Candidates for science fields urged to attend event at WMU

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of a WMU science student.

Get tips for succeeding in science fields Friday, April 13.

KALAMAZOO--Four graduates of Western Michigan University pursuing additional studies in chemistry and biomedical fields in notable ways are returning to their alma mater this month to talk about the keys to academic achievement in the sciences.

The event, titled Strategies for Success, is from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, April 13, in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center. The session is free and open to the community. No reservations are required to attend, and free parking will be available in the parking ramp near the Bernhard Center. A light lunch will be served.

The four presenters are:

  • Neil Blok, a 2010 WMU graduate now in his second year of the combined medical doctoral program at Harvard University.
  • Jamie Johnson, a 2007 WMU graduate now a fourth-year medical school student at Michigan State University.
  • Joel Parraghi, a 2007 WMU graduate now a fourth-year veterinary student at MSU.
  • Irene Murunga, a 2004 WMU graduate who obtained a master's in medicine and is now working as a physician assistant at the Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies.

Each presenter will tell their story in an informal way to give those who attend a chance to interact with presenters. Bob Miller, associate vice president for community outreach, and Dr. Nicholas Andreadis, dean of the Lee Honors College, will make opening remarks.

The event is the third of its kind organized by Dr. David Huffman, associate professor of chemistry. It is presented with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program. Among those expected to attend are Kalamazoo Promise students and students from both Kalamazoo and Battle Creek math and science centers.

"This event is meant to show current students, whether in high school or college, how our graduates have overcome hurdles to get to where they are," Huffman says. "It is a way to inspire them and motivate them to press on and help them to reach their full potential. That's what this is all about."

Community sponsors of the event include Dr. Margaret Martlew, DDS; Delman Heckaman, DVM; Proteos; Kalexsyn; and Southwest Michigan First. WMU sponsors include the departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging; the Mallinson Institute for Science Education; the College of Arts and Sciences; Office of the Vice President for Research; the School of Medicine; Graduate College; Lee Honors College; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Office of Community Outreach; and Alumni Association.

For more information, contact Dr. David Huffman at or (269) 387-2865.