Class of 2024: Daniel Araya Dives Into Biology Research

Posted on May 01, 2024

Daniel Araya in cap and gown on UNCG campus

This Friday, May 3, Daniel Araya will join the Class of 2024 in UNC Greensboro’s commencement ceremony. Since his second year, the biology major has conducted biotechnology research in Dr. Ayalew Osena’s lab as a prestigious National Institute of Health (NIH) MARC fellow. His research has been actively supported by the Alice Ashton Bruton Endowment Fund and the MARC program.

Daniel conducting biology research with plants in petri dishes
Araya conducts research in Dr. Osena’s lab.

Araya spent two summers of research at the UNC School of Medicine. His projects spanned from immunology, chemotherapy research in Ethiopian children, and autism-related synaptic scaffolding proteins. He has showcased his research findings at eight conferences.

Beyond his research commitments, Araya has actively contributed to the UNCG community, serving as a resident advisor in the Honor’s College and offering campus tours to prospective students and their families. As president of UNCG’s Ethiopian Eritrean Student Association for three years, Araya played a pivotal role in fostering community and cultural appreciation among students. He has guided seven high school students of Ethiopian and Eritrean descent, aiding their college application process. His mentorship proved invaluable, as all mentees received multiple college acceptances, with two securing spots at Ivy League institutions. 

After graduation, Araya plans to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) this summer and spend a gap year in South Africa at Cape Town University, where he’ll participate in a marine biology research lab.   

We asked Araya a few questions about his experience at UNCG and his future plans:

What are your plans after graduating?

After graduation, I will be heading to Cape Town University in South Africa to engage in marine biology research.

Daniel with professor Robin Maxwell, looking at a piece of paper together
Araya works with Professor Robin Maxwell, UNCG’s advisor for pre-professional health programs, on planning for medical school. Read more about pre-professional health programs at UNCG.

What professor or advisor has made the greatest impact on you and why?

Dr. Ayalew Osena, Dr. Hewan Girma, and Dr. Pradyumna Pradhan (PK) have played crucial roles in shaping my college journey, offering me exceptional guidance and support.

Were you involved in any club(s) or activities on campus?

I served as President of the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Association (EESA) for three years. Additionally, I was a member of the Tri Beta National Biology Honors Society, as well as the Pre-Med and Chemistry Clubs.

What advice would you give to a new student who is pursuing the same career path as you?

Discover the study methods that work best for you, then stick with them. Also, apply to as many summer internships and programs as possible. Once you begin, obtain as many connections as you can.

Also, you are an average of the five people you spend the most time with, to achieve success, surround yourself with high-achieving, ambitious individuals. Become friends and model your semester courses around each other.


Graduate Commencement: May 2 at the Greensboro Coliseum
Undergraduate Commencement: May 3 at the Greensboro Coliseum

Graduates and their families are encouraged to share their accomplishments on social media by tagging the University accounts and using the hashtags #UNCGGrad and #UNCGWay. Visit UNCG’s digital swag page for graduation-themed graphics, filters, and templates.

Mention @UNCG in celebratory posts on Instagram and X and @uncgreensboro on TikTok.  

Three masters graduates pose for a selfie in cap and gown.

Compiled by Kennedy Childs and Elizabeth Keri, College of Arts & Sciences
Courtesy Photography

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