Professor Michelle Fortier is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with the next generation of researchers. By focusing on providing her students a rich environment that prepares them for to pursue their academic and research goals, she has also realized great benefits to her own research. Professor Fortier looks for motivated students who are eager to learn and gives them a chance to immerse themselves in their projects. UROP is pleased to recognize Professor Fortier for her passionate mentoring she offers to her students.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my profession is to help train and develop the next generation of researchers and I am extremely passionate about instilling the knowledge and experiences I have to undergraduates seeking to acquire skills in research. I have directed students in a wide range of behavioral science projects focused on pain, anxiety, mHealth, and healthcare disparities in children in the medical setting.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

It is most enjoyable to work with students who are truly interested in learning and expanding their knowledge of the conduct of behavioral science. Thus, I look for students who are passionate about participating in our research center, self-motivated, and eager to develop independent projects that allow them to truly immerse themselves in a wide range of research experiences, from developing testable questions to disseminating their findings to others.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

I take a very hands-on approach with undergraduate students. I meet regularly one-on-one or wih teams of students working together to collaboratively work through each step of their project from conception to completion.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

Our students gain a nice breadth and depth of research training as we strive to balance experiences between the more “behind the scenes” tasks of creating IRBs, managing data, tracking participant recruitment and “in the field” experiences of recruiting patients and families in the hospital setting, working directly with our patient stakeholders to collect data, and working collaboratively as a member of a multidisciplinary research team.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

The Center on Stress & Health has benefited tremendously from undergraduate researchers and we strive for a balance between benefits to our conduct of scientific research, such as advancing our program of research, and ensuring students have an optimal training environment that prepares them for the next steps in their academic endeavors. Personally, each student I work with enriches me in some way, whether it be providing me an opportunity to further develop my mentoring skills or contributing to my understanding of a topic of research.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

Observe and ask questions. Get involved. Seek out faculty research mentoring. The phenomenal faculty at UCI are a wealth of research knowledge and abilities and we want to share this with students. Go meet with a faculty member whose research interests you and ask how you can get involved. Pursue those opportunities so that you can grow in your academic development.

Research Interests: Improving pain management in children in the medical setting

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '17 Hillary L. Berk
Nov. '17 Dongbao Chen
Oct. '17 Cascade Sorte
Sep. '17 An Hong Do
Aug. '17 Todd C. Holmes
Jul. '17 Adam Martiny
Jun. '17 Mark I. Langdorf
May. '17 Anthony J. Durkin
Apr. '17 Thomas Ahlering
Mar. '17 Dara H. Sorkin
Feb. '17 Andrej Lupták
Jan. '17 Michelle A. Fortier