This week’s UMM Alumni Spotlight is Nathaniel Jillette, class of 2010. Nate is a native of Lewiston who now lives in Seal Harbor, Maine. He is a research assistant at Jackson Laboratory.
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:
I’m part of a research team focused on developing and improving new molecular techniques for genome engineering. My daily job includes research, cell culturing, molecular cloning, confocal imaging, laboratory maintenance and more. Each day is different and brings with it new challenges. Troubleshooting and experimental designing is crucial for all the work I do.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?
The most valuable thing I learned while at UMM would have to be making connections. It’s not about the people you know, but making the connection with them that is important. I’ve relied on the connections I’ve made with professors at UMM to get me fellowships and the jobs I’ve had since graduation. Along the way, I’ve continued to add to this list of connections because you never know which way life may turn.
Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?
My advice for any student would be to take advantage of all that is offered to you. There are internships and opportunities all around you to seek out and do. Start getting this experience now, because after college, the jobs you apply to will look at you with more enthusiasm if you’ve done something in the field.
How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?
While at UMM I took advantage of multiple opportunities to get laboratory experience, including multiple summer fellowships at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), a couple 1-week short term courses at MDIBL, as well as assisting Dr. Carmichael and Dr. Page with their research while on campus. Having these hands-on experiences helped to boost my confidence to apply to jobs and showed motivation to my future employers. The coursework and experimental designs taught by the professors at UMM went above and beyond what many of my colleagues experienced during their undergraduate programs.
How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?
All the moments of my life have made an impact on where I am today, including the years I spent at UMM. The quality of education I received is instrumental in how I am able to perform my daily duties at The Jackson Laboratory. I still maintain great relationships with many of the people I’ve met while at UMM, including recently getting married to my college sweetheart – Alexandria Kolinich.