What years did you participate in UROP?


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

Traditional UROP as a Freshman, and Research Scholars


What made you choose UROP?

Coming to Michigan as a freshman, I knew I was interested in biology, but I had no idea what research looked like in real life. I was immediately drawn to UROP because it offered an opportunity to explore my interests with practical experiences in real laboratories working to solve real problems.

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

UROP was the first time that I was able to participate in laboratory research. It was a perfect introduction, and I am still actively doing research 10 years later. Through UROP, the idea of "research" was demystified and I learned the ins and outs of how research really works at a place like Michigan.

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

My UROP mentors, Dr. Zora Djuric and Dr. Patrick Hu, and I still keep in contact! I am forever grateful for the time they spent working with me, and I try to let them know that whenever I can.

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

UROP directly contributed to my decision to pursue a PhD in the biological sciences after finishing undergrad. My experiences working in labs at Michigan meant that I was prepared to continue my growth as a scientist during grad school.

Where are you in your professional journey?

After graduating in 2014, I pursued a PhD in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My research focused on breast cancer genetics and understanding the consequences of genetic heterogeneity in tumors. Thanks to my experiences through UROP, I was well-prepared and a competitive candidate for grad school programs. Towards the end of my PhD, I started to come to the realization that I wanted to build a stronger connection between my research and the patients I was striving to help. I applied to medical school, and I am currently a second-year med student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Long-term, I plan on becoming a physician-scientist and working to take lessons from the laboratory to the clinic and back.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

Try to find a project that genuinely interests you. I was fortunate to find that, and I still think about the project in relation to things I'm working on now, many years later.

Don't sell yourself short. You can be a valuable part of any research team, even if you're not familiar with the topic. If you're engaged in the work, you will learn very quickly. Even those intimidating PIs and department chairs started somewhere!

This applies to all stages of your career, but try to find a mentor who will be invested in your success and who truly cares about you. I can confidently say that my mentors through UROP wanted to see me succeed, and I am grateful for their investment in me. Very few things can replace a mentor who finds joy in seeing their trainees flourish.

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

My publications (included ones from UROP!) can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=EseogggAAAAJ.

I'm also proud of my work mentoring students interested in health sciences who come from underrepresented minority groups through the Medical Education Resources Initiative for Teens (MERIT)(https://www.meritbaltimore.org/) and the Populi Foundation (https://www.populifoundation.org/).