2013 Alumni Journals

Valeria De La Rosa-Reyes – UPR at Humacao

The summer I spent in SRIP was an unforgettable experience. in collaboration with the laboratory where I participated in research, I learned many new things, including work with research models that I had never used previously.  The university environment is very quiet and university employees are friendly. I encourage all undergraduates wanting summer research internships in research to apply. This was an enriching experience.


Godfrey Dzhivhuho – University of Venda

I had a great summer experience at University of Virginia. I would like to thank the SRIP program for allowing me to be part of this group. It was the best experience of my life ever in the academic field. Being the first summer research internship I ever attended, I did not know what to expect. But from day one, everyone was so friendly and interested in what we are doing in the academic field. This really gave me a different point of perspective about the science field more than I ever thought. The organizers of the program were very friendly and easily accessible to answer questions or just to talk. They made sure that we were both learning and enjoying our summer.
I also enjoyed the daily lunch lectures and weekly rotations were very interesting and we were able to meet and network with clinical and lab researchers throughout the summer. There were also many opportunities to hang out with the other medical students and the program also organized a few social events for us. I lived in one of the dorms on campus and I found that it was very easy for me to get around.
Charlottesville is great: safe, fun, and beautiful to come and visit, especially the University of Virginia. I enjoyed going to restaurants found in the location called The Corner. All in all, it was a great summer. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in learning more about Medical Science and what the field of research is all about. This program has made me find a new appreciation for research and I plan to further my research skills as I progress through my studies.

Norma Elizaga – University of Guam

Being a participant in the UVA SRIP program was a great experience, both academically and socially. Coming from a small university, I was exposed to a great amount of the biomedical research field here at UVA. I learned much from the projects that I worked on, including the ever so common pitfalls of research, and enjoyed every bit of it. The weekly lectures given by faculty that the program provided were very beneficial, notifying students of graduate opportunities and essential research behaviors. On top of the research experience, meeting others from different backgrounds and interests was exciting; I made many new friends and memories here in Charlottesville. The area, in particular, is very peaceful and clean. The people are friendly and welcoming. I recommend students come and experience what this program and Charlottesville has to offer.

Welay Megos – University of Maryland Eastern Shore

In my ten weeks staying in Charlottesville I made a clear decision that it is the right place for me. Apart from the beauty of the city this summer was the most unforgettable in that I gained extraordinary research skills such as: group work, scientific thinking and presentation, and of course laboratory skills. The people at UVA are very helpful and the environment as a whole was very safe. I made great friends, as close as family relationships, especially with my mentor, lab mates, program director, coordinator and SRIP students.


Luis R. Millan Barea – UPR Mayaguez

The Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) here at the University of Virginia is a great resource and experience for every student pursuing a doctoral career. Being a member of the program is an excellent way of applying everything you have been taught in previous courses during the development of your scientific life. Exposing yourself to the ‘real thing’ is what actually gives you room to grow as a scientist. The daily basis research experience I was exposed to helped me develop and reinforce my abilities, such as: critical thinking, writing, discipline, individual work, and teamwork. One of the most important and great things about this program is the bi–weekly lectures. These meetings allow you and your peers to gain knowledge from different research fields, forcing you to think outside the box and start considering the serendipity between the different ramifications of science. However, SRIP is not just research. It also is a community of people that is willing to help and become your friends. To my mentor and lab mates I owe the abundant hospitality of the 10 weeks the program lasts. To my classmates I owe the laughs and cherished moments, because a family was born here. Overall, the experience is simply awesome.

Karinnet Montero Diaz – UPR Humacao

The Summer Research Internship Program was a great experience. The facilities and services were awesome. I loved the fact that each student had his own project and was able to have a complete research experience. This experience reinforced my love for science and research.

Thomas Moutinho – Worcester Polytechnic

The many opportunities that I had to interact with other people made this experience very beneficial. In my classmates I was exposed to a great group of students. I enjoyed learning about each person’s interests and research. Through my lab mates I was able to get an honest sense of what graduate school will be like. I was able to interact with many other students in different labs as well. From my mentor I was able to make a valuable contact for when I apply to UVa and other programs. I also have a better sense of what characteristics I should look for in a great PI. I was mostly exposed to systems biology and Biomedical engineering. I am mostly excited about BME but I have established a great respect for systems biology as well. Going into this program I did not have a good sense of what field of BME I wanted to continue with, although I am still unsure, I know that I would like to do something with either cardiovascular research or infectious disease.

Marianna Ortiz – University of Texas at El Paso

I am so grateful for my experience at UVA. I think of how lucky I was to be able to do my research in the lab I had originally requested in my application. I am glad I came to UVA, and I’m glad I got to work with my PI and meet so many wonderful peers and bright minds. I learned so much this summer. I was exposed to so many new techniques, and so many new ways of approaching a problem. It was challenging, but I was never alone. The help of my peers in lab, and the friends I made this summer, made the whole summer a life changing experience. This summer made me grow so much professionally, and it was just the experience I needed to be sure I want to pursue a career in the scientific field.


Stefanie Sippl – University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in the University of Virginia Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) in the Biological Sciences! My experience in Charlottesville was incredible. The internship overall provided an environment that was exceptionally academically stimulating. The lab that I worked in was very welcoming and made my research experience quite enjoyable! Under the tutelage of my mentors I was exposed to a wide variety of laboratory skills and research methods. They taught me so much, and I know these skills will be invaluable in the future. This experience definitely helped orientate my career goals toward an occupation in medicine. Furthermore, the weekly seminars also exposed me to an array of topics and techniques in scientific investigation, which broadened my perspective in science. From a scientific viewpoint, the UVa SRIP was an advantageous opportunity and I am so appreciative of the chance to have been a part of the internship.
Not only did I get a chance to be a part of cardiovascular-based research, but also I received the opportunity to live in another part of the country. Charlottesville is beautiful, and is quite an active community. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the UVa campus and city via running. I also had the chance to explore the Shenandoah Valley with friends, and the Blue Ridge Mountains boasted some breath-taking views. Through the internship, I was also able to build relationships with individuals from across the United States and from around the world. The people I was able to interact with were a fantastic bunch, and we made many memories together. I am incredibly grateful to the UVa SRIP for the chance to meet these individuals through the medium of scientific investigation.

Daniel Taitano – University of Guam

The UVA SRIP has exposed me to a scientific community that I was nowhere familiar with. I come from a small university, so experiencing and conducting research in the laboratories here was a drastic and amazing change from any of my previous encounters with research. It was intimidating at first, but through time and help from my mentor/PI, fellow SRIP researchers, and the UVA biomedical faculty, I quickly became comfortable in the new environment. The summer research I conducted in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Health was fascinating and kept me interested during the entirety of my stay. In addition, the weekly talks on a variety of experiments that are conducted at this institution allowed me to expand my perception of all the possibilities in scientific research. Overall, this was a unique and amazing experience. The people here are easy-going and passionate in what they do. I highly recommend this program to students and other individuals who are interested in the field of biomedical research.

Happy Tshivhula – University of Venda

I would love to thank my SRIP classmates; they were brilliant and active participants. The weekly presentations by different faculty members were absolutely great and made me realize that the only way to communicate science, rather pursue a career in research, is through discussion and asking questions. And to be frank, those are not my best characteristics. But I can tell you, that today, I’m much better because of SRIP. I feel that I have improved my communication skills and can collaborate with others. The people in my lab were incredible, willing to help at all times, and too nice. Initially I was trapped between two career paths, but I finally found one way to go, and all thanks to SRIP for all the career-related talks and getting to hear how others started to get to where they are now. Confused or not, in doubt or not, I think by just applying for this program, one is actually a step away to finding out where they really belong. Other than academics, I made friends. SRIP 2013 students were awesome, all friendly and loving, and the people in Charlottesville were just the same—it’s just home away from home. I realized that this is not just a program for science only, you also learn about and discover yourself, how you fit it in with other people different from you. You share ideas, you create an environment suitable for to be the best you can, and most of all, the idea is to learn and see things differently. One other thing, there was no need to be scared as SRIP is a participatory program and all here we are to learn. This is an opportunity I wish for all, Thank you SRIP.