Aeriel Murphy, Ph.D. Candidate, Materials Science and Engineering, Rackham Merit Fellowship
Aeriel Murphy was the kid doing science fair projects even when there wasn’t a science fair. Moving to a very rural Alabama community when she started high school, she could easily have gotten lost. Her family, most of whom are educators, had raised her to recognize opportunity, and that’s what happened when a teacher noticed her aptitude for math and science and told her about the science fair. Above and beyond that experience, Aeriel started doing research in high school, working with a professor at the University of Alabama for three years before studying there.
Charles Betsey, A.B. and Ph.D., Economics
Charles Betsey spent most of his childhood in Detroit. His family moved to Ann Arbor the summer before 9th grade and like many local kids, he had aspirations of becoming a Michigan Wolverine. “I still remember the joy I felt the day I received my acceptance letter to LSA. I was sure I was going to be a Spanish teacher, but when I took my first course in economics, taught by Dan Fusfeld, I realized econ was for me.” Dr. Betsey fulfilled his dream twice over, completing his undergraduate degree in Economics and Spanish and continuing immediately for his Ph.D.
Jihyeon Yeom, Ph.D. Candidate, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Barbour Scholarship, Predoctoral Fellowship
Before coming to Michigan, Jihyeon worked at the Argonne National Lab in Chicago, but she knew she shouldn’t stay put. “It was while working at Argonne that I realized to do more important or precious research, I need to know more about whatever field I’m in.” She applied to six graduate schools and was drawn to U-M because of her faculty advisor, Professor Nicholas Kotov. “He is famous in my field and set me up as Graduate Student Research Assistant. So I packed all my stuff in my tiny car and moved to Michigan from Chicago.”
Yildiz Bayazitoglu, M.S. and Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Barbour Scholar, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Rice University
Rackham alum Yildiz Bayazitoglu has been shaping graduate students in mechanical engineering at Rice University for four decades. Her distinguished research and exceptional teaching and mentoring are hallmarks of her illustrious career, one that showcases the exceptional faculty that help comprise U-M alumni.
Carrie Wenjing Xu, Ph.D. Candidate, Information and Economics, Predoctoral Fellowship
Carrie describes herself as ambitious. That trait manifests itself in why she ended up at U-M and what she’s done since she got here. She explains, “I came to the U.S. because I want to immerse myself in a new environment. I grew up, went to school, and pretty much spent my entire life in Shanghai. When I graduated from my undergrad, I asked myself where I would be in ten years, and it is so hard for me to imagine that I would be somewhere else rather than living and working in Shanghai, maybe having kids of my own. I thought it was sad that my future could be so predictable.