My name is Mercedes Collins, and I am a senior physics undergraduate student at the University of North Texas. I'm originally from Richardson, Texas which is a city outside of Dallas, Texas, but I have spent the last five years of my life in the Denton, Texas area where my university is located. Physics and astronomy have always been fields in which I was extremely passionate about. When I was about seven years old, I received my first refracting telescope which was the first step in pursuing my passions. When I found out that I was accepted into the Northwestern CIERA REU program of course I was beyond shocked, but also excited. This program by all means has enabled me to continue my pursuits of my passions for space, but has also opened my eyes to other passions and the many doors that lead to pursuing them.
My mentor this summer was Dr. Seth Jacobson, who by far is one of the best mentors I have had the privilege of being able to work with. Seth is the kind of person that is very passionate about what he does, but also has a love for helping others learn and succeed in their fields as well. Working with Seth has allowed me to become a better scientist and has taught me skills in order to be a successful contributor in the astrophysics field. The best part about working with Dr. Jacobson has been the realization of where the next step as far as my academic interests and pursuits go. Thanks to him I have an interest in planetary sciences, and plan to pursue that direction when it comes to choosing where to attend graduate school in the next year and a half.