Hometown: Rockford, IL
Undergraduate school: Augustana College – Rock Island, IL, 2006
Degree/field of study: Biochemistry
"I have always been fascinated with how things work. When it came time to find a graduate school, I was looking for a program built on friendship and collaboration, a place that used the strength of relationships between colleagues to do excellent science. Since I was also undecided on what to exactly study in graduate school, I was drawn to “umbrella” programs that offered opportunities in many departments. Michigan is a top-notch institution, and PIBS was one of the first umbrella-type programs. Most importantly, the atmosphere at Michigan seemed exciting as a community of science.
"I found the PIBS year to be helpful mostly in the sense of flexibility. The rotations during the PIBS year helped me find a lab and subject matter that I wanted to explore for these next few years. I had not considering psychiatric disease as an area of interest until I got here, and now I’m excited to be studying this complex area.
"I also love the faculty here. I am comfortable going to them for assistance, whether big or small questions, they are more than willing to help. I was especially thankful for some of them during my first year when I was struggling to adapt to the graduate environment, and they made time to talk with me and shared some stories from their graduate careers—they related to my situation and encouraged me when I needed that support.
"On a personal note, the best thing about the PIBS program is the friendships I’ve made with classmates who are in other programs. My first friends in Ann Arbor came through PIBS. I’ve made some great professional contacts in other fields that I can contact for help and advice. I enjoyed having friends who are sharing the graduate school experience, but not necessarily the exact routine as my program; we could empathize with each other as peers and support each other through the year."