Today marks the day when the wonderful, beautiful, inspiring, and alltogether amazing Andreia Carrillo has officially graduated and made all her friends cry tears of happiness for her achievements, and sadness for the fact that she will no longer be there.

P.S. This website was made by the equally (or probably even more) amazing Sunny Zhou. I shall leave the message above as a memento from my great friend 🙂

On April 29th, I attended three graduation ceremonies: Honors graduation, Department of Physics, and my home department, the Department of Astronomy. Honors Graduation was held in the Crisler Center from 10 am till around 11:30 am, so it ended just in time for the Physics commencement. I sat by my best friend, Adham el Batal (he’s going to BU for grad school!!!), and walked up the stage to get my certification for Astronomy and Astrophysics Honors major. As expected, my interesting non-American name was butchered but I felt special nonetheless. Right after the Honors ceremony was the Physics commencement. I double majored in Interdisciplinary Physics as quite a lot of the requirements for Astronomy and ID Physics just overlap. As an Astro major, I also mostly had to take Physics classes anyway (also for the GRE!).

The last ceremony I attended for the day was the one for Astronomy. I was glad that my family got to meet my research professor (and of course my other professors) because this department has literally been my family away from my real one. Shout out to Nuria Calvet, who has specifically looked out for me and Adham since we were freshmen, as she knows the struggles that we were going through being international students, and to my wonderful advisor Eric Bell who has helped me develop a lot of my research skills in all of its aspects. I would say I really got lucky that I was introduced to these people early on that I wasn’t afraid to step out of my comfort zone and be active not just in the Student Astronomical Society, but also in the department. I was awarded with Highest Honors for having submitted my paper (that served as my thesis) to the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and also the Excellence for Outreach award for the work I have done in SAS and the department.

The next day, on the 30th, was the big commencement at the Michigan Stadium. My best friends Sunny Zhou and Faith Vowler sat with my family during the ceremony– I’m so glad that they were able to make it! My last semester of undergrad was extremely stressful but having these two with me made it bearable. I really admire the student speaker’s speech and if you want to be inspired, do check that out! It’s about doing something that scares you, having the courage, because that is what makes you grow as a person.

I think I have done the first step — I ventured half-way across the globe to pursue something that might sound ridiculous and at the same time ambitious to other people. ‘You weren’t 18 yet when you left!’ they said. ‘Do you have family there?’,”No”.  But when you go for something you’ve dreamed of doing since you were a kid, it just seems a little bit more tangible. I went even if it meant being in some foreign land without knowing anyone; even if that meant starting my life from scratch.

And well, here I am four years after 🙂

So onto something new that scares me even more — PhD!


On the Angell Hall roof top where we have a dome for our 0.4-m telescope. This picture is taken by my good friend, Ilya Beskin.
On the Angell Hall roof top where we have a dome for our 0.4-m telescope. This picture is taken by my good friend, Ilya Beskin.