Michael Sramek Receives Excellence in STEM Award

Michael Sramek

Genetics and genomics undergraduate Michael Sramek studies between classes at the Science Lab Building. David Slipher/UC Davis

by Greg Watry

Michael Sramek, a genetics and genomics junior in the College of Biological Sciences, received the 2017-2018 Excellence in STEM Award, which honors a UC Davis transfer student with high academic performance.

“I feel honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Sramek, who plans to graduate in 2018. “It’s fantastic to receive recognition for the work that I put in adapting to UC Davis from the community college system.”

Sramek conducts research at the Center for Neuroscience in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Alex Nord, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. He has also served as a peer mentor with the First Year Aggie Connection, assisting other pre-health transfer students.

Following a deployment in Afghanistan in 2012 with the National Guard, Sramek enrolled in community college, taking classes at American River College, Sacramento City College, Santa Rosa Junior College and Woodland Community College. He transferred to UC Davis in the fall of 2016.

“I decided to transfer to UC Davis primarily because the atmosphere on campus seemed much friendlier and collaborative than many of the other campuses I’ve visited,” Sramek said. “I like the students at UC Davis. Everyone has been amazingly nice and willing to work with you. The professors are incredibly approachable and easy to talk to.”

After graduation Sramek plans on hiking the Grand Canyon with his wife, who is a geology student at UC Davis, as well as sharpening his photography skills. He is in the process of applying to medical schools and hopes to find a specialty in surgery before eventually moving into teaching and genetics research. 

“I hope to not only make an impact in the field of medicine but to find a place where I can be a lifelong student and propagate the type of collaborative atmosphere that I have found here at Davis,” he said.

Sramek said he particularly enjoys the interdisciplinary nature of the Genetics and Genomics program. He recommended transfer students be proactive in reaching out to colleagues and faculty to make the most of the UC Davis experience.

“I think it is important to form study groups with other students,” he said. “Absolutely go to office hours even if you have no questions. Get involved in the campus as well but also learn how to decline opportunities. You have some time while you’re here. You should enjoy your time and not overextend yourself.”

The Excellence in STEM Award is given annually to a UC Davis transfer student in each of the university’s four colleges.