Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$root.page}}

Meet Current Students

Want to learn more about what our students are up to? Check out our Instagram page.

Rachel Zhou

Rachel Zhou

Hometown: Canton, MI

Major: Economics and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience

Why MRADS?

I got a recommendation to apply and I was interested in trying out research. I remember thinking I wouldn't get accepted since I lacked research experience so it was so exciting and surprising when I received the acceptance email!

Favorite MRADS Memory

The interactive activities held especially the one about distressing during finals week. I loved painting and making crafts :)

Tell us a little bit about your research project

Each language is made up of different components so the project "The Bilingual Brain: Chinese and Spanish Acquisition in Children", is being conducted under the Department of Psychology's language and literacy lab which aims to use research to explore the relationship between bilingualism and brain development. Different brain mechanisms underlie language acquisition and this project inquiries that the brains of bilingual children ages 5-10 have a different structure and functions differently than the brains of monolinguals. This understanding the research brings allows educational structures to tailor to the learning abilities and paces of bilingual students whom may have brains that function differently.

Advice for incoming students

First year at college may not be a super smooth transition but it will get better! It's difficult to not get consumed in the moments but try to look past to something beyond where you are right now! There were many times when I felt empty and lonely on campus but eventually you can get yourself into a healthy routine (go workout or spend time doing something relaxing and enjoyable) and that void that may be really present at first gets better to handle. It is also totally normal to feel homesick. I live 30 minutes from campus yet I had a really rough time feeling like I belonged or if this University was a "home" because living on your own can be so different from being able to see family everyday. But again, college is a huge transition and there are so many supportive people and resources so don't be hesitant to seek help. Also, what I've learned is that it's important to hold on to your morals and don't let peer pressure change who you are and what you value. You'll find people who share similar values even if that may not happen at first! You are a lot stronger than you may think you are and don't feel like you're the only person feeling a certain way because that is most likely not the case. Good luck with your first year!

Benjamin Puzycki


Benjamin Puzycki

Hometown: Stevensville, MI

Major: Computer Science

Why MRADS?

Research was something I had done in the passed and enjoyed, so MRADS was a great way to guarantee myself research experience and a community of people to live with.

Favorite MRADS Memory

Participating in 'the scream' on the last day of classes.

Tell us a little bit about your research project

The research team I work with uses Twitter data to log occurrences of polling location complaints and characterizes them as either coming from a democrat or republican. I work with the unspecific locations of these twitter users to create a specific location using counties, towns, etc. This will allow us to create a map of polling complaints along with work through the same type of data faster in future elections.

Advice for incoming students

Do not fixate too much on studying. Grades are important, but in a few years it will be the experiences you had with other people that you will remember, not the letters on your transcript. If you manage your time well, it will be easy to make time for both studying and having fun.

Emily Liu

Emily Liu

Hometown: Troy, MI

Major: Business/Pre-Medicine Track

Why MRADS?

I chose MRADS because of both the community and the research aspect. Research and college always seemed like a daunting task but I believed having a community to relate to would make my transition to college smoother. Living in the same dorm helps cultivate intelligent discussions and close friendships and I wanted to meet people who had the same passion for discovering new ideas and knowledge.

Favorite MRADS Memory

Family Feud! 

Tell us a little bit about your research project

The type of leader who makes key decisions for the firm may impact the overall performance of the company. We are studying how the leadership characteristics shape the innovation-driven performance of S&P 500 companies by analyzing the relationship between several variables, such as year founded, sales per employee, media spending, and operating expenses, on which data was collected through secondary sources. We hope to uncover the best management structure for businesses to obtain optimal performance.

Advice for incoming students

I didn't realize the diversity of research projects that you can do at the University of Michigan as a freshman. When I first started looking for a project, I was only focused on lab research because I thought that's what medical schools wanted to see.But research doesn't have to be science related. My research project isn't, and it has taught me many valuable skills and I have learned some really interesting things about the performance of many companies. If you have a passion that is not science related or in addition to your interest in science, you can pursue that as well.

Alexander Hsia

Alexander Hsia

Hometown: Denver, CO

Major: Computer Science Engineering

Why MRADS?

In addition to offering undergraduate research opportunities to freshman, I wanted to join MRADS because I wanted to be part of a supportive close-knit community. The learning community offers you a diverse and supportive environment with the resources and tools for you to smoothly transition into Michigan and to succeed in your first year.

Favorite MRADS Memory

My favorite memories from MRADS are the Tea Times. Tea times are these fun get togethers where we meet new learning community students and former members of MRADS. Plus, there's free tea, apple cider, and donuts!

Tell us a little bit about your research project

My research project focuses on analyzing captured data packets that flows into unused internet IP spaces; this phenomenon is also known as "Internet Background Radiation." I have been working with the Merit Network's Research and Development Team to code programs that are able to analyze the collected data and look for specific trends within them. Through this project, I have been able to develop my programming skills (in Python specifically) and have learned a lot about computer networking and the internet's structure.

Advice for incoming students

Don't shy away from trying out new things and be willing to explore all the opportunities you have. You only get one chance to be a freshman!

Liz Gonzalez

Liz Gonzalez

Hometown: Weston, FL/Mexico

Major: Neuroscience

Why MRADS?

Since I was 7 years old I have wanted to contribute to cancer research. The fact that MRADS would give me the opportunity me to have research experience as a freshman was a dream come true. Furthermore, I did not know anybody at the university when I first arrived. I knew that through MRADS I could easily meet people that have different interests and shared my passion for research. Indeed, through MRADS I have created a family away from home and have learned skills that will aid me in my future career and personal life.

Favorite MRADS Memory

There are soooo many memories that I have made through MRADS. MRADS is basically my college experience. One of my favorite memories is helping the freshman move in. I remember how nervous and excited I was when I first arrived to Michigan and I was glad to be able to help the incoming MRADS members move in and assure them that I was there for them in case they needed anything. Because I know how great of a community MRADS is, it was very easy to communicate my passion for the community to the incoming freshman. Meeting new people, lofting beds, laughing around the halls was just a great memory.

Tell us a little bit about your research project

Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults with a high mortality rate. In fact, only 5% of glioblastoma patients survive for more than 2 years. It was recently known that CD133 could be utilized as a marker to identify cancer stem cells in glioblastoma patients. However, it has been found that CD133 negative patients have also developed glioblastoma. Therefore, the goal of this project is to identify other markers and additional cancer stem cell signature to hopefully aid in the development of new glioblastoma treatments.

Advice for Incoming Students

Never be afraid to ask for help. You are surrounded by kind, intelligent people that care for you and from you can learn so much.

Alison Lo

Alison Lo

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Major: Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Why MRADS?

Attending a university of 40,000 students was incredibly daunting, and so I wanted to find my niche group of peers that were also interested in constant discovery and learning. Furthermore, MRADs provided me with an opportunity to learn about what other people were truly passionate about; an opportunity I would not otherwise have if I retreated into my major. Lastly, as a returning student to this program, I have come to appreciate the sheer amount of effort on behalf of everyone to create an intimate community and strong support system for the freshmen. Tell us a little bit about your research project

Favorite MRADS Memory

Within MRADs I facilitate a social justice group, and my main goal with this group was to create a safe environment conducive to discussions about sensitive topics. It was incredibly gratifying for my group to actually respond to the discussions, and to have open-minded conversations about themselves and social justice.

Tell us about your research project

I worked on a project under the Political Science department, where we researched whether President Trump caused a national increase in hate crimes committed. We collected hate crime data from city departments to study the "Trump Effect". We hypothesized that his effect was that his rhetoric cemented pre-existing prejudices and emboldened individuals to commit more hate crimes.

Advice for incoming students

There is so much you can learn from other people, so take advantage of the network MRADs provides you with.

Marius Kongsøre

Marius Kongsøre

Hometown: Thisted, Denmark

Major: Physics & Mathematical Sciences

Why MRADS?

I initially chose MRADS because it was a gateway to doing research at UM, but it turned out to be much more. Since I had just moved to the US, it wasn't always easy figuring out what was up and what was down. MRADS immediately provided me with a home away from home and made my transition to college a lot smoother.

Favorite MRADS Memory

My freshman year, I cooked traditional Danish pancake balls with my Peer Advisor and another sophomore. It was a big undertaking, but it ended up being an enormous success. Lots of people came down to the MoJo kitchen to taste what we had cooked up, and we soon had a small Christmas party on our hands - with Christmas music, good food, and most importantly, lots of great people.

Tell us about your research project

My freshman year, I did research at the Department of Climate and Space Sciences. The main objective of my lab was to study astrophysical phenomena such as supernovae by building small laser targets and then shooting them with a super powerful laser. I worked on developing an X-ray spectroscopy experiment that enabled us to measure the thickness and density of ultrathin gold films that were used in the laser targets.

Advice for incoming students

You are part of an incredibly diverse community. There is so much to learn from talking to your peers, so make an effort to try to engage with as many of them as possible, even if they aren't someone you'd usually talk to. They'll appreciate it at least as much as you will!