Nicholas Smith ’23 — URECA Researcher of the Month for March — is a first-generation college student in the Honors College at Stony Brook University majoring in human evolutionary biology. For his senior honors thesis, he is working under the direction of Paul Kelton, professor and Gardiner chair in American history, to research the origins of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
“To anybody who’s thinking about doing a senior thesis, and feeling like it’s going to be such a daunting task, I’d say: Just do it. I think if you have it a topic, and you’re interested in it, you’ll be able to find a professor out there who is also interested in it,” Smith advised.
On campus, Smith has mentored students through the Honors College Big Sibling program, is a commuter assistant/freshman mentor and has served as a teaching assistant for organic chemistry and human anatomy classes. Currently, he is a student representative on the University Senate’s Environment Committee and advocates for the protection of the Ashley Schiff Preserve. During the academic year, Smith works an average of 20-24 hours a week at the Long Island Community Hospital as an ER phlebotomist and also volunteers at the Long Island State Veterans Home. His goal following graduation is to become a physician assistant.
Read the interview with URECA Director Karen Kernan.