McNair Alumni Update

McNair Scholar Nick Bohn graduated from NMU in December 2014 with a degree in Biology.  He carried out two McNair research projects in the summers of 2013 and 2014 in the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center.

Nick was accepted with full funding at California State University Northridge where he is working on his master’s degree.  He wrote and gave us the scoop on how things are going so far:


(Nick with fellow McNair Scholar Emily Mydlowski at the 23rd Annual National Ronald E. McNair Research Conference and Graduate Fair)

“Things have been moving along quite swimmingly in California!  I’m a MS student of CSUN but I am exclusively on campus at UCLA until next August.  I spent a week at University of Southern California to learn stem cell techniques and then began work at UCLA.  The lab I’m working in (Dr. Mike Teitell, is a very well-funded cell metabolism lab.  We work on a variety of projects with stem cells and B-cells.  Due to the nature of my scholarship I’m working exclusively with stem cells.  The doctoral students and post-docs are extremely supportive, I truly have full capability to be as successful as I choose.  I’m currently helping a doctoral student lock down revisions for a paper of a major journal.  In the meantime I have been working on the design of my thesis experiment, it is a very exciting and promising piece of work!  Experiments are largely independent with initial guidance, I have my own desk/lab bench, and the lab members are fun yet very hard-working.  It’s a dream job!!!  My main goal is to impress the heck out of Dr. Teitell so he hires me full-time next year.  (I would commute between CSUN and UCLA to finish up my classroom requirements.)  I figure two years at UCLA would allow MUCH deeper development of my project as opposed to one year.  Maybe a publication?

“Moving out here was a blast…  LA is warm, active, huge, and loads of fun.  You know how Portland needs a slogan to ‘stay weird’?  Not LA – people are weird enough as it is!  World-class people watching, especially on public transportation.  🙂  I have a very nice living situation….  I definitely miss the community and nature at NMU, but I know that I am in the right place to rocket my career.

“The McNair Scholars Program successfully converted this medical school applicant to a full-blown science researcher!  Kind of funny that I didn’t start thinking this way until the last couple months of undergrad but I couldn’t be happier with this career choice.  After obtaining my MS I’ll definitely be pursuing a PhD.  The question, however, is whether I’ll take a few years off school to work with pharmaceutical/biotech and knock out those student loans.  I’m interested in helping inspire young students to pursue STEM and I’m working on joining a program that would allow me to talk to elementary/middle/high school students in LA about becoming a scientist.

“I hope to visit Marquette next semester.  I plan to take it as an opportunity to spread some UCLA science to the community at NMU.  Hopefully Dr. Belton will be able to help me set this up – I think it would be beneficial for everyone!  One more thing…  This scholarship is just incredible.  It’s called Bridges to Stem Cell Research and is funded by the Broad California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).  They partner smaller (Cal State) schools with larger research universities (University of California).  I believe 6 or 7 programs exist across the state.  They pay for tuition, provide a fat stipend, and allow free travel to conferences.  Here’s the kicker:  Only 11 people applied for the 10 spots in the program at CSUN.  Every student besides myself is from CSUN.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT THESE SPOTS ARE GOING UNFILLED?!?!  6 billion CA taxpayer dollars have gone to stem cell research in the past decade (that doesn’t include private donations.)  This is a hot field and there is a lot of opportunity for cell biology students to excel in stem cell work.  If you know of any students looking to pursue cell bio please feel free to point them towards the CIRM Bridges Program, or directly to me!  I know we would like to keep our talent in Michigan, but it’s a heck of an opportunity!

“I’ll never be able to thank you enough for taking me into the McNair Scholars Program and effectively catalyzing my career as a scientist.  If it weren’t for you I would not be doing world-class research right now.  I’m still kind of in shock how this path has worked out!  So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for inspiring me to pursue research and providing the tools to land an incredible position.  The McNair program at NMU is truly special, but you already know that!”

Nick Bohn in California

(Nick outside of his lab at UCLA)







One thought on “McNair Alumni Update

  1. As Nick’s former McNair Scholar’s mentor at NMU, I am very proud of the work he has done to get into the program at CSUN and UCLA. I hope we will continue to send well-prepared students to such prestigious graduate programs.
    -Robert Belton, NMU

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