Brooke Immel, Sarah Vertel, and Carly Tuominen
Brooke Immel, Sarah Vertel, and Carly Tuominen are all working with Professor Cathy Bammert from the Department of Clinical Lab Sciences on her research. They are looking at the correlations between Staphaureus, Strep-Pneumo, and MRSA. They are researching the vaccine for Staphaureus, and how it may increase the chances for Strep-Pneumo, and also how Strep-Pneumo can lead to MRSA.
Brooke Immel chose to attend Northern Michigan University because of the Clinical Lab Science program and the Freshman Fellowship Program. “There are no opportunities like this anywhere else,” Immel Says, “at other universities you have to wait until you’re a junior or senior, and even then it’s super competitive.” She says the Fellowship is giving her lots of good hands on experience that is confirming that she really enjoys doing research in this field.
Sarah Vertel says she chose NMU because she loves the outdoors and Northern has a great atmosphere with lots of educational opportunities that will help her to succeed both during and after her undergraduate studies. She says that the Freshman Fellows program is not only helping her to do research right away, but it is also “boosting her confidence” by affirming that she can do real research that can make a difference in how diseases are treated.
Carly Tuominen lived in Marquette her whole life, but she actually had her mind set on the University of Minnesota. She was at the point where she was looking for her roommate when her high school Health Occupation class took a tour of West Science and the Clinical Lab Science facility. While she was on the trip, she met her now mentor Cathy Bammert, and she learned about the Freshman Fellowship Program. “I completely turned around and applied to NMU and I applied for the Fellowship,” she says, “I’m so happy I went on that trip because otherwise I would have never considered Northern and it’s such a great school.” Tuominen says the Freshman Fellowship program is helping her make professional connections early in her educational career who will be helpful to her for the rest of her life. She says that she feels like if she has a question, there are people who care and will help her with the answer.
Pictured from left to right are Carly Tuominen, Brooke Immel, and Sarah Vertel.
Tristan Ruiz is a biochemistry major and he is researching thimbleberry plants under his mentor Dr. Brandon Canfield from the Department of Chemistry. The research focuses on the phenolic content of the leaves and berries, which determines the plants antioxidant activity. According to Ruiz, Dr. Canfield began this project because although there is a lot of similar research in plants such as blueberries or raspberries, there is not much information about this research done on thimbleberries.
“I’m very happy with the work I’ve been doing here,” Ruiz says of his Freshman Fellows research, “and it’s very cool, being able to work in a chemistry research lab as a freshman.” Ruiz is grateful for the opportunity the Freshman Fellowship program has given him, as he believes that it will help him in his more advanced classes here at NMU and when he begins applying to graduate schools.
Although Tristan Ruiz had never been to Michigan before attending NMU, he says that the school was an easy choice for him. While he was living in Germany he was researching colleges all over the United States, and found that not only did Northern have great facilities and a relatively small population, but he would receive in-state tuition because he was a dependent of a member of the military. Ruiz says he is very happy with his choice of school and with the research he is doing here because of the Freshman Fellows program.
Chloe Rinkel, a chemistry and forensic biochemistry major from Royal Oak, MI, is assisting Dr. Lee Roecker from the Department of Chemistry in his professional research through the Freshman Fellows program. Chloe Rinkel and Dr. Roecker are currently studying the element cobalt, which typically bonds to six chlorides, and they are seeing if they can “knock off” the chlorides by having the chemical react with an organic molecule. This is replicating what other scientists have done, but they hope to move on to original experimentation with cobalt later in the year.
Chloe is enjoying her research and she appreciates the experience that the program is granting her. “Even though I have a chem lab, this is just sort of another real-world aspect that the lecture can’t tell you about,” she says, “A lot more can go wrong [in the lab] than you hear about in the lecture.”
Although she was originally drawn to Northern Michigan University because of all of the outdoor opportunities, Chloe said she chose to attend NMU because of its academic programs and its opportunities for undergraduate research, such as the Freshman Fellows program.