Graduate School

O'Dowd Hall, Room 520
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2700

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Meet Our Students

The best way to know Oakland University's Graduate School is to know our students. Follow their stories to see how they push beyond what’s possible — or expected.


Sarah Denha, Ph.D. Student Department of Chemistry

The Research: SpinoCerebellar Ataxia Type five is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes neuron degeneration in the cerebellum.

It causes uncoordinated body movements, slurred speech and abnormal eye movements.

The Focus: Researchers like Sarah and Dr. Avery are focused on understanding how mutations in a protein called β-III-spectrin lead to the development of the disease.

The Science: To study this disease, Avery’s Lab uses fruit flies as a model to understand the impact of β-III-spectrin mutations on the dendritic arborization of neurons.

Dendritic arborization is a process by which neurons create new synapses vital to healthy brain activity and function.

Healthy neuron, diseased neuron.

The Goal: Researchers hope to discover the mechanism by how these mutations cause the disease so they can create treatments and eventually cure the disease.


I'm a pretty hard worker. It's like a huge personal drive to me. I've always told myself to try, and be better than I was yesterday. My name is Mariah Gleeson, and I'm a masters students studying exercise science. One of the reasons I chose Oakland University was to relocate back to Michigan and be closer to my family. I never expected to be a graduate student, but I gained a lot of insight from my mentors, and they've always pushed me to get a graduate degree. They're getting their PhDs, and they're professors. So they all encouraged me because they enjoyed the field, and I also enjoy the field. I knew if I stopped school after my undergrad, I wouldn't be able to get back into it, and that made me want to continue to graduate school. One of the things at Oakland University I discovered was that I love to teach, and I want to get my PhD to contribute to research. I like being there for the students, and I want them to have a valuable learning experience. If you're on the fence to get a graduate degree, I say if you really love the field, then pursue it. [MUSIC]


[MUSIC] Being the first one from my family to graduate from high school and college was difficult. I knew that school was the key to success, but no one really was there to guide me. My name is Karla Gudino Avila, I am the Assistant Principal at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. Not seeing many minority students in college was what motivated me to come back to my neighborhood and help them, inspire them to go to school that they can do it. My mission is to serve. I wanted to learn how to be a better leader, it just made sense to work towards a leadership program now that I'm in a leadership position. It's never too late to go back to school and earn your degree. My degree of Oakland University helped me be more confident, identify what type of leader I am, and what are my strengths, and what are my areas that I need to grow. I hope to become the next principal and hope to continue to inspire others to pursue their dreams. [MUSIC]