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Meet Current Students

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!

 

Lizbeth 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

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

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!