"I am a Communication major, but it does not stop there."
ComArtSci senior Alyssa Fritz is majoring in Communication with a focus in Analytics and Research Data Methods. She also has two minors: Communicative Sciences and Disorders and Cognitive Science. Fritz will be the student speaker at the unveiling of the new Michigan State University STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Teaching and Learning building.
Growing up in a small town outside Frankenmuth, Fritz did not have many opportunities to participate in STEM disciplines at her small high school. She was hesitant to get involved in STEM fields when she arrived at MSU. “I did not want anything to do with it,” said Fritz. “I did not feel like I was capable and had a strong enough background, but when I met Dr. [Jeff] Searl as an underclassman, that all changed. He said, no, you are very capable of this.”
Fritz has served as a resident assistant, ambassador for the Undergraduate Research Office, and as a student employee for the CSD (Communicative Sciences and Disorders) department. "There is a joke in my friend group that if something is going on on campus, I am somehow involved.”
While there has been no shortage of on-campus involvement for Fritz, she would be the first to tell you that her true passion lies with the work she has done with the Undergraduate Research Office. "Everything ranging from eye-tracking research, to analyzing swallowing disorders, to looking at how COVID-19 impacts patients with laryngectomy, it has just been so fulfilling," said Fritz. Fritz published her first research article at the age of 19. Now, as an ambassador for the Undergraduate Research Office, Fritz is in a position to help students who are as nervous about research as she was when she was a new Spartan on campus.
Impressed by Fritz's interdisciplinary focus and her involvement on campus, the Provost’s Office invited her to help usher in a new era for STEM teaching and research by speaking at the building launch. The new STEM facility will house undergraduate teaching laboratories, project laboratories, and a breakout space that will support gateway courses for biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, physics, and engineering. The facility will also include student studio space, an idea accelerator for faculty and students, the HUB for Innovation in Learning and Technology, a student help center, the Biological Sciences Program Offices, and the Undergraduate Research Office.
"It is weird for me to look back on Freshman year walking past this construction site every day, and now I am the person that was chosen to be the student representative for all of MSU for its grand opening."
After graduation, Fritz hopes to continue her studies in graduate school and ultimately wants to work in Speech Pathology.
By Joe Strother