by Tyler Mueller, UNeMed
Graduate students Brady Sillman and Danielle Fenster won the first scavenger hunt of UNeMed’s Innovation Awards, an annual celebration honoring UNMC researchers, faculty, students and staff for their ideas, inventions and discoveries.
To win the scavenger hunt, contestants had to follow clues to complete questions, answer trivia on UNeMed’s social media pages, and even post a few “selfies” to social media.
Sillman and Fenster complete the scavenger hunt in a tie for first place. But winning the scavenger hunt isn’t the only thing Sillman and Fenster have in common. Both were inspired by loved ones to pursue a career in research.
Sillman, a graduate student in Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, came to UNMC for the institution’s “great reputation and world-renown program.” Sillman’s sister inspired him to join the medical research community. She has cerebral palsy, an incurable disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.
“I knew that I wanted to do something to help people,” Sillman said. “It wasn’t until I joined a small research lab at UNO and got first-hand experience in the lab that I knew that I finally found my way of contributing.”
Fenster is also a graduate student in Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. Fenster joined UNMC after having a great experience working in Keshore Bidasee’s lab in the summer research program. Fenster was also inspired by a loved one.
“My great-grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I wanted to help others like her,” said Fenster.
When asked for advice for new students, Sillman said to get involved on campus. “Get involved in intermural sports or the Graduate Student Association. The more involved you get, the better you’ll be connected.”
Fenster said to think carefully when choosing a lab for research. “Find something you’re passionate about,” she said. “It will be a long couple of years if you dislike your lab or research.”