Undergraduate Research Profile: Brooke Weiler

First Generation student Brooke Weiler talks about the program that got her started in research, what program enables her to continue her research, and the impact this has had on her as a student. Video by Martin Morard

Undergraduate researcher and first-generation college student Brooke Weiler is studying Brittle Bone Disease under Dr. Charlotte Phillips. Brittle Bone Disease is a genetic disorder that affects around 20,000 people each year. This disorder, with no known cure, prevents bones from developing correctly and leads them to breaking easily.

 Brooke began her research with the Discovery Fellows program through the Mizzou Honors College. Through this program, which provides scholarships and assigns students labs early in their college careers, Brooke began working with Dr. Phillips and conducted research as a Discovery Fellow through her sophomore year. As she continued her research through her junior and senior years, she discovered the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and the Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity (IMSD) programs.

The MARC/IMSD programs work together to highlight under-represented or minority communities in research. The IMSD program is the first step in becoming a MARC fellow. Eligible IMSD students like Brooke attend seminars, meet with peer mentors, and participate in research. During their junior and senior years, these students can apply to the MARC program, which provides funding and resources for under-represented and minority students who are already participating in research prepare for graduate schools and professional careers.

Being accepted into the MARC/IMSD program allowed Brooke to continue working in the Phillips lab. Throughout these additional two years, she was able to take on more responsibility, be more independent with her research, and take ownership of her own projects. Additionally, Brooke was able to present her research at multiple conferences and was selected to participate in a summer internship program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through the University of Pennsylvania. These programs and opportunities have been crucial as Brooke applies to graduate schools.

To students wanting to participate in creative scholarship or research, Brooke says, “Go for it.”

She says the skills and experience she’s gained while conducting research at Mizzou will be a foundation for her to build upon throughout her career. Watch her explain her research on Brittle Bone Disease, and her experience with the MARC/IMSD program.

Story by Greta Ripperda