Undergraduate Research Scholars

College of Letters & Science

Fellows 2017-2018

ALEXIS ABREGO is a senior from Wausau, Wisconsin studying History of Science, Medicine, and Technology with a certificate in Global Health, Biology Core Curriculum Honors Certificate, and Honors in the Liberal Arts. Her goal is to become a primary care physician in a rural setting. Currently, Alexis is a Chancellor’s Scholar and a member of the Biocore Ambassadors, a group leader at Biotrek in the Genetics-Biotechnology Center, a HOPE mentor with UW Health, and volunteering in the American Family Children’s Hospital. She is working with Dr. Rama Maganti in the Neurology department studying the effects and mechanisms of disrupted circadian sleep patterns on seizures in developmental temporal lobe epilepsy. This past summer she participated 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 is a senior from Greendale, Wisconsin majoring in Geology and Geological Engineering. This is his second year as a fellow. Currently, he works at the Public Service Commission as a data analyst intern. He has research in experience in the History and Geology departments. 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, collect plants, and drink coffee.

FAITH BOWMAN is a senior at UW-Madison born on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation and raised in Milwaukee, WI. She is a proud McNair Scholar and a Center for Educational Opportunity Scholar. She is currently serving as the President for the historically Native based multicultural sorority Alpha Pi Omega, Inc.-Lambda Chapter. Faith is studying genetics and gaining a certificate in American Indian Studies and Leadership with plans to pursue a PhD. Faith’s research experiences include working in the Department of Linguistics on the Menominee Transcription Project, and working in the Damschen Ecology Lab looking at the variation in seed traits of species in different ecosystems and its relation to climate change. She currently works with Dr. Barak Blum in the Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology conducting research on the organizational state of the Islet of Langerhans in the Endocrine pancreas and its role in Type1 and Type2 diabetes.

ROSS DAHLKE is a senior from Westfield, WI. He is pursuing comprehensive honors in Journalism and Political Science. His research takes quantitative approaches to understanding political donor polarization and the connection between political candidates' donor networks and their social media communications. Outside of the university, Ross has worked in analytics and targeting on state-wide, federal and local political campaigns.

NICHOLAS GRETZON is a senior from Green Bay, WI. Majoring in Psychology, he aspires to earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy so that he can work to empower people through promoting health and physical ability. Starting with his study of anxiety, depression, and stress at the Center for Healthy Minds, he has worked to become a personal trainer at Rec Sports, teaching, developing, and spreading healthy lifestyle practices to promote wellness among UW students and faculty. He pursues his passion for a healthy lifestyle in his daily life by officiating 8 different sports, cooking new foods, working out at the Nat, exploring new genres of music, relishing the outdoors, and seeking out new exercises. If he’s not working out at the Nat you can probably find him on the beach volleyball court with friends.

ENRIQUE GUZMAN is a Junior studying Electrical Engineering with a Certificate in Biology in Engineering. He is a proud Posse Scholar hailing from the beautiful city of Chicago. He is currently serving as the Vice President for the Hispanic engineering organization SHPE, and has been involved with both MECHA and Engineers Without Borders (EWB). This is his first year as a URS fellow, being a scholar himself his Freshman year. During his free time, Enrique enjoys taking long nightly walks and exploring the city.

 

AMINA IRO, a Prince George’s County, Maryland native, is a senior at UW-Madison studying Neurobiology and English-Creative Writing. Perviously, Amina served as a research assistant at the University of Maryland-College Park, as well as the Department of Education at UW Madison. She is currently completing her senior thesis under Professor Morton Ann Gernsbacher in UW-Madison's Department Psychology. 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 Masterchef, and describing foods like chefs on “Chopped.”

KENNETH JACKSON is a junior Posse scholar from Washington D.C studying microbiology. He spent the 2016-17 academic year doing research in the Jean Michelle Ané lab, working with NIN in poplars. Kenneth enjoys his roles as the president of the Wisconsin Association of Black Men, a STEM outreach ambassador, and a posse peer leader. Some of Kenneth’s hobbies include, playing lacrosse, video games, visually stunning movies, and cooking.

HAWA KEITA is a senior from Brooklyn, NY studying Chemistry with a Certificate in African Studies. She is also a proud Posse Scholar. A former URS scholar, she conducted research in a geography lab with Dr. Joe Mason and is currently working in an organic chemistry lab under the supervision Dr. Tehshik Yoon. She serves as the volunteerism chair for the UW-Madison chapter of NOBCChE (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers). Outside of URS Hawa enjoys cooking, yoga, crocheting, and spending time with loved ones. Fun fact: her bloodstream is 75% coffee.

PHOEBE MARQUARDT is a senior from Oconomowoc, WI studying Biology and Integrated Liberal Studies. She has worked on the MIDUS study as part of the Center for Healthy Minds, looking at how emotion regulation relates to other aspects of wellness. Outside of URS, Phoebe enjoys her roles as the Associate Director of External Outreach for WUD Music, a WSUM DJ, and a CHVM health coach. Libraries, trees, and David Bowie are a few of her favorite things. 

LAURA MILLER is a third year pursuing a major in Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics with certificates in sustainability and leadership. She was born and raised in Washington D.C. and is a proud Posse and LEED scholar here at UW-Madison. As a former URS scholar herself last year, she worked on a research project involving Accident Tolerant Fuel materials in nuclear reactors. On campus, she is a peer leader and Event Chair for WISCIENCE’s IMPACT Program and a part of the Gender Minorities and Women in Physics Club. In her free time, Laura loves to volunteer, read, watch Netflix and documentaries, and play card games. She aspires to get her PhD in nuclear engineering and work on either nuclear propulsion systems or nuclear power plants in an effort to increase their efficiency while motivating more minorities in STEM through mentorship, exposure, and outreach.

SANOBER MIRZA is a senior from Rochester, Minnesota studying Environmental Sciences and Geography. She has been investigating soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics across tropical uses in the Marín-Spiotta Biogeography Lab since she started at UW-Madison. She is currently working on her senior thesis, studying how the nitrogen cycle varies in tropical forests. Inspired by the awesome fellows that she had when she was in URS, Sanober hopes to help Scholars transition into an academic research setting while finding various opportunities that are right for them on campus. She is active in REthink Wisconsin, Geography Club, and more. In her (limited) free time, she loves going to Badger sporting events and making maps.

ALEX MOROZ is a senior from Maple Grove, Minnesota studying Biochemistry and Global Security with a certificate in Global Health. This is his first year as a fellow. Alex worked in the Suzuki research lab in Madison developing stem-cell-based therapies for neurodegenerative diseases for three years and the E2S2 lab at the National University of Singapore for a summer using bioaugmentation to optimize the anaerobic digestion of organic waste. During his college career he has lived, worked, and studied in Argentina, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He is interested in a career in national security or medicine. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

SARAH NEUFCOURT is a junior pursing Biological Systems Engineering with a certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability. Also on a pre-vet track, she is currently working with the Animal Resource Center and is involved in glaucoma research under Dr. Gillian McLellan. Sarah fosters her enthusiasm for science and mentoring through involvement with MANRRS (Minority in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science), Insight Wisconsin and IMPACT, as both a Stem Immersion Leader and executive board member. Sarah was a URS scholar her freshmen year and is now looking forward to her first year as a URS fellow. She is a proud POSSE DC scholar but is originally from France. In her limited free time she enjoys reading, writing poetry, going to the gym and cooking. 

KAI PHAM is a junior from Muskego, Wisconsin and is studying Neurobiology and Psychology in preparation for medical school. During his time as a Scholar, Kai worked with Professor Lyn Van Swol of the UW English Communications Department on a study that aimed to determine the relationship between priming effects and perceived power in undergraduate respondents. He currently works as a research assistant in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in conjunction with the Medical College of Wisconsin at UW Hospital. Kai wants to be a resource for Scholars as they begin their journeys into the world of research and creative work. He enjoys singing, humor, and good conversation.

JANIECE PIOLET is a third year student double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. As a member of the Brauer Group Psychology Lab, Janiece is interested in the resilience strategies of marginalized social groups and how cognitive processes and social identities affect group inclusion. Janiece is a proud Posse scholar (shout out to Chicago!!!), a Social Justice Intern at the Multicultural Student Center, and volunteers at the YWCA of Madison. Janiece plans to pursue graduate school to study either organizational psychology or post-secondary education. In her spare time, Janiece enjoys gardening, cooking new dishes, discussing social justice, and being in nature.

ASHLEY PRUDHOM is a junior from Racine, WI, studying elementary education and educational policy. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in education as well as a doctoral degree in educational policy or leadership. She currently works under Dr. Brad Brown in the department of educational psychology. She is conducting her own research dealing with first year high school students’ transition into high school, in correlation to their social media interactions and happenings. She is a co-chair for Project 1808, a student and global organization based in Madison which promotes sustainable education and community development in Sierra Leone by aiding students in efforts to identify and address causes of poverty, health challenges, and other community-identified concerns. Additionally, she enjoys performing in a Madison choir, working out, and lazy days at the beach with friends.

SOPHIA SCHMIDT is a junior from Rogers, Minnesota. She is pursuing majors in biology and community and nonprofit leadership, along with a certificate in global health. After her undergraduate studies, she hopes to attend medical school. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and going to concerts.