Undergraduate Research Scholars

College of Letters & Science
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Fellows 2016-2017

Alexis Abrego

Alexis Abrego is a Junior from Wausau, Wisconsin studying Microbiology with a certificate in Global Health and Honors in the Liberal Arts. Her goal is to become a pediatrician. Currently, Alexis is a Biocore student and member of the Biocore Ambassadors, a group leader at Biotrek in the Genetics-Biotechnology Center, a HOPE mentor with UW Health, and serving as Volunteer Co-Chair for her class in the Chancellor’s Scholars. She is working with Dr. Rama Maganti in the Neurology department studying the effects and mechanisms of disrupted circadian patterns on epileptic seizures. This summer she aspires to participate in a study abroad program exploring the Argentine healthcare system including language instruction and fieldwork. In her free time Alexis enjoys the performing arts at the Overture Center, jogging along the lakeshore path, and going to the farmer’s market.

Shaadie Ali

Shaadie Ali is a junior from Greendale, Wisconsin majoring in Geology and Geological Engineering. This is his first year as a fellow. Currently, he is working on several geochronological problems under Brad Singer in the WiscAr lab in the Geoscience Department. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. In his free time, Shaadie loves to cook, listen to music, and drink coffee.

Faith Bowman

Faith Bowman is a junior born on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation and raised in Milwaukee, WI. She is a proud McNair Scholar and a third year Center For Educational Opportunity Scholar. She is currently serving as the Co-President for the Native American Student Organization Wunk Sheek and as Vice President for the historically Native based multicultural sorority Alpha Pi Omega, Inc. Faith is studying genetics and gaining a certificate in American Indian Studies and Leadership with plans to pursue a Medical Scientist Program earning a PhD and MD. Faith’s research experiences include working in a linguistics lab transcribing the Menominee Language, conducting independent research in the Damschen ecology lab looking at the variation in seed traits of species in different ecosystems and its relation to climate change. In the fall, she will be working with Dr. Barak Blum in the department of Genetics conducting research regarding the regulation of terminal differentiation and functional maturation of stem and progenitor cells, regenerative biology of the endocrine pancreas and its relation to diabetes. In her free time, she enjoys painting, beading, Netflix, and going on adventures with her friends.

Carina Carreno

Carina Carreno is a transfer student from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. She is currently in her senior year as a genetics major. She was a URS scholar last year and is returning this year as a URS Fellow. She works in Catherine Fox’s biochemistry lab, studying the mechanism(s) behind the origins of replication of eukaryotic cells.

Edwin Chen

Edwin Chen is a Nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has completed a certificate in Environmental Studies. Born in sunny Southern California, Edwin chose to brave the bitterly freezing winters at UW-Madison because of a prestigious full-tuition scholarship offered by the Posse Foundation on campus. As an upcoming senior, he highly treasures any free time that he has, as he uses it to pursue his hobbies. His pastimes include playing basketball, watching Game of Thrones, chilling with friends, and appreciating the environment and nature. With only one more year until graduation, Edwin has started to actively explore his post-undergraduate plans. His ultimate goal is to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Edwin hopes to be able to use his education and experience to bring joy and happiness to those around him.

Olivia Cottrell

Olivia Cottrell is a senior from Lexington, Kentucky. She is majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology with honors in Letters & Sciences. Olivia is also a Biocore student and part of the Biocore outreach ambassadors. She is also serving her second year as Co-President of UW’s Tri-Beta chapter, the nationally recognized biological honors society. Olivia is an outreach intern with the Adult Role Models in Science (ARMS) program, mentoring middle school students in their scientific inquiry. For the past two years she has been researching virology at the University of Kentucky and UW-Madison. In her free time Olivia enjoys gardening, biking, going to the farmers market, and seeing concerts in Madison.

Carol Coutinho

Carol Coutinho is a 5th year senior from Plymouth, Minnesota pursuing degrees in Biochemistry and Kinesiology. This is her third year as a Fellow in the URS Program. Currently, Carol is working on exercise physiology research in the Badger Athletic Performance Lab and Watson Human Performance Lab until direction of Dr. Drew Watson. In her free time, she enjoys running and staying active, trying out new recipes, and painting. 

Ross Dahlke

Ross Dahlke is a junior from Westfield, WI. He is pursuing comprehensive honors in Journalism and Political Science. He is looking forward to learning about the public policy implications of his scholars' work. Last summer he was a Welton Research Fellow and used Twitter data to visualize social media trends from the 2012 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall. Outside of the classroom, Ross has worked on political campaigns including Madison Mayor Paul Soglin's 2015 reelection campaign and Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg's 2016 campaign for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He also is the marketing lead for a mid-sized cheese company in Wisconsin where he manages the farmers market program with six employees staffing up to 16 markets per week. So if you need any Wisconsin cheese, hit him up. 

Tom Feustel

Tom Feustel is a 5th year senior studying Biomedical Engineering and Entrepreneurship. He has a wide variety of work experiences including biochemistry research labs, several startup companies, and one of the largest corporations in the world. In the future, Thomas hopes to explore the world while creating meaningful and lasting change along the way – cliché, but true.

Nicholas Gretzon

Nicholas Gretzon is a junior from Green Bay, WI. Majoring in Psychology, he aspires to earn his Ph.D. in Health Psychology. Starting with his study of the effects of anxiety, depression, and stress in mothers on their prenatal and postnatal infants at the Center for Healthy Minds, he hopes to develop and spread healthy lifestyle practices that promote well-being and prevent mental illness. He pursues his passion for a healthy lifestyle in his daily life by officiating over 6 different sports, cooking new foods, weightlifting at the Serf, exploring new genres of music, relishing the outdoors, and showing off his dad moves on the dance floor. If he’s not working out at the Serf you can probably find him on the beach volleyball court with friends.

Amina Iro

Amina Iro, a Prince George’s County, Maryland native, is a junior at UW-Madison studying Neurobiology and English-Creative Writing. In the past, she has been involved in research pertaining to the neuroscience of language under the University of Maryland’s Dr. Ellen Lau, as well as the perception of Black youth in Madison, Wisconsin under UW’s Dr. Bianca Baldridge. She is also a writer and spoken word artist in the First Wave Program on campus, and serves as the Senior Managing Director of The JVN Project. To serve both what she calls her “writing brain” and her “science brain,” Amina hopes to one day study and conduct research on the Neuroscience of Spoken Word Poetry. In her spare time, Amina can be found crocheting, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and describing foods like chefs on “Chopped.”

Hawa Keita

Hawa Keita is a junior from Brooklyn, New York and a part of the Posse Program. She is currently pursuing a degree in Chemistry. A former URS scholar herself, she has worked in Geography, Biochemistry, and Chemistry labs throughout her undergraduate career. Ultimately, her goal is to attain a PhD in Chemistry, eventually using Green Chemistry to collaborate with industry. In stressful academic situations she takes the edge off by making punny jokes relating to the subject. As a New Yorker, her favorite mode of transportation will always be the subway. In her free time she enjoys cozying up with a cup of tea and crocheting.

Joao Pedro Souto Maior

Joao Pedro Souto Maior is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He a senior and second year Fellow majoring in Economics (with Math emphasis) and taking the Educational Policy Studies certificate. After graduation, he intends to go to graduate school and build a career as an economist, contributing for research projects and working closely with schools and universities. He currently works under the coordination of Professor Kathryn Moeller in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, studying different aspects of public education in Brazil. In his free time, Joao enjoys playing sports and spending time with his friends exploring the many activities Madison provides.

Phoebe Marquardt

Phoebe Marquardt is a junior from Oconomowoc, WI studying Biology with an Integrated Liberal Studies certificate. She has worked on the MIDUS study as part of the Center for Healthy Minds which looks at how emotion regulation relates to other aspects of wellness. Outside of URS, Phoebe enjoys her roles as an assistant director for WUD Music, a WSUM DJ, and a CHVM health coach. Phoebe is looking forward to her first year as a fellow, as well as the day she has read everything by Dorothy Parker.

Cesar Martinez

Cesar Martinez  is a senior pursuing a comprehensive major in Neurobiology and liberal arts with a certificate in French. He was born in the state of Veracruz in Mexico, but has spent his teenage years living in Appleton, WI. He loves learning about new scientific research. In Dr. Rupa Sridaharan’s stem cell research lab, he enjoys investigating the role of various proteins in the acquisition of pluripotency in somatic cells. In addition to his research studies, he works as a medical scribe and tutor. He is also a full-time Real Madrid soccer fan. He hopes to attend medical school, and one day become a psychiatrist to help people experiencing mental illness. 

Jackson Moran

Jackson Moran is a senior from Edgerton, WI. He studies Nutritional Sciences and Global Health, and conducts research on fat metabolism in Dr. Eric Yen’s lab in the Nutritional Sciences Department. In addition to his involvement in URS, he is a student medical assistant for University Health Services, and a medical scribe at St. Mary’s Hospital. He also serves as Vice President for the UW Dietetics & Nutrition Club as well as CALS Health & Research Society. In his free time, you can find him playing basketball at the Shell or enjoying the outdoors while hiking, biking or sailing. Jackson aspires to attend medical school after earning his undergraduate degree.

Meghan Padrόn is a rising senior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies in the School of Human Ecology. A returning fellow, Meghan has intentions to apply to Montana State University to attend the School of Nursing starting next May after graduating from UW-Madison. Meghan loves this life and all it has to offer. After a series of significant changes in life, she has learned to love the journey and has found strength in ‘doing’ as opposed to saying. Likening herself to an anomaly, she prefers to do things in an original and authentic way, never deviating from strong convictions that often are challenged by most. She enjoys weightlifting, reading, and generally enjoying life with her cat, Dobis. Meghan looks forward to connecting with a new group of scholars and helping them along their own journeys – to become stronger, more engaged participants in their own education.

Emily Strack

Emily Strack is a senior from Brookfield, WI. She is majoring in Operations & Technology Management, Marketing, and Supply Chain, and pursuing certificates in Global Health, Health Care Management and Leadership. She aspires to combine her love of business and healthcare, and improve the healthcare vulnerable populations receive. As a freshman, she worked with Prof. Elisa Torres in the School of Nursing, studying the potential relationship between physical activity and white matter hyperintensities. On campus, she’s a volunteer at the Wingra Health Clinic, part of the Supply Chain Management Board of Directors, and BBA Ambassador Student Supervisor. Emily enjoys all things active, and if she’s not stopping dogs on the street to pet them, you can find her running, biking, or knitting.

Rehan Tariq

Rehan Tariq is a junior from Brooklyn, New York double majoring in Microbiology and Sociology. His research involved finding kinase inhibitors that can effectively inhibit antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Now he is waiting to start a new research project most likely relevant to his previous one. In his free time, he enjoys playing several sports including but not limited to soccer, basketball, tennis and racquetball. When not occupied with school work, he enjoys watching television shows like Arrow, The Flash, and Parks and Rec. Through the Muslim Students Association, he works with other orgs to bring them together and participate in fun board game nights and dinners. He volunteers in the emergency department of Meriter Hospital. Last but not least, he is a proud POSSE Scholar who is willing to meet new people and optimize his college experience.

Cory Washington

Cory Washington was born in Dallas, Texas and spent his most of his middle and high school years in Milwaukee, WI. He is a proud PEOPLE Scholar, a McNair Scholar, and Peer Learning Association’s Psychology course coordinator. He a Senior majoring in psychology and legal studies with aspirations to pursue his Ph.D. in social psychology. His research interest lie in the desire for growth as a personal motivator. Particularly, how identity and culture play a role in moderating feelings of belonging in goal pursuit. Cory’s research experience includes working in Dr. Judith Harackiewicz lab that studies motivation, and in another lab that studied small group conversation in the communication arts department with Dr. Lyn Van Swol. Cory enjoys mentoring, tutoring, cooking, and hanging out with his friends in his free time.