TLRO Graduates Take Next Steps and Reflect

Nick Choma, Spencer DeLucia, Elizabeth Fletcher. Bottom row: Matt Gao, Alex Lee, Hayley Ockerhausen. Not pictured: Elizabeth Messenger
Nick Choma, Spencer DeLucia, Elizabeth Fletcher. Bottom row: Matt Gao, Alex Lee, Hayley Ockerhausen. Not pictured: Elizabeth Messenger

We are very proud of our recent TLRO graduates! Here is where they are heading next and their reflections about their time in the TLRO:

Nick Choma – Continuing Research in the Thompson Lab and Applying to Medical School

“Some of my most memorable experiences have been presenting research at several university-wide symposiums and especially for the Orthopaedic Research Society in Phoenix.  These presentations helped me to more deeply immerse myself in the world of research and to hone my skills for both learning about and presenting research.”

Spencer DeLucia – University of Missouri’s Veterinary Medicine Program

“The TLRO has been my favorite experience of my undergraduate career, helping me learn independence intermingled with teamwork, comradery, and dedication. I have worked with some absolutely amazing people in the lab, notably Dr. Stoker, Dr. Cook, and Dr. Bozynski, as well as fellow members of the Chondrocyte Crew. I cannot say enough good things about the TLRO and their work.”

Elizabeth Fletcher – University of South Florida Medical School

“My most memorable experience was bonding with everyone in the lab during ORS in Phoenix. During this trip, we not only had an incredible time, we also learned a ton about the field of orthopaedics. The most valuable thing I learned from the TLRO is that hard, long work pays off! It was rewarding to work on research projects that built off of each other over the years in order to learn more about spine degeneration.”

Matt Gao – University of Missouri Medical School

“One of my favorite memories was presenting my research for the first time at health sciences day. It was enjoyable sharing my research but also walking around and seeing all the other research being done on campus. The most valuable lesson I learned from my time in the lab is that more can be accomplished as a team than as an individual.”

Alex Lee – University of Missouri Medical School

“My favorite experiences during my time in the TLRO were the different opportunities to present my research to both local and international audiences. Through these experiences, I learned how to effectively communicate complex ideas and findings to people with all levels of understanding. This will be an invaluable skill for my future career in medicine, and I am very grateful for all of the mentorship I received along the way.”

Hayley Ockerhausen – Quality Engineering Intern at Biotech Company

“Being an undergraduate researcher at the TLRO was truly the pinnacle of my college experience and I am so grateful for the lessons learned and friendships made there. I led a project investigating the correlations between biomechanical, physical, and chemical properties of osteoarthritic bone in relationship to articular cartilage. This project pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me a better leader and more knowledgeable engineer. A highlight of my experience was being able to present my research at the national level at the Orthopedic Research Society’s annual conference. I also enjoyed leading and training younger students in the lab and valued the relationships made in this role.”