Matt Whitman

Matt Whitman

Department: Biology

Faculty Mentor: Bill Connor

When you entered Wake Forest as a first-year student, did you anticipate being able to pursue research with a faculty member?

No, I actually was not even expecting to be a science major let alone perform research as an undergraduate at Wake Forest.

How and when did you learn about mentored research and the URECA Center?

After my freshman year science class with Dr. Bill Connor I decided to pursue biology. I heard students talking about URECA from the very beginning, and professors promoted the center in the classrooms.

What led you to become involved in research as an undergraduate?

I was very interested in what I learned in biology class, and I saw the summer stipend as a great opportunity to see if research was something I wanted to incorporate in my future career plans.

Can you describe the relationship you have had with some of your faculty members?  What did you learn?  How did you learn that?

I have a really great relationship with my faculty mentor, Bill Connor, and I know I can talk to him about my own life as well as academia. He taught me how to design an experiment, and I discovered a new-found love for research. I spent the summer in a lab investigating treatments for a form of autism.

How has URECA influenced your ideas about scholarship and your life passions or work?

URECA helped me realize that I want research to be a part of my career and future plans. I am currently learning about higher methods of research in my senior biology classes, and participating in my own studies this summer has helped me get more out of the courses.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your experience doing mentored research?

It is a great opportunity to discover something you are passionate about. After graduation I am taking a gap year to conduct additional research while applying to medical school.

Categories: Student Interviews

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