McNair Student Spotlight – Rozemary Howard

Rozemary Howard is a senior in Biology/Pre-Veterinary Science.  So far, she has been accepted to the veterinary schools at Michigan State and Ohio State and has been wait listed at Cornell.

Rozemary Howard

Rozemary, Boo and Thunder

You are a senior this year.  Can you please tell us about your graduate school search and application process?  Do you have any advice for other students based on what you have learned so far? 

When I started looking for veterinary schools, I started my search based on the location of the schools. Veterinary schools are a little different than graduate schools because I am not trying to apply to work with one person, but instead I am applying to be a part of a large group at a school for a four year program. I also based my applications on the ranking of the school compared to other veterinary schools. My advice for students is make sure to choose an area where you are OK living for 4-8 years. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere that you are unhappy. Also, if you are applying to grad school, make sure you really get to know what the professors study at your school.

Briefly describe your McNair research project

I did my research with Dr. Erich Ottem. I have been working with him for approximately two years on a new protocol for fluorescent in-situ hybridization. What this procedure is doing is tagging mRNA molecules with a fluorescent probe so that we can visualize it using a confocal microscope. The procedure is a combination of one that Dr. Ottem has with a few kits purchased as well. I make most of my own solutions, section a mouse brain at 12 micrometers thick, and run the sections through a specific series of washes. I have successfully run the procedure two times and am currently working on trying to fix minor kinks in the protocol.

If you could change anything about your undergraduate experience so far, what would you change?  What advice might you give to someone just starting out?

I really do not have anything that I would change about my undergraduate experience. I would advise new students to get involved in a program they are interested in, and to put everything into what you want to do after you get your degree. I was very focused on my degree and I was able to find a lot at Northern to help strengthen my application for veterinary school.

Share your thoughts about the McNair Program.  Has the program helped you?  If so, how?

This program is the best thing to ever happen to me. Through the McNair Scholars Program I was able to not only gain research experience, but I was also able to visit multiple vet schools and go to many interviews. I have met some incredible and dedicated students and faculty members though the program as well. I would recommend McNair to everyone because it made my experience at Northern a thousand times better. You learn so much through this program, and I could not be happier to be a part of it.

How are your plans for the future shaping up?

My future is a bright one. I have been accepted to multiple veterinary schools and I am currently trying to decide on which one to attend. I have one semester left at Northern as well which is extremely exciting. I am very happy with where my life is right now, and I can’t wait for my future because with how dedicated I am, I know it will be bright and successful.

Would you like to say anything about your McNair faculty mentor?

Dr. Erich Ottem is a lot of fun to work with. He truly knows his neuroscience and he knows how to be both funny and serious. I must admit it took me a while to understand his humor, but he has been so much fun to work with since getting to know him. He has helped me not only with my project, but in many areas of school including classes and he was one of my letters of recommendation for veterinary school. If you are looking for a professor to work with then I would hands down recommend Dr. Ottem. He understands the McNair program and he does his best to help you improve in all aspects of your life.

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