What UROP Program were you a part of? 

The Traditional UROP Program during the 2013-2014 school year

What made you choose UROP? 

After I accepted my admission offer from Michigan, I knew I wanted to get involved in research here. That summer, I got an email about UROP, and I applied to be part of the program. It seemed like the perfect fit for me as an incoming student who wanted to do research but didn’t know where to start to find a research position.

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

It definitely helped me learn about what I was interested in academically. I was pre-med as a first-year student, but the different experiences I was exposed to while working in the lab made me realize that medicine was not my calling. Thankfully, my mentor gave me a lot of different experiences in the lab so I was able to figure out what my strengths were, as well as getting a clearer sense of what I liked and didn’t like about lab work.

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

Even almost seven years later, we still keep in touch! I still stop by the lab a few times a year to catch up. A strong connection developed between me and my supervisors because I stayed working in the lab after my one UROP year, and I stuck around because I really liked the environment I was in while working in the lab. The connections I made during my years in the lab provided me not only with strong professional references but also mentors that would always be happy to provide guidance.

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

After my first year in school and I moved on from the UROP program, I continued to work in the same lab for course credit through independent study (which I would highly recommend). I ended up working in the lab throughout college, and as full-time research staff for another two years after graduation. I feel like I learned more about biology from my lab work than I did in my biology major because I was doing the real, hands-on work that helped medical research create findings and ultimately get published. After two gap years, I enrolled at the School of Public Health here because the work I was doing in the lab was giving me a genuine look into the life of a research scientist. I feel like without all this experience in the lab, I would have had a much harder time figuring out a career path.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student? 

Be an ambassador for the program. I was surprised by how many students I talked to that felt like they had “missed the bus” by not being a part of the program as a first-year student. If you encounter this as well, encourage them to still apply to be a part of the program because the UROP program can be a seriously valuable part of your college experience. In addition, be honest and open about your experience in the program when talking with other students and potentially prospective students, even if your experience wasn’t perfect, so that future students will have a more informed sense of what to expect from the UROP program.

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

I am currently finishing up my thesis for my Epidemiology program here at Michigan, so I hope to soon have my first publication as the first author!

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

Make the most of your four years at Michigan. The time really does go by quickly, so soak up as much as you can. There’s so many perks to being a student, so use your time wisely so that you can graduate with a clear vision of what you want to do, both professionally and personally, and learn as much as you can so you’ll have the skills to accomplish whatever it is you hope to do after graduation.