Meet Ayana Ghosh – 2015 Alumna of CAS, UM-Flint

Ayana is the featured “New Alumni” from the October 2015 CAS Alumni Newsletter. Read below to get to know this incredible graduate!

Ayana Ghosh, UM-Flint Alumna

Name: Ayana Ghosh
Majors: Physics, Abstract Mathematics
Student Groups/Campus Involvement: Indian Student Association (Chair- 2014-2015), The Michigan Times (2011-2014), International Center (Employee and volunteer, 2011-2015), Society of Physics Students (2011-2015), Student Success Center ( Tutor- Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics- 2011-2013, Supplemental Instruction Leader- Physics – 2012-2015), First Street Ambassador (2013-2015), Dance Instructor (2014-2015), Undergraduate Research Assistant (UROP- 2011-2015)
Year of Graduation: May 2015

Where are you heading next?
I’m pursuing my PhD in Physics and Material Science at New Mexico State University. Throughout my PhD, I will be collaborating with national labs like Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Argonne via research fellowships.

I would like to be a scientist in near future. On completion of my doctoral degree, I plan to do postdoctoral studies at a national lab or an academic institution.

**UPDATE** Ayana sent us an note on November 4th with her updated plans:

I am moving to University of Connecticut from January 2016. They offered me a PhD position in Material Science department, which is among top 25 public research programs in the country. I will be working in collaboration with Pfizer and Argonne National Lab.

Also one of my papers got published last month in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A.

How did your University of Michigan-Flint education prepare you for what you are doing next?
If I have to phrase it one line, I will just say, “UM-Flint gave me all that I expected and much more to build me in every way what I am now!” My department always supported me throughout my undergraduate career, to excel in research by providing me funding as well as opportunities to travel to different conferences to present my research. I also had the chance to balance out between finishing two majors in four academic years and engaging myself on an average of five jobs on campus. All of these have really helped me to focus on my career more along with nurturing my hobbies.

Who is the person(s) who made the biggest impact on your UM-Flint career (professor, advisor, mentor, fellow student, an alum, other)? How specifically did they affect your life?
It is really hard to take one name for this question. I would mention Dr. James Alsup andDr. Maureen Thum for sure.

Dr. Alsup trusted my research capabilities from the very onset of my undergraduate career. I couldn’t excel in research without [the] effort and encouragement that came from his part.

Dr. Maureen Thum is one of the incredible personalities I have met on campus. She not only ensured my success in my majors but also helped me developing my skills for graduate schools and thereafter. I would also like to thank the staff of International Center and First Street Residence Hall for being my continuous support through those years. They gave me a home in the midst of unknown.

What is the value of UM-Flint professors developing curricula in which classroom learning & concepts are applied to real world situations?
Coming from science background, I highly think the hands-on-research environment [is] very useful for students. It is really not possible to know the science without actually doing it. You can learn from books but until and unless you try to apply it somewhere useful, it is not that valuable in my opinion. Also doing labs and research enhances learning process. To do good research, you should always have to read a lot to know what has been done before in the field. Therefore, it helps you to get the whole picture of the past and the present of the respective field.

In classroom environments, the professors ensure that students engage in collaborative learning by assigning different projects, grouping the students, discussing the ideas. I think this way the students also get to talk to their peers and see how they think about a specific topic.

The higher level courses in the curriculum generally include capstone projects where one or more students pair up to build a project which help them to gravitate and spread their knowledge.

Describe a firsthand example of an engaged learning experience at UM-Flint.
I got engaged in undergraduate research through my first semester at UM-Flint. This was a very crucial step for me since I want to be a research scientist in the future. Beginning it early has helped me to develop so many skills that are really useful in my future career. I could go to many conferences to present my research work, which gave me opportunities to connect with people sharing similar interests. Since I like to travel and see the world, this is also a great way to do science and get out of your daily world.

What do you think UM-Flint does better than any other university?
In UM-Flint you aren’t just a number! You are a student, taught by qualified professors in respective fields in a reasonable class size. This is highly important at the early stages of career, because building strong foundations is all you need to later succeed in life.

What advice would you give to an incoming UM-Flint freshman?
Work hard, grab all the opportunities that you can. It might look small but it has a lot to offer if you have an eye to look for it. Bug your professors as much as you want, because here they are ready to help any time.

Describe “the UM-Flint of the future.” What could it be? What should it be? For students? For Flint? For the world?
For students it should be the ‘learning hub’
For Flint it should be the signature of empowerment of the city.
And for the world, the students should prove what they can be, where they can reach, even coming from a small campus as UM-Flint! Go Blue!

To learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint, visit