Monday, April 22, 2013

Precious Gem: Mary Mirvis

Mary Mirvis: 
Team: Gene Therapy 
Major: Cell Biology and Genetics
Class of 2013
From: North Potomac, MD 

Our Precious Gem, Mary Mirvis, shares some of her thoughts and experiences being a part of the Gemstone program...
Not only was Gemstone a big addition to Mary's experience at the University of Maryland, but it also was one of the major reasons that Mary chose UMD.  As a rising PhD student, Mary was eager to get involved in as much research experience as she could and as such took advantage of both the Gemstone program and her own independent research where she worked in a lab with a graduate student.  

"All PhD students get research experience working in labs during their undergraduate career, but very few of them get the kind of experience I got in Gemstone. Gemstone lets students see all sides of research, not just (in our case) working at a lab bench following an experimental protocol. Doing extensive literature search, designing the project, writing project and grant proposals, and writing a comprehensive thesis and giving a professional presentation are invaluable skills for scientists that most people only learn at the graduate level or later. Having these experiences as an undergraduate firstly confirmed my desire and prepared me to be a biologist, and also made me a great candidate for top graduate schools. Interviewers were extremely impressed not just with the research project itself but also with my experience with the nitty gritty parts of the research process."

Over the course of her time in the Gemstone program, Mary and her teammates had many great experiences.  Of all of her Gems related experiences, winning grants was a standout moment for Mary. She and her teammates also enjoyed reviewing their data and seeing how their project had generated something new and significant that could be used by other scientists to further study and work in the field.  

Lastly, Mary offers her advice to incoming freshman: 
"Try to get a good idea of what it actually takes to accomplish what you want to accomplish. You have a limited time to finish your project and you want to make sure it can be done in that time. Also, doing research with a large group for a long-term project is a unique opportunity, so try to figure out each person's strengths as soon as possible and use them to the team's advantage to complete your project with the limited resources and time."
-Daniel Atlas: Class of 2013: Team Gene Therapy
-Steph Gross: Class of 2015: Team SILVER

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