. 

    And yet, MRADS provides more than just research. MRADS also helps students academically, offering personalized study groups in conjunction with the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) MLC. It holds events such as our incredibly successful ice skating event and holiday cookie decorating which facilitates student interactions and friendship formation.I could go on all day about my MRADS experiences so if you have any questions please reach out to my email. I would love to speak to any interested students!Best of luck with your college decisions! 

Andrei Ursu