Bria Collier, a recent physics graduate at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has been accepted into the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters to Ph.D. Bridge Program.

Collier will attend Fisk University in the fall to study material science. Through the Bridge program, she will complete a two-year sequence of graduate coursework and research training leading to a Master’s degree.

She will then transition to a Ph.D. program at either Vanderbilt or another university. Collier will benefit from access to courses at both Fisk and Vanderbilt, as well as guidance from faculty and students at each institution, according to a news release.

“Through the study of physics, we understand elements of nature and the very basics of existence,” Collier said. “I felt inclined towards physics because of the engaging environment.”

“In every physics course, it was necessary for me to interact and ask questions. I felt comfortable doing this and my feedback helped me gain better understanding of my work. When I continuously did this, I saw major progress in my studies and felt reassured about a future in physics,” she said.

Collier said that she has become more confident since attending UAPB, recalling the success and support she received.

“I have gained a better view of my goals and what it takes for me to succeed,” Collier said. “I blame it on the alumni. They have helped me with internships, scholarships, and employment opportunities. Their investment in me makes me feel destined for success.”

Some of the professors that made an impact on her include Mansour Mortazavi, recently appointed Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. According to Collier, Mortazavi has been there for her since the beginning, introducing her to students and faculty in the department and to her first summer research internship and STEM conference.

“Dr. Mortazavi is a very busy man, but he is never too busy for his students,” she said. “Dr. Miah Adel helped me develop professionally as a physicist. As my mentor, I learned from him that I had to be active. Being active in my work was important for many reasons, but most importantly in education, you must be selective about your time and learn as much as you can. Dr. Adel pushed me to change my habits in the classroom and they paid off.”

Once she finishes school, Collier would like to get into the sector of engineering as well as become an active community leader. When asked to give advice to other students attending college, she says you should trust the process.

“The teams of faculty in each department can bless you in many ways. If you are looking for a place that shows love and attention to students, you won’t be disappointed [at UAPB],” Collier said. “Every year, students are celebrated for their academic achievements and involvement on campus. By the time you graduate you will walk out feeling the love of the pride.”