Hometown: San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Undergraduate school: University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 2005
Degree/field of study: Chemistry
"I was introduced to the University of Michigan through the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP). During that summer, I interacted with students and faculty who made me feel welcome. I fell in love with the place and the people were really nice and helpful. I also established connections with different faculty who eventually wrote my letters of recommendation.
"While I was here, I attended an open house that the PIBS program hosted. At the time, I was not sure of what area of research I was really interested in, so the structure of the umbrella program was a big plus. During my interview, I was able to interact with different students and see what the University had to offer. Ann Arbor also seemed like a great place to live.
"When I first started I still had no idea of what I wanted to work in. It was in one of the courses I took as a first year that I first learned about the receptors I currently work with. After that class, I rotated in labs that work in that field and picked the one in which I liked both the research and people.
"The PIBS curriculum is really flexible and most of the courses you take during your first year are required by all of the programs so in whichever department you end up, you will be okay in terms of meeting the requirements.
"There are also so many faculty and labs to choose from that, at first, it was difficult to narrow down my interests. However, meeting the faculty before deciding on where to rotate really helped me out. The PIBS directors and advisors were really nice and are always available for the students. Through PIBS you can interact with different departments, which is good if you want to establish collaborations in the future. You also get to make friends from departments other than yours."