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OUR Student Spotlight (OURS^2) April 2023

As we rapidly approach the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, we would like to take a moment to celebrate this year’s Undergraduate Research Leaders and their accomplishments! 5 of our 7 Leaders are graduating this May, and while we will miss them as they move on to their post-undergraduate endeavors, we are so proud of these students and all they have achieved during their undergraduate careers, both with the OUR and beyond. We also look forward to continuing to work with 2 of our Leaders as they continue their undergraduate work during the 2023-2024 school year.

Read more about the accomplishments of the 2022-2023 Undergraduate Research Leaders below!

2023 Graduating Seniors

Joshua Chang

Joshua will be graduating this May with an Honors Bachelors degree in Biology and has served as our Community Engaged Research leader this year. He was also one of 21 students inducted into the Beehive Honors Society, the oldest and most prestigious honors society at the University of Utah! In addition to his work with the OUR this year, he also worked with the Bennion Center HELP program as part of his Capstone Project to create a sustainable and effective ambulation program to benefit older adults at risk of delirium with faculty mentor Dr. Christopher Depner.

Gauri Garg

Gauri will be graduating this May with a Bachelors degree in Health, Society, and Policy with minors in Chemistry and Pediatric Clinical Research and has served as the OUR IRB and Clinical Research leader for two years. Currently, she is an Honors peer mentor, a TA in both organic chemistry and the pediatric clinical research minor and does research with the Departments of Gastroenterology and Neurology (respectively) at the U of U Hospital. She has also co-authored 5 publications, presented at the International Stroke Conference and the American College of Gastroenterology conferences, and interned through the NIH last summer in a research lab. She plans on applying to medical school after graduation.

Melika Moeinvaziri

Melika will be graduating this May with a Bachelors degree in Health, Society, and Policy and has served as our Diversity in Research leader this year. She is currently the president of the U of U PUSO (Philippine United Student Union), a peer mentor with the Diversity Scholars, and is also currently interning at Utah Health and Human Rights.

Sarthak Tiwari

Sarthak will be graduating with his Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering this May and has served as our STEM Research leader this year. His accomplishments this year include being selected as a Fulbright semi-finalist and receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFM) in biomedical engineering, which involves a 5-year fellowship supplying 3 years of funding at roughly $50k/year! His goal is to earn a PhD in computational biology and focus on machine learning application in regulatory genomics to help with personalized medicine and our understanding of disease.

Emi Wickens

Emi will be graduating Summa Cum Laude in May with an Honors BS in Health, Society, and Policy with minors in Chemistry and Honors Health in Context. This coming year, she will be applying to medical school (as well as enjoying life as a college graduate!)and will also continue working as the director of the Hope Clinic Lab (Midvale), entering her third year in this position providing free healthcare to those 150% below the poverty line. She also volunteers as a doula at the U of U Hospital and will begin volunteering with the American Cancer Society Action Network to help promote and lobby for policies that will benefit those with chronic illnesses such as cancer this summer.

Returning 2023-2024 Undergraduate Research Leaders

Eliana Massey

Eliana has served as the OUR’s Publications and Public Research leader this year and played an integral role in the redesign of the OUR Undergraduate Research Journal, which was launched this academic year as the RANGE: Undergraduate Research Journal. In addition to her contributions to the Journal, her accomplishments include participating in SPUR 2022 working with Dr. Matthew Basso, conducting research as a Digital Matters Undergraduate Intern during Fall 2022, and being selected to receive the 2023 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for the College of Humanities. She will continue to work with the OUR during the 23-24 school year.

Ava Peitz

Ava is our newest Undergraduate Research Leader, whose focus is on the Institutional Review Board (IRB). She will continue to work with the OUR during the 23-24 school year. In addition to her work with the OUR, this year she served as the Honors Student Advisory Committee HSAC chair, as a College of Science Ambassador, as a board member and volunteer coordinator for Camp Kesem at the U, and as an Honors College Year-One Peer Mentor. She was also awarded the Excellence in Undergraduate Leadership Award by the College of Science for her contributions and efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming year, Ava plans to complete a Domestic-Specific Mediation certification through the U of U Law school, continue working with HSAC as the Chair Pro Tempore, serve as a College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Ambassador, and TA for a CHARGE class session as a Peer Mentor with the Honors College.