Undergraduate Research Scholars

College of Letters & Science

Fellows 2018-2019

Emma J. is a first year URS Fellow studying Psychology with a certificate in Criminal Justice. As a Scholar, Emma worked with Dr. Lyn Van Swol to investigate whether losing or gaining money differentially contributed to deception. Since then, she has participated in research examining topics including sex trafficking on Twitter, alcohol use disorder classification via social media, and psychopathy in criminal offenders. She currently spends a lot of time interviewing prison inmates for her senior honors thesis, which analyzes gender differences in the relationship between childhood trauma and a high-anxiety subtype of psychopathy. She is also interning in the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center Research Unit, where she studies high-risk sex offenders who are involuntarily civilly committed to treatment after serving their prison sentence. She is passionate about open science, scientific communication, pedagogy, and statistics and hopes to enter academia with an equal devotion to research and teaching. Outside of class, you can find Emma roller skating around Madison, practicing with the UW-Boxing Club, or watching videos of baby Netherland Dwarf bunnies.

Daniela Beltran Hernandez is from El Centro, California majoring in Neurobiology and Computer Science, with a plan to pursue an MD/PhD. She is currently doing research at the UW Center for Healthy Minds, on the MIDUS project, which researches emotion, health and well-being. She is also on the exec. board for Community Health Volunteers of Madison and spends a lot of her time doing community service for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. She is also a medical scribe in the emergency department at St. Mary’s hospital. In her free time, she likes eating new foods and going to Badger games.

Taylor Bye is a third year student majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Criminal Justice. She is interested in studying schizophrenia and other psychopathology in children and criminals. Taylor is a proud Posse Scholar from New York City. During her time as a scholar, she did research in Dr. Thomas Record’s Biochemistry lab, where she conducted vapor pressure osmometry experiments in order to measure the interaction of solutes with protein surface types. She is currently conducting research in Dr. Gooding PATHS lab within the Department of Psychology, which primarily studies schizophrenia and schizophrenia-related disorders. After graduation, Taylor plans to attend graduate school to earn a PhD in clinical psychology. In her free time, Taylor likes to watch crime/ law shows and eat Italian subs from Fraboni’s. 

Olatomiwa Coker is a junior from the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI majoring in Material Science and Engineering. He is a proud Leaders in Engineering Excellence and Diversity scholar as well as a Chancellor’s scholar. He is currently serving his second year on the E-board of the National Society of Black Engineers and his first year as president. Upon graduating, he aspires to work in the healthcare field working with underserved communities by providing the equipment needed to reduce health disparities.

Breana Collins is a senior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin majoring in Environmental Science with certificates in Sustainability, Afro-American Studies, and Environmental Studies. Breana is a past BioHouse member, served as a research assistant for the AWARE Lab, and is a CESP scholar. When she is not teaching children how not to drown, you can find her at the gym or sleeping. 

Mae is a junior from Milwaukee. She is a proud Chancellor’s Scholar studying Political Science and History. Mae works in the Peer Research Study Group under Dr. Brad Brown, studying students' sense of belonging on the UW Madison campus. She is a research assistant at the Wisconsin Historical Society and is passionate about public history. Mae hopes to travel a lot and pursue a career in law. She hopes to be a reliable Fellow and foster an open and safe environment for scholars to engage in interesting discussion. Mae enjoys reading, swimming, cooking and getting into nonsense arguments with her friends. 

Joshua Fernandez is a junior from Brookfield, Wisconsin. He is pursuing a major in Industrial Engineering and Economics. During his time as a scholar he worked under Helen Lee in the Glass lab, learning how glass and language intersect as a medium. Josh is also involved in Engineers Without Borders, Industrial & Systems Engineering Club and Boxing club. He is also a part of the Wisconsin Singers, a performance group on campus. In his free time Josh likes to play soccer, cook, listen to music and travel.

Rebecca Hoehn is a Junior from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin studying Pharmacology and Toxicology, with a certificate in Global Health. Her research experiences include several projects with the Pedersen Group, including uptake of pharmaceuticals into crop plants via treated wastewater and the effects of plant induced rhizosphere pH changes on pharmaceutical uptake in soils. Outside of school and research, Rebecca is a member of the Badger Ballroom Dance Team, where she serves on the council as Competition Coordinator. In her free time she enjoys tending to her many plants, exploring the outdoors, dancing, cooking, traveling and attending live music and theatre events. 

Lauren Hoffarth is a junior from Janesville, Wisconsin. After transfering to UW-Madison her sophomore year, she is now majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science with a certificate in Global Health. As a Scholar, her research in the Sociology Department was titled The Institutional Reproduction of Sex and Gender in Biomedicine. Most of her time is spent in the Red Gym either for URS or working at the Morgridge Center for Public Service. She is also currently serving as the Civic Engagement Chair in the Political Science Student Association. In her rare free time, her hobbies include cooking vegetarian meals, having productive discussions about political issues with others, hiking, and traveling. 

Hannah McBride is a Junior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying Biochemistry with a Certificate in Global Health. Hannah researches the characterization of multicellular cerebral organoids for disease modeling in the Murphy Lab. She is a CALS Ambassador and works for Outreach Health as an In Home Care Assistant for people with different abilities. She enjoys volunteering at the BlackHawk Church Food Pantry Garden harvesting vegetables and the Central Wisconsin Center doing activities with people of differing abilities. In her free time Hannah can be found exploring the outdoors, reading in a hammock, or traveling with friends. 

Laura Miller is a fourth year studying Geography and Environmental Studies with certificates in Leadership and Development Economics. She is a proud Posse Scholar from the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. She is involved heavily with WISCIENCE’s IMPaCT organization, CESP, and several volunteer organizations around Madison. Post-graduation, Laura intends to pursue a career as an urban planner, working primarily to reduce homelessness and inequity using sustainable building practices and design in major cities like her hometown. On the rare occasion where she’s not working or volunteering, she can be found reading, at the gym, or trying new BBQ recipes.

Sarah Neufcourt is a 4th year pursing a Biological Systems Engineering degree with a certificate in Education and Educational Services. 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 by actively being president of MANRRS (Minority in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science), and co-president of IMPaCT (Integrated Mentoring Program and Core Training. Sarah was a URS scholar her freshmen year and is now looking forward to her second 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 is a senior from Muskego, Wisconsin graduating with a B.S. in Neurobiology. As a Scholar, he worked with Professor Lyn Van Swol of the English Communications Department on a study that aimed to determine the relationship between emotional priming effects and power dynamics in solicited and unsolicited advice. After his time as a Scholar, he went on to assist with research through the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UW Hospital. Kai loves connecting with others, creative endeavors, and humor.

Janiece is a 4th year student double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a certificate in Educational Policy Studies. She is interested in how cognitive processes and social identity affect sense of belonging and group inclusion. Currently at UW, Janiece is a second year Fellow for the Undergraduate Research Scholars program, she is a House Fellow in Sellery Residential Hall, and she is a National Posse Scholar. In her future, Janiece plans to continue on to graduate school to study post-secondary educational leadership and student affairs. In her spare time, Janiece enjoys gardening, attending live jazz performances, discussing social justice, being among nature, and playing with her hamster, Sammie.

Sophia Schmidt is a second-year fellow and a senior. She is from Rogers, Minnesota. She is pursuing degrees in biology and community and nonprofit leadership, along with a certificate in global health. She works as an intern with the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team on campus, where she studies how young adults use the internet to communicate information about cancer and other terminal illnesses. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading. 

Diana Tapia is a junior from Staten Island, NY, majoring in Conservation Biology and Geography. She is also a proud Center for Academic Excellence Scholar. This is her first year as a URS fellow. As a former URS scholar, she spent the 2017-18 academic year conducting research in the the Marin-Spiotta Biogeography Lab, measuring the pH of various tropical forest soils. Currently, she is excited to be a presenter for the Expanding Your Horizons conference, which engages young women in grades 6-8 to learn more about STEM fields and careers. She also volunteers for the Centro Hispano Escalera Program, serving as a tutor for high school students. In her free time, she enjoys looking at historical photos, finding hidden location gems around Madison, and taking sunrise walks around the lakeshore path.

Josue Velazquez is a fourth year, Powers-Knapp scholar from Chicago, IL. He is pursuing a Rehabilitation Psychology and Education Studies major and certificate in Chican@/Latin@ Studies. He is currently serving as Vice President for my fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta as well as Vice President for the Multicultural Greek Council. Aside from that, he also works as an instructor for the Information Technology Academy and is doing his practicum with Wright Middle School & Centro Hispano’s Juventud program. Lastly, he also participated on the planning committee for the 2018 Latinx Heritage Month! In his free time, he likes to read, play video games, and hang out with friends.