What made you choose UROP?

University of Michigan is world famous for its research and I wanted to experience it. I also wanted hands-on learning outside of the classroom where I was studying for my Cellular & Molecular Biology degree. Fellow students recommended the program to me as a great way to connect with a lab and learn how to be a researcher.


What years did you participate in UROP?

Traditional UROP 2009-2010

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

I learned how to conduct scientific research, how labs run, and how to build a poster to present at conferences. I also learned to think critically, ask questions, solve problems, collaborate, and the importance of experimenting - not being afraid to try something and have it fail, because you learn from every failure. Even 10 years later, I use these skills that I learned from my UROP experience.

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

I have not kept in contact with my original research mentor. After my first year of UROP, I found a different lab (ECLS Laboratory under the Department of Surgery). This lab also hosts several UROP students each year, but I joined separately as an undergraduate research assistant. I am very close to my mentor from this lab, Dr. Alvaro Rojas-Pena, and talk with him frequently.

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

I credit UROP with being a huge catalyst for my professional journey. After my UROP year with an EEB lab was complete, I moved to the ECLS lab as an undergraduate student assistant for two years. When I graduated, I was offered a paid position as a Research Technician. I worked in this lab for 5 years working on experiments with artificial organs and life support. After building my career with the lab, I was ready for the next step and decided to get my MBA at the U of M Ross School of Business.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

I have two pieces of advice.

First: focus more on the journey than the results. The final poster is valuable, but how you accomplished everything it took to make that poster is even more valuable. You will have a lot of "final posters" in your life - big projects - and you will know how to achieve these goals because you got to experience it in UROP.

Second: take advantage of the great network you now have access to. Talk to your mentor, post-doc, and research staff - they want to help you succeed. Ask them for advice, ask about their academic career and professional journey, and talk with them about your future - even if you are unsure exactly what you want to do. I am so grateful to my mentors over the years and make a point to talk with them frequently.

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

I am very proud of my work in the ECLS lab and was included on 8 publications including Journal of Pediatric Surgery and American Society for Artificial Organs Journal. I am also proud of graduating with my MBA in December 2019 and starting a new job working in technology for a supply chain software company.

Is there any other advice you would like to impart to current or future UROP students?

UROP is a wonderful resource even after you graduate! Another great reason to join UROP is the alumni network you will be part of and the shared bond between every UROPer.