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The following stories have been shared by participants in our study. We will update these stories periodically to demonstrate the variety of experiences and paths students took during college and have pursued since finishing college.

The most significant experience I had was being an undergraduate researcher in a microbiology lab. Up to that point, I was not sure what I wanted to do once I graduated, but I loved the research process and the work I did there. I wanted to continue doing this work, but at a more advanced level where I could be an independent researcher, so I decided to go to graduate school.(UCLA, White, Female)
In the summers of 2006 and 2007, I participated in a summer undergraduate research program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to exposing me to medical research, I was also afforded the opportunity to shadow physicians on a regular basis. This experience strongly influenced my decision to attend medical school. (Rice University, White, Male)
My involvement in research early on as an undergraduate really helped me change my plans of Optometry/Medical School for a graduate program. After working with various professors at different institutes, I want to be able to contribute (however slight) to the scientific community before continuing to pursue my goals. (UCSD, Asian, Male)
Doing research with a professor, and talking with professors about the subject. Expressing interest in the subject to them. (UCLA, Latina, Female)
I realized that I enjoyed lab work in organic chemistry lab in my sophomore year. Sometime in my junior year, I started to realize that I enjoyed learning and that I wouldn't be happy in a repetitive job that didn't involve continued learning. This pointed me in the direction of research, where there is always a new problem to solve. I absolutely love research and have found my niche in the world (Binghamton University, White, Female)
I was an HHMI undergraduate research apprentice which truly opened the door for me. I was able to gain contacts and experience that enabled me to move on to graduate studies. (Cal Poly Pomona, White, Male)

My upper-level math courses have helped me significantly. Though the material isn't terribly useful for my current job, the way my brain learned to function and process information has been a terrific asset to my strategic thinking. (UCLA, White, Male)
Working with my senior design group helped me better prepare for dealing with people in the office in my job with General Electric. (University of Notre Dame, White, Male)
My Architectural education taught me how to look at everything in a different perspective. I also learned about developing an idea through a thought and exploration process, which also has helped me in my critical thinking and application skills. (Cal Poly Pomona, Latino, Male)

I served as an Americorps for one year, which helped me decide that I wanted to work in Non-profit. (Colorado State University, White, Female)
Volunteering for soup kitchen for homeless community showed me the hardship of underserved populations and inspired me to pursue a career in serving people who need the most help. (ULCA, Asian, Male)

Participation in Howard University's Honors Program, the Howard University Mock Trial Team, the Ronald E. McNair Post-bacclaureate Achievement Program, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Alpha Chapter, and being a research participant in the Identity and Success Research Lab at Howard University. (Howard University, Black, Female)
Leadership in student organizations, undergraduate research, volunteering and tutoring positions helped me to get to get to the professional school of my choice. (University of Pittsburgh, Black, Male)
Being actively involved in the University community, both in terms of academic and extracurricular activities. I participated regularly in student groups, and also took advantage of special academic programs, such as Engineering Global Leadership (which broadens engineering students' educations to include concentrations in business, world cultures, and leadership). (University of Michigan, White, Female)
Joining Alpha Kappa Psi immensely prepared me for my current full-time position in the Investments field. In addition, volunteering in my college community and participating in my school's corporate mentoring program also proved helpful. (Rutgers, Black, Female)

In preparation for receiving my Masters in Education, an experience that benefited me most was participating in mentoring/tutoring programs. (UCSD, White, Female)
I was a grader for a Math class in which I gained experience on one aspect of teaching. I also was a Math tutor and that introduced me to teaching others the subject I plan to teach later. (Cal State University, San Marcos, Latino, Male)

Summer interning prepared me the best for the working world along with networking programs. I do use some classroom knowledge - but I use more of what I learned from hands-on experiences (hands-on lab experience, part-time research, part time jobs, internships). (Cornell University, White, Female)
I Co-Op'd in engineering with a tier-1 automotive supplier, BorgWarner, for one full year. I took that year off from school. I completed cost savings projects and learned how to apply engineering tools to real situations. I also accepted a 3-month summer internship before my senior year, with Mimeo.com, a rising internet-based company. I worked in their manufacturing facility writing. (Mississippi State University, White, Female)

I had the support of advisors, family, and friends to help encourage me to pursue the Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University, Latina, Female)
Speaking with undergraduate advisors and professors about my interests in research and veterinary sciences, and realizing that I could do both concurrently at the programs offered in a few schools in the US. (Cornell University, Latino, Male)
Good neuroscience classes at the Claremont Colleges and strong advisers prepared me for my current plans to obtain a Ph.D. (Scripps College, Bi-racial, Female)

All of my extracurricular activities during my undergraduate experience [have] prepared me for my career path. This includes event management, organization, data entry, budget management, managing others and event marketing. I learned these skills from the following organizations: Residence Life (resident area coordinator and resident assistant), Gospel Choir executive board (president and secretary), (Elon University, Black, Female)
My student government [involvement] has been the most critical to my career plans. (UCSD, White, Female)

Studying abroad for a quarter in India during my junior steered me toward graduate study in South Asian religion and literature (Sanskrit in particular). (University of Chicago, Black, Male)
Volunteering abroad was a huge help for me to appreciate the opportunities we have here in America and to see some of the same conditions abroad that are seen domestically in medically underserved areas. (University of Michigan, Biracial, Female)

In undergraduate I was chosen to be apart of a special program called Women of Excellence (WEL) This series prepared me for taking on the real-world as a black female and has given me key skills in networking and going after my career and life goals/dreams. (Spellman College, Black, Female)