"I didn't really choose a degree in physics," she said, "it chose me. My father is a chemist with NASA who worked in quantum mechanics, and my mother is a geophysicist that got a job in materials science."
From an early age, she realized that science was in her blood.
"In those high school standardized tests, I always scored in the 99th percentile in math, so I figured that if I could do it, I might as well do it. I was interested in several sciences like biology and chemistry, but I eventually settled on materials science," she said.
Although she lived in the suburbs until she was 22, she has learned to enjoy living on a farm. "I love animals. We have cats, horses and other animals. I have gotten into horseback riding while living on the farm."
"I also love knowledge," she said. "That's what I like about the sciences: they help you get to the root of everything."
Michelle is very grateful to the faculty of the physics, astronomy and materials science department for the help they give to students. Her advisor, Dr. Kartik Ghosh, assisted her in acquiring a research grant, a fellowship with the U.S. Air Force for summer 2012 and other opportunities.
"It [the fellowship] will be a great opportunity for research and experience," said Michelle. "While I'm doing that, I also hope to be looking into PhD programs to apply to."
Michelle encourages new students to meet with their advisors as soon as possible and to take advantage of the knowledge the faculty can provide.
"The size of the department encourages students to interact with their professors," she said. "I can swing by any of my professors' offices at any time and just say, 'I need help' and they'll be able to help me."
She also found the faculty to be flexible and accessible as she was developing her schedule each semester.
"What I didn't know when I started was they [the department] offered course waivers because they know how hard it is for students to get through all of the classes, so they let students test out of some classes if they can. They'll also work with you on your schedule; they're very good about that here."
She would recommend Missouri State to prospective students because of the opportunities she has had here. "You have lots of commitment from the faculty and professors who are very involved in helping students get where they need to go."