Alumni Spotlight

Taylor Contreras

TUNL REU Class of 2017
Undergraduate Institution: University of Oregon
Current Position: 1st Year Graduate Student at Harvard

What are you currently doing?

I am in my first year of graduate school at Harvard. I am focusing on classes but also starting some research with the ATLAS group here. 

How did participating in the TUNL REU Program influence your career path?

Through the TUNL REU I got to experience what a career in research would be like on a day to day basis. I also learned that I love particle physics and particularly LHC physics. I came out of the REU knowing that I wanted to go to graduate school and continue to work on the ATLAS experiment. 

What is one of your favorite memories from the REU program?

Since I was part of the group going to CERN for 6 of the 10 weeks, we had a big cookout just before we left with everyone in the program. The weather was perfect, and we made food the best we could with the dorm kitchen. Once it got dark we came back inside and played board games. I loved going to CERN and getting to experience Europe, but this was my favorite memory of the program since I had so much fun with everyone. 

Do you have any advice for undergraduates thinking about a research career?

You should definitely get experience in doing research. It will not only help you get into graduate school; it will also help you decide if the day to day life of research will work for you. REUs are a great way to see if you really like research and to see what fields interest you.