Research experience as an undergrad in Wilkerson lab

  • Undergrad Features
  • Jyothi Kumar

Matthew Wirick, who worked in one of the Plant Biology labs shares his research experience in the Wilkerson lab. Read on: 

 Matt Wirick

My undergraduate research in the Wilkerson Lab started in January of 2017 and continued until I graduated in May 2019. When I began, I was overwhelmed with the idea that the experiments I was conducting meant more than a grade for class. Each experiment I did had a role in advancing the project. Eventually, I gained skills that helped me take on more responsibility. I understood that I had a significant part in the research which motivated me to continue this work and contribute as much as I could to the project. 
As an independent researcher: I reached a point where I was able to develop my own experiments and ask my own research questions. My confidence with my research increased exponentially because of the opportunities that the Wilkerson Lab provided, such as the support to independently create and modify experiments and the value placed on my input. 
Future plans: After working closely with Dr. Wilkerson and the graduate students in his lab, I’ve chosen to continue my research career. In the Fall of 2019, I will be entering a PhD program at Central Michigan University. I will be moving away from biofuels research in Arabidopsis thaliana and into stem cell research in Caenorhabditis elegans. I will be mentored by Dr. Xantha Karp, a committee member of CMU’s new doctoral program in the Department of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology. I credit the Wilkerson lab members for their investment in my professional development. From working with them, I gained experience in research, confidence in decision-making, and self-assurance in my ability in both scientific and personal communication. 
PLB dept is a great place: The PLB department at MSU is a great place for undergraduates to learn and grow. The community is open to supporting students as much as they can, and the department offers opportunities for anyone to come and learn about the research that’s happening. Spending so much of my undergraduate career in the Wilkerson lab was worth every second because the things I took away will be used throughout my professional career.