Notre Dame’s unparalleled alumni network is opening opportunities for undergraduates to receive research experience with alumni at universities, hospitals, and other laboratories. Alumni bring their real-world experience and provide valuable career advice to students. The alumni enjoy the continued connection with the University and the opportunity to give back to a new generation of scholars.
The approach supplies new opportunities for the increasing number of undergraduates who want to do research. Some alumni have long mentored students during the academic year with visits and long-distance communication. The alumni mentorship program allows an alumnus anywhere in the country to open his/her research labs to an undergraduate student during the summer.
“The research I did over the summer opened my eyes up to the intensity and dedication that is required in order for new discoveries to be made,” said Alex Metoxen who was mentored by Michael Munks. “I learned so much more this summer than I could have ever learned sitting in a lecture hall or a lab at school.”
Past Alumni Mentorship Program Participants
Alumnus Michael Munks from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver mentored sophomore biology major Alex Metoxen in immunology. Alex studied the clotting protein fibrin and the white blood cell called a neutrophil to establish their roles in fighting infection.
Daniel Funk ND '89, associate professor at Vanderbilt University, mentored Charley Spear in the field of evolutionary ecology and evolutionary genetics of adaptation and speciation in herbivorous insects. Charley worked at the University of California Davis, gathering samples of Timema insects and studying their mating patterns, host-plant preferences, and morphology.
Laura Frazek ND ’05, currently a graduate student at the University of Iowa, mentored John Yerkes in improving the efficiency of the influenza virus vaccine.
Alumna Megan Frost, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University, mentored biochemistry major Lucia Qi, who worked on polymeric materials that are used to fabricate a wide variety of biomedical devices such as implantable sensors and catheters.
Alumni who are interested in providing a research mentorship should contact:
Xuemin (Sheryl) Lu
Undergraduate Research Director
College of Science
Michelle Whaley, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Research Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences