Allie Bouza, a junior chemistry major at Grand Valley State University, was selected to take part in the prestigious ACCESS program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September.
The ACCESS program at MIT is intended to increase the diversity of qualified applicants to doctorate programs in chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science throughout the U.S.
ACCESS is a highly competitive weekend-long program of educational and informative events that serves to introduce talented sophomores, juniors and seniors to the benefits of a graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. The goal of ACCESS is not to prepare students for graduate school at MIT specifically, but rather to introduce them to the advantages of choosing a graduate career path at an institution that best meets each participant’s individual needs.
“The program helped me learn all of the benefits of pursuing graduate school in chemistry,” Bouza said. “We learned about the admissions process, funding, and potential careers. The experience was worthwhile and I would definitely recommend it to other students who are considering pursuing their doctorate.”
Bouza received help applying to the selective program from staff in Grand Valley’s Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships. The Office of Fellowships also helped her with applications for the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, where she worked as an undergraduate research fellow and focused on the photoelectrolysis of water for alternative energy applications. Bouza was also chosen as a McNair Scholar, and spent the summer working with faculty research advisor Bob Smart on organic synthesis of antibiotics to combat Gram Positive bacterium, specifically MRSA. She is currently working with Associate Professor Brad Wallar on beta-lactamase inhibitors.
“These experiences have been crucial to succeed in graduate school,” Bouza said. “Research has given me confidence in my lab techniques and taught me how to identify problems in my own research and determine strategies to overcome these obstacles.”