Maria Berry headshot
Introducing yourself to your professors can be beneficial – whether you stay after class to talk to them or send a professor an email. If you express your interests to them, they may be able to point you in the right direction to help you out, even if they are not able to provide you with a research opportunity themselves.


Research Topic: Identifying Signals of Septic Contamination in Groundwater Microbial Communities of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Graduation Year: 2022

Maria's Peer Advising Hours


Research Experience


  • Developing novel tracers to identify contamination in microbial communities in Michigan watersheds
  • Identifying ways in which students use misconceptions when talking about evolution in AP biology classes


  • Developing a system of self-graded exams in introductory college biology courses
  • Studying how participants and mentors in a summer research cohort view themselves as scientists or engineers


  • Conducting interviews, creating surveys, and coding qualitative data
  • Environmental field work
  • Lab maintenance and preparing reagents
  • Writing literature reviews and scientific papers
  • Analyzing microbial samples using DAPI stains and metagenomic analysis
  • Assessing data with NMDS and DRAM plots

Campus Involvement

  • Vice President of Education, Alternative Spartan Breaks, 2020-2021
  • Undergraduate Learning Assistant, Lyman Briggs College, 2020-present
  • Member, Honors Students Actively Recruiting (H-STAR), 2020-present
  • Participant, MSU Dialogues, 2019

Post-Graduation Plans

  • Gap year/internship
  • Graduate school