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Student Spotlight: Natalie Davis

Michigan has hundreds of acronyms, and one of our favorites at Rackham is SROP. The Summer Research Opportunity Program is a program for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds to come to U-M for intensive research and an introduction to graduate school. Natalie knows SROP well, having participated as a sophomore from Columbia University. She remembers, “I really didn’t fully understand the significance of the program when I applied. It made logistical sense for me to come home to Detroit that summer and have something productive to do, but it was so much more than I expected. I came here and gained a deeper understanding of what it means to do research and pursue an advanced degree. It was eye-opening.

Student Spotlight: Shira Schwartz

Ask Shira to explain her research and she lights up. Her voice and face animate. She starts speaking faster, and her excitement is contagious, which has a little something to do with the nondescript conference room we’re in. Shira studies academic space, work space, and the social and spatial relations of learning, something applicable to everyone who’s gone to school or worked in an office. And she’s got a big job ahead of her, considering her ultimate goal: “I’d like to change the culture around learning in this country.” (No pressure.)

Student Spotlight: Sophie Hunt

“I remember college being a life changing time, so I’m excited to teach at a college and give other students the same experience. My experiences drew me to humanities and social science classes because they made me think in new ways about my place in my country and the world. I want to help others think through these questions,” says Sophie.

Sophie studies Native American and Indigenous history in the United States and Mexico. Before coming to U-M, she spent a meaningful year volunteering in Mexico in a home for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children, where she mentored older kids and worked in the development office translating documents. She accedes, “If grad school is hard, that was equally, if not more difficult.”