Destination graduation: Bussiere grateful for opportunities, mentoring

UWGB student Luke BussiereIn just a few short months, UW-Green Bay senior Luke Bussiere will be headed to the Interdepartmental Microbiology Program at Iowa State University with remitted tuition and a fellowship. Current students who want to experience similar success should follow the wisdom of Bussiere…

“Take advantage of every opportunity in your major including the small class sizes, multiple lab experiences and the multitude of research opportunities here,” he counsels.

Bussiere from Kingsford, Michigan, said that when he toured UWGB, one of the major selling points was the low student to professor ratio. “I didn’t realize at the time how valuable it is to have small classes.”

It didn’t take him long to find out why.

“At UWGB, the professors know students’ names and each student has the opportunity to establish a relationship with their professors that can help them in finding opportunities while attending UWGB, or after,” Bussiere said.

While at UWGB, Bussiere tutored (a position recommended by Prof. Mike Zorn), was a teaching assistant (recommended by Prof. Amanda Nelson) for an anatomy and physiology lab, assisted on a cadaver dissection (Prof. Nelson) and did two independent research projects based on professor recommendations and areas of interest (Prof. Brian Merkel and Prof. Zorn).

“Ever since I took Dr. Merkel’s microbiology class the summer of my freshman year, I have been telling others about all the interesting microbes that surround us every day,” he said. “I enjoyed microbiology so much that I decided to take advanced microbiology as well. When Dr. Merkel heard that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D., possibly in microbiology, he told me that I needed to get some lab experience as soon as possible to boost my chances of getting into graduate school.

“He allowed me to join in some of the research he was conducting involving the effects of echinacea on neutrophils. The research was great for me because I was able to use techniques we had learned in advanced microbiology for the experiment as well as techniques learned in organic chemistry to extract the reactive ingredients we needed for our experiment under Dr. Zorn’s supervision. This research opportunity, I believe, helped me gain admittance to the Interdepartmental Microbiology Program at Iowa State University. Dr. Merkel continues to help me prepare for graduate school, even though I have already been accepted.

The help and encouragement didn’t end there. Prof. Nelson encouraged Bussiere to explore Ph.D. programs that would pay him to do research for them.

“She really helped me decide that getting a Ph.D. was the right choice for me after graduation, and she has always had her door open when I have had questions or needed help scheduling classes.”

“I have only mentioned a few professors that have inspired me to go to graduate school and to possibly teach one day, but there have been many others that have helped me while attending UWGB. I am so happy that I decided to come to UW-Green Bay, because at UWGB, my success was important to my professors.”