Monday, January 23, 2012

CMC Mentor Spotlight: Thomas Stewart

The Chicago Multicultural Connection, OMSA’s mentoring program, is still taking applications from undergraduate students interested in having a mentor. CMC, a career-focused mentoring program, matches undergraduate students of color with alumni, faculty, staff or graduate students who share similar career interests and goals. Along with one-on-one mentorship, the program provides career and academic workshops as well as social and cultural events throughout the year.  For more information or to sign-up, please contact Robin Graham via email at or visit

Check out the posting from CMC Mentor Thomas Stewart, a PhD student in Evolutionary & Developmental Biology about why he participates in the program!

“As an undergraduate at Syracuse University, I had several mentors. It was their guidance that led me to apply for various internships and to spend a semester studying tropical ecology in Costa Rica. I found them invaluable as I explored scholarship opportunities, developed my undergraduate thesis project, and organized a plan for life after graduation. Largely, I credit my undergraduate mentors with helping me to discover my academic interests and to ultimately pursue my doctorate at the University of Chicago. 

Currently, I am pursing my PhD in evolutionary and developmental biology.  My research interests lie in understanding patterns of biological diversity, exploring how developmental systems shape evolutionary trajectories. I use catfish as a model to explore the origin of novel appendages in vertebrates, and work across a range of fields including developmental biology, paleontology, biomechanics, ecology and phylogenetics.

As a mentor I strive to provide the generosity in time and attention that my mentors provided me. I would advise my own mentees, indeed all students, to embrace breadth in their studies and balance in their professional and personal endeavors. I’m excited to work with all students and continuing to serve as a CMC mentor.”