What years did you participate in UROP?


What UROP Program(s) were you a part of?

Traditional UROP as a Freshman, Research Scholars

What made you choose UROP?

When choosing an undergraduate institution to attend, I was looking for a place that would provide me with research opportunities beginning in my first year. A UM advisor told me about the UROP program, and it was a crucial factor in my decision to attend the University of Michigan.

What do you think you have learned from your UROP experience?

My UROP experience taught me an immense amount about the rigor, perseverance, and excitement of research. In UROP, I was never used as just an extra pair of hands in the lab, I was developing projects and collecting data, hands-on experience that has made more prepared and successful in my own research work as a PhD student. Most importantly, UROP provided me with the opportunity to learn that research is my passion and a career that I could pursue.

What is the extent to which you have kept in contact with your Research Mentor?

I have kept in close contact with my research mentors. Both have provided me with letters of recommendation for multiple applications (graduate school, grants, etc.), and we have continued to work together on multiple research collaborations.

How did your UROP experience shape or inform the next steps you took in your academic and professional journey?

My experience with UROP showed me that research is both my passion and a career that I could pursue. It provided me with essential experience that allowed me to pursue a PhD and a career as a Research Scientist. I now spend every day on my own dissertation research project, and I believe that my UROP experience played a key role in this journey.

Where are you in your professional journey?

I am currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University studying the evolution of biofluorescence in frogs.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

Utilize your UROP research experience and mentors beyond your current project. Discuss career possibilities, writing strategies, researchers at other universities, and more with them. Your mentors are incredible resources that want you to succeed and will help you with more than just your research project. Similarly, the skills you gain from your UROP research can be utilized far beyond the program; from writing to presenting to communicating ideas effectively- embrace the opportunities to improve these skills as well.

What are some recent publications or accomplishments that you are proud of?

I have developed a citizen science project and educational resource related to my PhD research called Finding Fluorescence: https://findingfluorescence.wixsite.com/home

Publications and Presentations:
Whitcher C. 2020. New Accounts of Biofluorescence in Several Anuran Genera (Hylidae, Microhylidae, Ranidae, Leptodactylidae) with Comments on Intraspecific Variation. Herpetology Notes 13: 443-447.

Makowicz AM, Daniel MJ, Jones BC, Rivers PR, Dye M, Kuzel MR, Guerrera AG, Kettelkamp S, Whitcher C, DuVal EH. 2020. Foundations and frontiers in mate choice. Evolution. doi:10.1111/evo.14018

The Phylogeny of Tropical Treefrogs of the Genus Dendropsophus. Oral presentation at the Society for Systematic Biologists Conference, Gainesville, FL, January 5, 2020.

Adler, K., Arnold, S., Ast, J., Brock, K., Burke, R., Carey, C., Congdon, J., Densmore, L., Duellman, W., Eidietis, L., Hedman, H., Heying, H., Jaslow, A., Lehtinen, R., Marino, J., Moon, B., Nussbaum, R., Pandelis, G., Pecor, K., Rabosky, A., Rabosky, D., Raxworthy, C., Summers, K., Tolson, P., Uzzell, T., Vitt, L., Westeen, E., Whitcher, C., Zawacki, C., Zug, G. Letters from Michigan Herpetology. UMMZ Special Publication. In editing.

Whitcher, C., von May, R., Rabosky, D. (MS) Ecomorphological structure of a diverse tropical anuran community. Manuscript in preparation.

Santa-Cruz, R, von May, R., Catenazzi, A., Whitcher, C., Lopez Tejeda, E., Rabosky, D. 2019. “A New Species of Terrestrial-Breeding Frog (Amphibia, Strabomantidae, Noblella) from the Upper Madre De Dios Watershed, Amazonian Andes and Lowlands of Southern Peru.” Diversity 11(9): 145.

Callaghan, B., Mictchinson, O., Ruiz, J., Whitcher, C. 2017. The Distribution and Effect of Non-Native Earthworms on Soil Structure in Northern Michigan. Deep Blue.