Alexis Haring '22
Alexis is a Biology and iSTEP double major on the pre-medical track. She received a coveted scholarship from the DAAD RISE internship program and will be conducting in-person research at the Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf in summer 2021.
Why did you join iSTEP?
Alexis: I had previously taken German for 5 years before coming to UMass, and I did not think it would be possible to continue to take German classes while pursuing a degree in Biology. But thankfully, I had a German 320 class with Professor Feldhaus. She suggested that I try the STEM-German courses through iSTEP. Now, several years later, I have joined iSTEP as a double major. This has allowed me to continue to grow my German fluency and increased my internships/study abroad options.
What’s it like balancing iSTEP and your Biology major?
Alexis: Both Biology and German offer flexible options that fit within my primary major of Biology and my secondary major of STEM-German. It’s possible to not be constantly overloading on credits every semester. So it's definitely a balance but worth it since the program offers many opportunities for students.
What else are you involved in on campus?
Alexis: I am involved in the UMass Synchronized Skating Team, Pre-Med Society, and the UMass Minuteman Marching Band.
Have you been abroad to Germany?
Alexis: I have not been abroad to Germany yet, but I will be at Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf researching stem cell niches in the Arabidopsis plant in summer 2021. I was one of 268 out of 1635 applicants to receive the DAAD RISE scholarship. I will be in Düsseldorf for 12 weeks, and I am really excited for this opportunity and thankful for iSTEP for helping me get there.
How has iSTEP helped prepare you to go abroad?
Alexis: iSTEP has prepared me to be successful in Germany because I have gained German fluency and know technical terms that are typically not taught in a regular German classroom.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining iSTEP?
Alexis: That anyone who thinks they want to learn a second language should really consider the iSTEP program in conjunction with a STEM degree. The classes that UMass offers can work with your schedule. Also, being able to speak another language is something that is well sought after in the workforce. This program also opens up amazing study abroad programs for people to partake in.
Any future plans?
Alexis: My future career plan is to go to medical school and pursue a MD. iSTEP has allowed me to gain valuable research and unique things to add on my resume and application to medical school that will make me stand out from other candidates.