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Undergraduate Testimonials

Thinking about applying for a WiSE undergraduate research grant?

Read what other students have said about their experiences as a WiSE research fellow:

“This research project has contributed to my overall plan of study, specifically biomedical engineering by allowing me to apply concepts I have learned in my classes last year as well as this summer. Through analyzing the data, I was able to use some of the MATLAB skills from BME 101 as well as learn a few more that can be applied in my EE 150 class next year. I also spent this summer taking Physics 151 and 152, both of which supplemented the research I have been doing and allowed me to better understand force and torque in dance.”

-Divya Ramakrishnan, Biomedical Engineering, Summer 2012


“This summer I learned not only more than I imagined about the field of neuroscience, but also about how to function well in a laboratory setting. During our weekly lab meetings, I was able to formally hear about the progress made by my peers and supervisors in the lab, while monthly department journal clubs exposed me to other areas of neuroscience….”

-Morgan Cheeks, Biological Sciences, Summer 2012


“With support from WiSE both this summer and last summer, I was able to pursue extended lab research as an undergraduate. I have been working on two projects that require the same amount of responsibility and management expected from a graduate student. Given that I am considering PhD programs after I graduate, this experience has been invaluable. It has shown me both the challenges and rewards of experimental research and in particular, the amount of patience and dedication required in research. Finally, my research experience this summer has exposed me to fields of study I would not have otherwise encountered, giving me a more complete idea of the type of research I may want to pursue in the future.”

-Nishita Deka, Electrical Engineering, Summer 2012


“The WiSE fellowship has given me the opportunity to develop proper laboratory techniques and learn the correct manner to plan, perform, and present research. It has also allowed me to successfully progress in my research, which focuses on novel syntheses of telechelic (one functional groups on each end) polymers using various functional groups…The research has greatly expanded my knowledge of polymer chemistry. In order to compare and analyze the polymerization method used in my research, I have learned about several alternative polymerizations methods. Attending the weekly group meeting with the graduate students and professors has been very informative about the possible applications of the different polymerization methods as well as other current topics in polymer chemistry. I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to present the weekly research papers at several of the meetings and learned much from the exchange of insight into polymers. The research experience I gained throughout the WiSE fellowship and my research in the Dr. Hogen-Esch group in these past and upcoming semesters will be extremely helpful as I continue this project as well as my organic chemistry career.”

-Nancy Benner, Chemistry, Spring 2012


“My experience in Dr. Mohamed El-Naggar’s laboratory has allowed me to develop a wide variety of skills that make me a better student and scientist. In working closely with graduate student Ian McFarlane, I have learned a number of laboratory techniques, including bacterial transformation, protein staining, and bright field/fluorescence microscopy. I presented my original research at the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego in March,which taught me how to organize and present research for a diverse audience with varying amounts of background knowledge of the material. In addition, critique and discussion of published articles has developed my ability to understand and evaluate scientific information that I encounter. On the whole, this experience, which was greatly assisted by the WiSE Undergraduate Research Award, has given me an interdisciplinary introduction to scientific research and has increased both my ability and desire to excel in future projects.”

-Julia Lazzari-Dean, Chemistry, Spring 2012


“Through the WiSE Undergraduate Research Grant, I’ve gained a lot of research experience for my future goals. Not only have I learned techniques for how to handle, prepare, and quantify radioactive material, but I’ve also acquired the ability to complete independent research, including how to manage my schedule, and how to organize and analyze data. Furthermore, in the future, I would like to work in developing countries, helping to provide safe drinking water. Through my research, I’ve learned how to work with dangerous heavy metals, while also learning about more inexpensive alternative technologies, like nZVI, which would be very applicable abroad. The WiSe grant provided me with the opportunity to both explore and investigate a new, developing technology and to ready myself for my future goals.”

-Hannah Gray, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Spring 2012


“I cannot put in words how much I enjoyed my experience researching this summer and it is a venture I definitely plan to take for the rest of my undergraduate experience. I loved the experience Dr.Hsiai offered me this summer—everything from participating in Journal Club on a weekly basis, working with the many intelligent phD students, reading scientific articles to planning out experiments, continuously adapting new protocols and presenting data has greatly shaped my opinions of scientific research. I realized that in the scientific world, the characteristics of patience, communication and learning from failure are vital on an every-day basis…Additionally performing research introduces a new appreciation for the sciences because only by knowing the backstage works are we able to understand the magnitude and effort in the performance. This new appreciation will serve as an inspiration throughout my upcoming venture in Biomedical Engineering. I hope that my post graduate plans of attending medical school can be accompanied with a phD so that I can perform research as a career in the future.”

-Soumya Murag, Biomedical Engineering, Summer 2011


“The research experience I have gained through the WiSE program has introduced me to both the analytical and technical skills that also enable me to more assertively pursue a career as an environmental scientist on the frontlines of the planet’s most urgent scientific problems and uncertainties…I am now looking for graduate programs that satisfy my hybridized interest in water resources and humans in hopes of making a lifetime pursuit of understanding and improving how humans relate to their natural environment.”

–Leslie Petrie, Biological Sciences, Fall 2009


“Doing research this summer has been an invaluable opportunity to combine what I have been learning in my biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering classes to work on a real-life project. I have gotten a good taste of what it’s like to do graduate-level research and was able to talk to the PhD candidates in the lab about pursuing a masters or doctorate in engineering. I learned that research is a very slow and tedious process, but it is very exciting when an experiment finally works and the results are what I expected. It is thrilling to be even a very small part of a project that is pushing the boundaries of current medical technology.”

–Sarah Norgaard, Biomedical Engineering, Summer 2009


“In addition to gaining more laboratory exposure and dexterity, the WiSE research grant has allowed me to develop a broader understanding of the preparatory steps and scientific process that a researcher must undergo…by the end of the summer, I was even teaching fellow undergraduate and graduate students in my lab the techniques that I acquired. I plan to continue with my project by preparing and submitting a complete abstract using the data I attained during these summer months.”

-Althea Lyman, Biomedical Engineering, 2008


“I learned many things about molecular biology and research techniques that I otherwise would not have had access to until graduate school. But more than that, I learned a respect for the research method, the effort behind a truly original idea, and the state of thought necessary to live amongst the rigors of academia – things that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”

-Jennifer Xu, Biomedical Engineering, 2008


“Working on this project is the best job I have had yet. This is the first time that I have found a project that aligns perfectly with my interests. It was amazing to me how the project tested my knowledge in all the different areas that my major dips into. I had to use biology, as well as chemistry and engineering…I especially thank the WiSE program for helping me to achieve so much in such a short period of time.”

-Andrea Cheung, Chemical Engineering, 2007


“This summer was a really great experience! I had the opportunity to present my research project at one of our lab meetings as well as present a related scientific paper. I really enjoyed not just following a protocol, but instead being able to contribute new ideas and techniques to improve efficiency and results.”

-Michelle To, Biological Sciences, 2007


“My mentor was very excited about his work and his enthusiasm was contagious. This summer proved to be an excellent preview of graduate school…working in the lab on the weekends did not seem so bad when I was eager to see my results!”

-Jill Harunaga, Biological Sciences, 2007