Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2018
Graduate School: University of Michigan
Focus of Study: Organic Chemistry
Grad School Program: Organic Chemistry PhD Program
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Where are you now? Michigan – Ann Arbor
What three words describe you?: Passionate, Intellectual, Connected
Conferences: Richard Larock Undergraduate Research Conference, 29th Annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference, Louis Stokes California Alliance for Minority Participation Statewide Undergraduate Research Symposium
Achievements/Awards: Rackham Merit Fellowship Program (graduate fellowship recipient)
Matthew R. Culberson achieved a Bachelors in Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UC Davis in the Winter of 2018. His undergraduate career was partially funded from over twenty scholarships. He also worked as a university chemistry tutor for four of the five years he spent at UC Davis. Matthew’s first research experience was gained in a neuroscience laboratory, studying traumatic brain injury under Dr. Gene G. Gurkoff. This opportunity was funded through the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP). The next research opportunity was organic chemistry centered, under Prof. Jared T. Shaw. Matthew studied enantioselective synthesis and methodology development. This research was funded by the NSF LSAMP/California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program and Dr. Shaw’s supplement grant. Mr. Culberson worked as a summer intern in Melanie Sanford’s research group at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
What are your future plans and/or goals?
I plan to obtain a PhD and become a chemistry professor.
In what ways has engaging in undergraduate research impacted your future goals and plans?
Undergraduate research has demonstrated the life of a scientist, which was once unknown to me. It has developed my ability to practice technical laboratory skills and the scientific method. Lastly, it gave me the opportunity to explore science that was learned in the courses I was enrolled in.
What preparation and research experience did you have before applying to your research program?
Two years of neuroscience research with Dr. Gene Gurkoff in the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, studying traumatic brain injury (TBI), and one year organic chemistry research doing methodology synthesis with Dr. Jared T. Shaw.
What advice do you have for other undergraduate students seeking research experiences?
Learn the field you're playing in, and impact it in your own way. Leave your impression. Don't settle for anything less than the best. Don't let anyone define your abilities. Go out, and be better than your past self! "Peace with past, freedom in present, faith for future" - Matthew R. Culberson
Matthew has this to say about CAMP:
"Getting accepted into the CAMP program completely changed the trajectory of my life. The CAMP program informed me on what it meant to go to graduate school and explained how it was heavily weighed on research abilities, not teaching abilities. CAMP guided me through the process of becoming a researcher, taught me how to be a successful pre-graduate school scholar, and provided financial security so that I could invest more of my time in being an independent researcher so that I would be more prepared for a PhD program."