Student Ambassadors

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Kristen Jerich

Kristen Jerich
 

Kristen Jerich

Kristen is a Provost Scholar and a peer tutor for calculus, algebra, biology, and chemistry. A former gymnast in high school, she is a volunteer coach of sports teams around Oxford and the assistant vice president of philanthropy at her sorority.

 

Why did you decide to study forensic chemistry at UM?
Forensic Chemistry lets me study what I love (science) and use that knowledge to help others in the future.  I study Forensic Chemistry at UM not only because it is one of few accredited universities for the field, but it is a small connected group of students with numerous opportunities for specialized learning and great professors to help us get where we want to be.

What are your career plans?
I want to work in the Criminal Justice system, whether in a State Police force, or at a federal agency.

Have you had an experience that made you feel empowered at UM?
Being a part of Alpha Omicron Pi opened my eyes to leadership opportunities within the organization.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
Dr. Scott has helped me in and out of her classroom with academics, future internships, and even class planning. She even stops me in the halls to ask how my classes are going and gives me words of encouragement always.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
I love a burger from Oxford Burger Company.

What are you binge watching now?
Friends, Criminal Minds, and Cheers.

Chinwe Udemgba

Headshot of Chinwe Udemgba.
 

Chinwe Udemgba

Chinwe is a chemistry major with an emphasis on biochemistry and minors in biology and mathematics. She spent last summer as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Chicago’d Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. She is a premedical student and a campus leader.

 

What are the leadership positions?
Ole Miss has given me a TON of opportunities to be a student leader so here are a few positions that I have held during my time here:

  • Secretary, Vice President, then President of the Increasing Minority Access to a Graduate Education Program
  • Vice President of the National Organization for the Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
  • Protocol Chairman for the Theta Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Team Leader for RebelThon
  • Global Ambassador

What are your career aspirations?
I would love to help people and be a vital part of a small community as a family doctor. While serving as a physician, I want to start a mentoring program for young minority girls interested in STEM to increase their interest and show that there are people who look like them in their desired field.

What is your go to meal in Oxford?
My go to meal is chicken Thai fried rice from Rice and Spice.

What are you binge watching?
I’m currently rewatching Psych for the millionth time. It’s hilarious and addictive like a lot of crime shows.

Darian Raucher

David Raucher
 

Darian Raucher

Darian – biochemistry and math double major – works as an operating-room anesthesia technician and has shadowed doctors in a rural and underserved area of Mississippi. He volunteers for the Jackson Community COVID-19 response team, where he assembles and delivers food release packages in the Jackson metro area as well as operating a registration hotline to enroll new recipients.

 

Why did you decide to study biochemistry and math at UM?
I have always had a keen interest in science and math, so I decided right from my matriculation that I would major in biochemistry and minor in math. However, I realized that the minor alone wouldn’t satisfy my passion for math so I decided to add it as a second major later on.

Science is perhaps the best explanatory tool we have available to us. There are so many things in our daily lives that are explained by science, and there’s no way of knowing yourself better than by understanding what happens physiologically at the cellular level. I love math because it has structure—there is always one answer and there are clear-cut rules. In a way, math is much simpler than real life. If you share this belief, math might be the right major for you.

Career goals?
I want to be a physician. I am not sure what area of medicine I want to practice yet, but I am keeping an open mind and I know that it will become apparent to me during medical school.

Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered or gave you a leadership opportunity?
While taking organic chemistry, I realized that there was a sense of community among the class as getting through the seemingly infamous course seemed like a group effort. The competitive environment created by the class inspired me to want to be the Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader for the course, so the following year I applied and was accepted. As the SI Leader, I was able to help dozens of students with each SI session by creating practice problems and instructional activities for the course. I realized I had to independently create every problem I presented, forcing myself to undergo the same thought process that a student would in learning the material. Serving as the SI Leader for Organic Chemistry proved to be, by far, my most time intensive, difficult, and rewarding academic experience, and I felt I had directly contributed to the empowerment and success of my peers.

What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done?
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to serve as a research assistant for a conservation biology thesis concerning an endangered species of turtle native only to the Pearl River system. I acquired a boating license to assist with the project where I gathered observational data and learned how to draw blood samples to be inspected for parasite content.

Any particular support or encouragement you have received from a professor?
At the end of the last day of class for Discrete Math, I asked my professor a question about a topic that would be on the final exam. After he answered my question, he spontaneously mentioned that I should consider a major in math. At the time, I had just started the minor, and it was quite encouraging to hear those words unexpectedly. What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related activity you’ve done? Please provide a little specific detail or example to showcase that experience. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to serve as a research assistant for a conservation biology thesis concerning an endangered species of turtle native only to the Pearl River system. I acquired a boating license to assist with the project where I gathered observational data and learned how to draw blood samples to be inspected for parasite content.

What are you binge watching?
Complex’s Sneaker Shopping series on Youtube.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Caniac from Canes. Substitute the slaw for an extra toast. What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM? I’ve always had a passion for exercising, and it does more for my mental state than just maintaining myself physically. I love the new addition of the South Campus Recreation Center, but since the pandemic happened, I’ve had a newfound passion for running.