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 $10.00 per hour and can log hours as program needs require.

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 Fall 2017 Undergraduate Research Leaders!

Mohan Sudabattula

“Getting involved with UROP has opened up so many doors for me. The University of Utah has so many great opportunities to get involved with research and I really want to show others the joy of studying what you love outside the classroom.”
Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Sill 005
Humanities, Business, Cultural & Social Transformation

Mohan is a junior triple majoring in honors in biology, honors philosophy, and honors health, society & policy with a minor in chemistry. Mohan is working on several research projects with his respective majors. He first started his research in the department of biology/biochemistry under Dr. David Belnap studying the world’s smallest known virus, the Satellite Tobacco Mosaic Virus (STMV), with the goal to understand the asymmetric protein capsid structure through electron imagining techniques and the use various 3D modeling programs. His other research interests lie both within the realms of political philosophy and international health. After graduation, Mohan plans to pursue a joint graduate degree in both law and medicine to further his understanding of the crossovers of law and medicine. As an Undergraduate Research Leader, Mohan wants to help fellow students find what they are passionate about.

Sarah Patterson

“For me, research has connected me to the University of Utah campus in more ways than I expected. I have become more familiar with faculty in my department and students in my area of study, as well as gaining more knowledge outside of my field than I could have ever gotten by attending conferences and poster sessions. Overall, my academic experience has been heightened due to learning about and loving research.”
Tuesdays, 12:30 - 1:30pm
Sill 005
Honors College, Architecture + Planning, Fine Arts

Sarah Patterson is a senior in the Honors College studying Strategic Communication and Writing in Rhetoric with a minor in Italian. She has been involved with research on campus in conjunction with the Utes Nickname Archival Research Project and contributed primary research to better understand the use of the hashtag #utes and its implications for cultural misrepresentation. Outside of being a student Sarah loves to explore the great outdoors and is constantly waiting for her next road trip adventure. She considers herself a coffee expert, and will most often be spotted with one in hand. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree after taking a year off and traveling back to Italy to continue to practice the language and eat pasta.

Warren Jensen

“For me, applying to UROP was maybe my best decision as an undergrad. Once I declared in Sociology, I knew I would, at one point, want to pursue original research. UROP has provided resources and personal support in order to facilitate both my research process and the opportunities I've had to present and engage with a broader community of students.”
Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:00pm
Sill 005
Education, Social Work, Social & Behavioral Science

Warren is a Senior graduating this fall with a triple major in Sociology, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. His undergraduate research at the U began as a Research Assistant working with the Communication department on political content analysis. Since, he has gone on to root his research firmly in the social sciences, exploring issues relating to sociology of religion and sociology of gender. Aside from his current research, Warren's areas of interest include broader fields in sociology such as demography as well as a more casual fascination with linguistics. As an Undergraduate Research Leader, Warren hopes to help fellow students think outside of the box when designing potential research projects that suit the variety of their interests. After graduating, Warren plans to continue teaching music with an eye towards pursuing a career in background singing. In addition to this, he will likely go on to complete a PhD in Sociology.

Deanne Yugawa

Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30pm
Sill 005
Health, Medicine, Nursing

Deanne is a junior completing an Honors Degree in both Biology and Economics. The College of Science’s ACCESS Program for Women in Science & Mathematics sparked her interest in research. In her freshman year, she began working in the Murtaugh Lab in the Department of Human Genetics, where she continues to study the genetics of pancreatic cancer. Deanne has expanded her exposure to scientific research through internships at Hawaii Pathologists’ Laboratory in Honolulu, HI, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. Upon graduating, she plans to pursue an MD/Ph.D., where she can combine her interest in basic science and clinical medicine. Her goal as an Undergraduate Research Leader is to motivate others to develop a passion for research.

Stuart Loertscher

“My research experience finally became meaningful when I joined UROP. The program gave me the tools I needed to develop critical thinking skills and work ethic in research. I also learned how to elevate my research from a class assignment to something that could make a difference in the world.”
Mondays, 3:00 - 4:00pm
Sill 005
Engineering, Mines & Earth Sciences

Stuart is a senior in Bioengineering at the University of Utah. His research experience began at the Moran Eye Center under the direction of Dr. Jun Yang. There, he studied how mutations in a novel protein cause blindness. Since then, Stuart has continued in research with Dr. Lucas Timmins to study cardiovascular disease. His current project is developing a computational model of a coronary artery to calculate the mechanical stresses in the vessel. In the future, he hopes to combine his interests in heart disease and medical imaging to engineer life saving devices. As an Undergraduate Research Leader, Stuart will work with students to help them discover the many resources available at this top tier research university.

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.”
Mondays, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Sill 005
Dentistry, Pharmacy, Science

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.

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 URS and UCUR. We will hold regular 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 a monthly 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 2017 and Spring 2018); 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 - 10 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

The deadline to apply to be an Undergraduate Research Leader in the 2017-18 academic year has passed. Check back in Spring 2018 for the next round of applications. 

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.