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 an 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

CLICK HERE to listen to the Office of Undergraduate Research Podcast

Meet our 2019 - 2020 Undergraduate Research Leaders!

Ellie Rasmussen

Friday 11:45 - 12:45 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Law, School of Medicine, and Chief Undergraduate Research Leader (CURL)

Ellie is a Senior 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.

"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."


Kalli Glauser

Thursday 12 - 1 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Humanities, College of Fine Arts, College of Architecture + Planning, and IRB Specialist

Kalli is a Junior pursuing a degree in Honors History and a minor in Economics. During her freshman year, Kalli conducted research on gendered representations of World War II nurses in film, and presented her findings at the University of Utah’s History Conference. Currently, she is conducting research on Utah women’s attitudes toward contraception during the 1960s and ‘70s through UROP, and is pursuing her honors thesis on the same topic. Kalli is on a pre-law track with plans to continue her education at law school. Kalli aspires to become a Civil Rights attorney representing oppressed and stigmatized groups whose rights and liberties have been systematically abused.

“As a humanities major, I often felt that research opportunities were exclusive to STEM students. But research in every discipline, including areas like history and English, are crucial to our understanding of the world and our ongoing progress as a society. Research in the humanities proves that we all have a shared experience which transcends race, gender, religion, and time. Conducting my own research has been so important to me, as I have been able to contribute just a little to the wealth of knowledge that brings us together.”



Madi Odette

Monday 3 - 4 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Science and School of Business 

Madeleine Odette is a senior majoring in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biology. She started research in the summer of 2016 in Dr. Eric Garland’s lab where she studied the neural mechanisms of mindfulness and completed two semesters of UROP. She also conducted research abroad at the University of Copenhagen, where she generated retinal organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Madi is a pre-medical student and aspires to get her MD-PhD with a specific focus in Neuroscience.

“I am passionate about pursuing research because it provides the opportunity to be creative, challenge yourself in new ways, pursue your interests, and increase your understanding on a specific subject. The idea of discovering something new that no one has known before is so intriguing. The notion that you are exploring unknown terrain that could potentially help people beyond your office or lab provides a sense of meaning - that you are working on something bigger than you. I don’t pursue research because it makes me ‘happy’ per se, but because it provides me a deeper sense of meaning. I hope to foster this perception in those that I mentor because I believe any of us can make a change if we really believe it and put in the work to do so.”



Claire Ticknor

Tuesday 9:30 - 10:30 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Engineering, College of Mines & Earth Sciences, and SPUR Specialist

Claire is a Junior in the Honors College majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in mathematics. Claire started research her Freshman year and has completed a semester of UROP as well as participation in SPUR. Both of these research projects focused on peripheral nerve regeneration through the Department of Surgery. From these opportunities Claire has gone on to do research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Intelligence and Space Research group with a focus on satellites and thermal modeling. Claire hopes to go on to graduate school with a focus in aerospace mechanical design and optimization.

“Research has led me down many different paths all with a vast number of opportunities that I never would have dreamed of. I have been challenged and inspired with every new experience. Research has allowed me to expand my skills past that of a classroom and led me to my true passion.”


Sydney Cahoon

Monday 10:30 - 11:30 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Social & Behavioral Science, School of Cultural & Social Transformation, College of Education, and Social Media Specialist

Sydney is a transfer student and is going into her senior year in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Religious Studies and History. She started research while working with Dr. Melissa Seaboch in Costa Rica collecting data on feeding patterns of howler monkeys. Since then she has started working on the primate pet trade in the United States, and is interested in if there is a correlation between the size of primate and how often they are sold. She has participated in two semesters of UROP with one extra semester of undergraduate research funded by the Francis Family Fund scholarship. After college Sydney’s goals are to pursue a career in research and academia. She is also actively entangled in the Anthropology club on-campus.

“What I like most about research is the active discovery of knowledge. You never really know exactly what you’re going to find, and I find that exciting. My main goal currently in research is broadening others horizons to what is happening in the world to animals that cannot speak for themselves. Humans must separate ourselves from the notion that we must own things to care about them. We are a part, but a whole.”



Luke Garcia

Thursday 10:45 - 11:45 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Nursing, Honors College, and College of Social Work

Luke is a senior in the Honors college studying Health, Society, and Policy. Luke is completing pre-med requirements and working on his Honors Thesis this year. Luke began research in his sophomore year and conducted diabetes & metabolism research for 2 years while participating in UROP for 2 semesters. Currently, Luke is researching high school mountain bike racing injuries across the country. Luke wants to pursue a career in medicine, considering MD, MPH, and PA paths. On campus, Luke is involved as a Resident Advisor, a board member of UNICEFred, and an alternative break leader for the Bennion Center.

"Research has opened the door to so many opportunities for me and I have met some incredible people. The level of learning and professional development that research has given me is incredibly valuable to me."



Yasmeen Siripathane

Wednesday 10:45 - 11:45 or make an appointment via email
Sill 002
College of Health, School of Dentistry, and College of Pharmacy

Yasmeen Siripathane is a senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. Yasmeen started research her sophomore year and has completed two semesters of UROP for her project in neuroscience with the Fleckenstein Lab. She is on the pre-dental track aiming to go to dental school after graduation.

"Research has been such an exciting and challenging experience for me. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and has opened so many doors for me! It’s made me more efficient in team work, public speaking, and time management/organization. Getting involved with research has been one of the best decisions I have made in my undergraduate career."



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 2020 and Spring 2021); must have successfully completed at least one semester of UROP or SPUR; 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

The deadline to apply for the 2020-2021 academic year is has been extended to Tuesday, March 31st.  Please click the below button to access the application form.

Applications for the 2020 - 2021 Year are OPEN.

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.