Undergraduate Research Leaders

The Office of Undergraduate Research launched the Undergraduate Research Leaders program in 2015. Each year, we select a small cohort of students to serve as ambassadors for our office. Students selected will be hired as hourly employees of the Office of Undergraduate Research at the rate of $12.50 per hour and work and average of 2 -5 hours per week.

The Undergraduate Research Leaders will assist the office and promote undergraduate student research through several activities:

  • Office outreach on campus
  • Student recruitment
  • Student engagement
  • Peer advising
  • Program development
  • Small & Travel Grant Reviews

Meet our 2018 - 2019 Undergraduate Research Leaders!

Jae Miner

Mondays 12 - 1
Sill 002
School for Cultural and Social Transformation, College of Education

Jae Miner is a senior majoring in Anthropology, with minors in English and Book Arts. Through the UROP program, they designed and carried out a research project investigating the connection between identity and body in Queer/Disabled individuals. Jae is particularly interested in oral histories and in investigating disability across cultures, and hopes to pursue a career in anthropology as a researcher.

Asal Kareem

"Participating in research and being part of UROP enhanced my learning experience and helped me learn valuable skills. Such as lab techniques, how to balance teamwork and individual work, data collection, and data entry. Research enhanced my interest and has given me the confidence to focus on bone cancer as a future orthopedic surgeon."
Thursdays 10:40 - 11:40
Sill 002
College of Health, College of Social Work, and College of Nursing

Asal Kareem is a senior pursuing a bachelor degree in Honors Biology with minors in Chemistry and Pediatric Clinical Research. Asal is also on a pre-medical track, and working on her honors thesis at the KB Jones Lab. Asal started research as a sophomore and completed two semesters of UROP for a project in ankle kinematics and osteoarthritis at the Orthopedic Research Lab. After her undergraduate training, Asal is aiming to go to medical school and pursue a career in Orthopedic Surgery.

Ellie Rasmussen

"Research has taught me that success isn't always a linear path. Oftentimes there are road-blocks, twists, & turns along the way. But that's what makes the journey so much fun! My research has taught me so much about perseverance and dedication. I believe this experience will be invaluable to me as a physician and as a competent member of our global society."
Wednesdays 12 - 1 pm
Sill 002
School of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy

Ellie is a Junior in the Honors College majoring in Anatomy & Physiology and minoring in Chemistry and Pediatric Clinical Research. Ellie is on the pre-med track and pursuing an honors thesis in the Angelucci Lab. She started research her freshman year of college through ACCESS- women in science and mathematics. She has participated in two semesters of UROP in her project on the Anatomy & Physiology of the Visual Cortex. After college, Ellie has big dreams of attending medical school and pursuing a career in Surgery. Ellie is also involved around campus as a University Ambassador, Organic Chemistry TA, College of Science Ambassador, and she works with Labs for Liberty.

James Zhao

“Research has taught me priceless skills that are unobtainable just by attending every day classes and lectures. This ranges from basic lab etiquette to presenting research at various forums. Having the ability to identify a program, develop a solution, and then execute the solution is extremely valuable and has given me confidence in my pursuit as a healthcare provider. Applying and being a part of the UROP program connected me to resources and positions that I normally wouldn’t have looked or applied for.”
Thursdays 9:30 - 10:30
Sill 002
College of Science and College of Law

James Zhao is a junior majoring in Biology and is completing the pre-medical course load. James started research as a Junior in high school, working in Lisa Joss-Moore’s Pediatric Neonatology lab. His most recent research investigated the effects of Postnatal Growth Restriction on elastin variants in the rat lung. James’ lab wants to understand the mechanism behind lung development so that pathways of prevention or intervention may become possible. After his undergraduate, James plans to be in medical school where he will pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon.

Kiki Karahalios

Doing research is possibly the best thing I could have done during my time at the U. My research experience has solidified my academic and career goals to pursue a PhD. Fine arts and humanities research is often underfunded and under-recognized, but is incredibly important. Having the ability to assist someone with research, or to conduct independent research is incredibly valuable. As a Tier 1 Research University, the U has incredible connections and faculty to work with, and that students of all disciplines should take advantage.
Monday 10:45 - 11:45
Sill 002
College of Fine Arts, College of Humanities, and College of Architecture + Planning

Kiki is a third year honors student student majoring in art history. She started research as a freshman and has been pursuing projects and research opportunities ever since. She has been granted two semesters of UROP and has presented her research on the visual history of fairy tales on Capitol Hill and at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. After completing an honors thesis on the artist Mary Edmond Lewis, Kiki will be graduating in the spring of 2019 with plans to pursue a masters degree, and eventually, a PhD. She would love to be an academic, where teaching and research are at the core.

Fadi Haroun

Tuesdays 12:30 - 1:30
Sill 002
College of Engineering, College of Mines & Earth Sciences, School of Business, and School of Medicine

Fadi Haroun is a senior Biology major on a pre-medical track. Fadi transferred to the U in the Fall semester of 2017 having done one year of behavioral neuroscience research in his previous school. At the U, Fadi participated in the SPUR program which allowed him to have a full-time summer experience of research in breast cancer immunotherapy. He studied a novel immunotherapy treatment that could potentiate immune cells to fight off breast tumors and significantly increase tumor remission in cancer patients. Fadi is keeping an open mind as to what specialty he wants to pursue as a physician after gets into medical school.

Carly Shields

"My research experience has been unlike anything else during my undergraduate career. The hands on nature of research has allowed me to apply what I am learning in my classes to real life situations. I have gained innumerable skills from being involved in the entire research process (e.g. developing, editing, and distributing surveys, analyzing data, summarizing results, etc.). Personally, I believe my involvement in research is giving me valuable perspective, knowledge, and skills for my future career as a physician. After this experience I believe I will be more capable of treating patients (especially those diagnosed ASD) in my future practice."
Mondays 1:30 - 2:30
Sill 002
Honors College, College of Social and Behavioral Science

Carly is a senior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies and minoring in Chemistry on the pre-medical track. Through the UROP program, Carly participated in a research project exploring the experience of pediatric patients with Autism in the healthcare setting. Carly had the opportunity to present this research to state legislators through the Research on Capital Hill program and she will be completing her honors thesis on this research this year. After graduation, Carly hopes to attend med school to pursue a career as a pediatrician.

Represent the OUR! Be influential on campus! Develop professional and leadership skills!

Participants in the Undergraduate Research Leaders program are absolutely crucial to the overall success and structure of the program and the OUR. Leaders will have many opportunities to represent the OUR both at campus events and in the classroom. Leaders will provide peer advising for students looking to get into any OUR programs and will be able to propose new outreach possibilities, as well as design and host additional events when beneficial to the program. UR Leaders will help with OUR events such as the URS. We will hold monthly meetings to remain up to date on Leader efforts and achievements and to reflect on how to build/re-structure the program as necessary. Hours of participation are varied and flexible, depending on the demands of campus events. There are many opportunities to develop professional and leadership skills through participation in the program. The program offers Leaders professional development training based on direct feedback from current Leaders and the Leaders participate directly in the design and implementation of OUR programs.

Requirements for Undergraduate Research Leaders Applicants

Applicants must be matriculated University of Utah undergraduate students, not on academic probation, disciplinary probation, or suspension; attending school full-time (at least 12 credit hours) during both semesters of participating in the program (Fall 2019 and Spring 2020); must have successfully completed at least one semester of UROP; must have presented at the University of Utah Undergraduate Research Symposium; must be willing and able to participate approximately 2 - 5 hours a week, with more hours during special campus events; must be personable and thoughtful; must be comfortable with public speaking and willing to attend campus events for the OUR.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2019 - 2020 academic year have closed.  Please check back next spring for 2020 - 2021. 

Our Undergraduate Research Leaders Program was influenced by a program of the same name at the University of Washington. We are grateful to our colleagues at the University of Washington for inspiring us in the development of this program.