Michelle Arata, MS Candidate

Hometown: Holbrook, Mass. (small town on the South Shore)
MS candidate

Why did I choose WPI? 
I decided to come to WPI because of the research opportunities and the atmosphere at Gateway Park. When applying to grad school, I knew that I wanted to find a program at a research-based institution where there would be many faculty and students willing to help develop my skills as a scientist and provide a collaborative and fun atmosphere—I found that here at WPI.

What makes me proud to be a WPI student?
I am proud to be a WPI student because I know that my graduate education is from an institution with a great research reputation. I am happy to say that I will soon be a WPI graduate ready to embark in the biotech industry.

What do I think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
Some of WPI's greatest strengths are the faculty, who are very dedicated to their students, as well as state-of-the-art facilities that hold the research labs.

What research projects am I involved in at WPI?
I am a second-year MS student in the Biology and Biotechnology Department, where I am a research student in Professor Joseph Duffy’s lab. For my thesis, I am investigating the transmembrane molecule Kekkon6 and its role in epithelial junctions, signal transduction, and barrier biology at the cellular level, in vivo, using Drosophila as a model system.

How have the professors in the Biology and Biotechnology Department impacted my studies and your life?
Joe Duffy has been a great inspiration throughout my academic career here at WPI and has been continually motivating me.

What do I hope to do when I graduate? What would be my ideal job?
I hope to work in the biotech industry as a research associate here in Massachusetts.

Groups or extracurricular activities I participated in at WPI:

  • WPI Ballroom Dance

Academic or professional awards I have received:
I have attended and presented at two conferences while a student at WPI:

  • Genetics 2010—Model Systems to Human Biology, Boston, June 2010
  • 50th Annual American Society for Cell Biology, Philadelphia, December 2010 (Award winner at this conference: Education Committee Grant funded by Chroma Technologies)




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