Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

OURS Peer Advisors

The Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarships has a great group of experienced undergraduate researcher peer advisors that are ready to help you out.

Wondering how to get started in undergraduate research or seeking scholarships? Meet virtually with one of our peer advisors.

Alondra Camarena

Integrative Biology & Public Health - URAP

Hi everyone! My name is Alondra Camarena (she/they), and I am a second-year student intending to double major in Integrative Biology and Public Health with a double minor in Disability Studies and Public Policy. I am originally from the Central Valley (California) and on the pre-medical route. I joined URAP my first semester as a member of the Patient Support Corps at UCSF. Our group is focused on different avenues of health advocacy and providing support/resources for patients at UCSF, such as patient scribing. In addition, I am passionate about advocating for health equity in marginalized communities with a focus on environmental health impact. Outside of school, you can catch me skateboarding down Channing, listening to music on the Glade, or biking around Berkeley:)

Diana Francis

Molecular & Cell Biology - URAP & SURF

Hi everyone! My name is Diana (she/her/hers), and I’m a third-year majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology. This fall will be my fourth semester with URAP since I joined the Harland Lab in my freshman year, and I was a SURF Rose Hills fellow this past summer. For my research project, I use molecular biology techniques to track the expression of sleep-related genes in the Cassiopea jellyfish, the first animal without a centralized nervous system shown to exhibit a sleep-like state. When I’m not spending late nights in the lab, I like to cook (badly), go thrifting, and watch sitcoms.

Please don’t hesitate to drop by my office hours or shoot me an email if you have any questions about URAP, SURF, or writing research proposals. I’m also happy to chat about imposter syndrome and how to make the most out of your research experience.

My Spring 2023 drop-in hour is Mondays, 12-1 p.m. Diana’s zoom link.

Phil Iweda

History - URAP

Hello! My name is Phil, and I’m a senior studying history with a concentration in modern German history. I’ve been working at the Magnes museum under Dr. Francesco Spagnolo for the past year and a half as part of URAP. I’ve worked on three projects during my time there, including researching photographs taken by Roman Vishniac, locating and categorizing Judaica in the Islamic world, and writing a research paper about the ultra-nationalistic German Jewish group the Verband nationaldeutscher Juden. Outside of my work at the Magnes, I am also writing a research paper under Professor Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann about militant youth during the Weimar Republic. In addition to my research, I am an editor for the Clio’s Scroll research journal. Outside of school, I avidly follow the NBA (go Lakers!), and I also enjoy going on drives, playing old strategy games, and binge-reading manga.

Please feel free to email me or drop by my office hours if you have any questions, or would just like to chat. 

My Spring 2023 drop in hour is Mondays, 9-10 a.m. Phil’s zoom link.

Jane Li

Molecular & Cell Biology and Psychology - URAP

Hey there. My name is Jane, and I am a junior majoring in MCB neurobiology emphasis and Psychology. I am an international student from China. I joined the Nogales lab through the URAP program at the beginning of my sophomore year and stayed in the lab over the past summer. Affiliated with the Collins lab, I work on a project combining retrotransposons and cas enzymes to search for a potential tool for gene editing. Besides working in a wet lab in biology, I am also a research assistant for Professor Persons in the psychology department. As a member of the Berkeley Scientific Journal, I am active as a scientific writer as well.
Outside of research/school, I love exploring coffee shops, going to concerts, cooking with my friend, and hanging out with my cats. Feel free to reach out through email or zoom with any questions! Please feel free to shoot me an email and/or set up a zoom meeting if you need help or want to chat! Jane’s zoom link

My Spring 2023 drop-in hour is Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m.

Sanjana Manjeshwar

Sociology & Legal Studies - URAP

Hello! My name is Sanjana and I’m a senior double majoring in Sociology and Legal Studies. Since the fall of 2020, I have been a URAP research assistant at the Civil Justice Research Initiative (CJRI), a think tank at Berkeley Law that studies how to improve access to the legal system. At the CJRI, I help write and edit publications and amicus briefs, conduct legal research, write newsletter articles, and more. I also received a URAP summer fellowship to continue working with my faculty mentor over this past summer, where I co-authored a paper about using civil litigation to address the gun violence epidemic.

Outside of URAP, I have worked as a research assistant at the Othering & Belonging Institute and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. I’m also currently writing an honors thesis through the Legal Studies department, where I hope to further explore my interest in access to justice. In my free time, I enjoy reading, taking nature walks, and exploring the Bay Area with friends.

Please reach out with any questions (or just to chat!) about the URAP application process, social science research, or anything else.

Tanmayi Patharkar

Microbial Biology - URAP

Hey! My name is Tanmayi (she/her) and I am a junior majoring in Microbial Biology. I became involved in research starting my freshman year, when I joined the Looy Lab as a Research Apprentice through the URAP program. In order to build on my interest in climate science research, I also began working as a Lab and Field Assistant in the Wang Lab my sophomore year through the CNR SPUR program. This summer, I had an opportunity to spend some time doing fieldwork and collecting data for an independent research project working to understand the impact of natural and sexual selection on specific microbiome communities.
Outside of school, I enjoy writing, spending time with my dog, and trying new coffee places! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about finding research, starting an independent project, writing grants, or anything else!

My Spring 2023 drop-in hour is Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m. Tanmayi’s zoom link.

Lan “Eria” Wei

Genetics & Plant Biology - URAP

Hi! I am a 4th-year international student from China majoring in Genetics and Plant Biology. I started my undergraduate research journey through URAP and emailing professors. In the past 3 years, I have had the pleasure and honor to work in 8 positions/projects in evolutionary biology and ecology with brilliant mentors and peers, including testing a non-parametric model under a Bayesian phylogenetic framework, investigating the genetics underlying flower pigmentation patterns that are invisible to human eyes, translating traits of fossilized plants into coded matrices to estimate their evolutionary history, extracting DNA from redwood leaves collected across California and Oregon to assess their community structure, etc.
Aside from research, I am teaching the “Fruits of the World” DeCal course. I also enjoy recording nature with my camera, watching anime, and reading botanical stuff.
Please feel free to shoot me an email and/or set up a zoom meeting if you need help or want to chat! 

My Spring 2023 drop-in hour is Wednesdays, 9-10 a.m. Eria’s zoom link.

Emily Nguyen

Computer Science - URAP & SURF

Hi everyone! My pronouns are she/her. I’m a PhD student advised by Dr. Yan Liu at USC. My research interests are machine learning for data with special structure, including high dimensional data and time series, in health and healthcare. Previously, I earned my BA in Computer Science from Cal in 2022. I worked as a student researcher at UCSF and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where I was co-advised by Drs. Kristofer Bouchard and Roy Ben-Shalom.

I’m happy to answer questions like: How can I get involved in the exciting world of cutting-edge research? Could you please provide feedback on my proposal? What is grad school life like? Come chat about anything research-related with me! My Spring 2023 drop-in hour is Fridays, 3-4 PM. Emily’s zoom link.