Peer Advisors

Peer Advisors

Kara Anderson - Sociology

Experience: URAP, research assistant outside of URAP, Haas Scholars, honors thesis in the sociology department, presentations, research chair for Berkeley Undergraduate Sociology Association (BUSA), and editor for Eleven (the undergraduate journal of sociology).

Hello! My name is Kara Anderson, and I am a senior and transfer student from Sacramento majoring in sociology with a concentration in sociological research methods. My research focuses on the sociology of law, particularly legal inequality, and I am especially interested in quantitative methods and data science for social justice. When I’m not researching, I’m reading and exploring new coffee shops.

My research experience began in my first semester at Cal through an assistantship with a graduate student on Unlocking Time, a project by Abl. I have continued on to participate in URAP at the law school from fall 2019 to the present. I am also a current Haas Scholar, working on my honors thesis. Additionally, I serve as the research chair for the Berkeley Undergraduate Sociology Association and as an editor for Eleven, the undergraduate journal of sociology. 

Reach out if you have questions about URAP, Haas Scholars, writing in the social sciences, or research in general!

Drop in Hour: Tuesdays 11:00am-12:00pm, or email me for a separate appointment

Louise Curtis - History

Experience: URAP, SURF L&S, honors thesis, CPD Undergrad Fellows program, research abroad. 

My name is Louise and I’m a fourth-year history major, focusing on early modern European history and intellectual history. I’m writing an honors thesis on the history of education and philosophies of education in post-Revolutionary France. 

I started with undergraduate research in my second year. I did URAP with a sociologist at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. I also started working as a research assistant to a professor in political science, and I have continued with research every semester since. Last spring I interned at the University of Strasbourg in a history research unit, and over the summer I was a SURF fellow. 

I am happy to answer questions about finding research opportunities in the social sciences, interdisciplinary research, URAP, SURF, and research opportunities abroad. 

Drop In Hour: Wednesdays 3:00-4:00pm, or email me!

James Mang - Astrophysics & Chemistry

Experience: URAP, Research Publication Writing, Conference Presentations

Hi! My name is James and I’m a senior majoring in Astrophysics and Chemistry. I’m really passionate about exoplanets and looking for signatures of life in the universe; so my research, as part of the Astronomy department, focuses on modeling the atmospheres of these exoplanets. 

I have had two semesters of URAP experience working at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) up on the hill developing hardware for telescope missions. I also work on projects with my mentors at the University of Toronto and at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, both starting from summer associateship programs I participated in. I have written research grant proposals, scientific research papers for publication as first-author and co-author and presented at research conferences and department colloquiums. 

Feel free to contact me about URAP, summer research opportunities, contacting post-docs and professors as well as writing research proposals and papers, I’d be happy to help!

Drop-in Hour: Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm or just send me an email!

Casey Mogilevsky - Chemical Biology & Bioengineering

    Hey! I’m a senior majoring in Chemical Biology and Bioengineering, and I am heavily involved in chemistry and biology research on campus. Currently I am a member of the Doudna and Francis labs on campus, where I work on research involving CRISPR delivery, protein engineering, and bioconjugation. Bioconjugation is a subfield of biochemistry that focuses on using organic chemistry to attach molecules of interest to proteins, DNA and other biomacromolecules. In addition, I am also involved in the Berkeley iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) team, which is a student-led undergraduate research club that focuses on bioengineering and molecular biology research. When I am not working on research, you can find me playing cello for The Intermission Orchestra at UC Berkeley, a student-led group that performs music from movies, anime and video games. I also like baking, tennis and hiking.


    Drop-in Hour: Mondays 10:00-11:00am or just send me an email!

    Jasper Murphy - Molecular & Cell Biology

      I am an incoming junior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology with a focus on Developmental Genetics. I started working in the Gillespie Lab during the second semester of my freshman year, where we examine chemical recognition cues in an adaptive radiation of Hawaiian spiders. Additionally, I am a member of the Patient Support Corps (also through URAP), a group of health advocates and patient scribes who work at the UCSF Medical Center. Outside of school I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, and playing video games.

      Leyla Namazie - Geophysics

        Hey! I am a senior studying geophysics in the Earth and Planetary Science Department! I have been a SURF fellow for two years now, and am doing research in paleomagnetism at the Berkeley Geochronology Center. Paleomagnetism is the study of how rocks can obtain an induced magnetization record from exposure to the Earth’s magnetic field at the time of their formation. This magnetic information is very valuable because it acts as a record of a terranes position in time and space and allows us to observe how plates may have moved or rotated across the surface of the earth. It’s pretty cool stuff! Outside of the p-mag lab, I love to hike, swim, collect random trinkets I will never use, and lay in bed to binge watch The Office.


        Drop-in Hour: Thursdays 10:00-11:00am or just send me an email!

        Marina Norfolk - Molecular & Cell Biology

        Hi! My name is Marina, I’m a 4th year majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology: Immunology and Pathogenesis with a focus in infectious diseases. I’m currently with the Boots Lab where I’m working on an independent research project focusing on how seasonality can impact host-parasite interaction. When I’m not busy with OURS, I can be found working as a coordinator for EOP STEM, reading, baking, or making sweaters for my dog. 

        I had the opportunity to participate in URAP for a year with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as an assistant in their specimen preparation lab and separately on the Towhee project, which aimed at trying to discern is a speciation event had transpired in spotted towhees found along the west coast of the United States. This last summer I was a fellow in the SURF-SMART cohort where I worked alongside a mentor graduate student in Boots Lab and contributed to a review paper that discussed virulence in emerging zoonotic diseases.

        Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about research, navigating biology opportunities, or networking!

        Drop-in Hour: Mondays 12:00-1:00pm or by appointment

        Stuti Raizada - Physics & Applied Mathematics

        I am a physics and applied mathematics major. I do research in nuclear physics in which I study Quark Gluon Plasma. I am also writing a mathematics senior thesis on random graphs. I participated in SURF this summer.  

        Reach out if you have any questions about research or navigating the physics and math majors.


        Neha Simha - Molecular & Cell Biology and Public Health

          Hello! I am a junior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and Public Health. I am going into my fourth semester in the Scott Lab through URAP. I work on characterizing a second-order sugar and water sensing neuron in the fruit fly brain. I use optogenetics to silence the neuron of interest and measure behavioral output. I visualize the neuron by dissecting and imaging the fruit fly brain with fluorescent labels. I received a summer stipend through URAP to continue my research this summer. Outside of research, I am involved in a club called Jeeva Clinic that focuses on combating health disparities in cardiovascular disease. I enjoy reading, painting, curating playlists, and watching basketball in my free time.


          Drop-in Hour: Wednesdays 11:00am-12:00pm or just send me an email!

          Robin Stewart - Psychology

          Hey everyone! My name is Robin Stewart, I’m a transfer student from the Bay Area, majoring in Psychology. I really want to study clinical psychology regarding sexuality, impulsivity, personality, and forensic psychology. When I am not studying or helping people at the OURS department, I like to read non-fiction and learn new cooking recipes.  

          I have participated in URAP twice during my time at Berkeley for the Whitney Lab and Johnson Lab, and I am also a Research Assistant and a journal club coordinator for the Fisher Lab. 

          Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the URAP process or how to ace the interview for your general Research Assistant positions! 

          Drop-in Hour: Wednesdays at 10:00-11:00am

          Kenneth Trang - Microbial Biology

          Hi friends! My name is Kenny and I’m a third year majoring in Microbial Biology. I’m currently working on two community ecology projects that I’m really excited about: one studying host-microbe (microbiome) interactions in the Shapira lab and another constructing ecological niche models of plant parasites (mistletoes). Outside of class and research, I religiously follow collegiate and international swimming and take care of my house plants.

          I’ve participated in URAP since my freshman year and more recently received a SURF Rose-Hill Fellowship last summer. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you might have about writing a successful URAP or SURF application or about research in general through my personal email or office hours!


          Denissa Widiarto - Molecular & Cell Biology

            I’m a junior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology with a focus in Immunology. I first got involved in research my freshman year at Berkeley through URAP, working in the Emotion and Social Interaction Lab where we studied the effect of Broad Minded Affective Coping technique on increasing positive emotions in patients with schizophrenia. In the spring semester of my sophomore year, I started working at the Molofsky Lab in UCSF where I am currently studying the interactions between neurons and glial cells during early development. In the summer of 2019, I was selected as a SURF fellow. During my free time, I enjoy going on hikes, trying out new food places, and doing acroyoga! 

            Allison Zau - Geophysics

            Hello! I’m Allison. I use any pronouns and I’m a 4th year majoring in geophysics and minoring in GIS and art history. Right now, I’m using seismic refraction surveys to better understand groundwater aquifers in the Tahoe National Forest. This independent project first began when I joined as a URAP student in the research group and was picked up when I became a SURF Rose Hills Fellow: The entire process involved creating a proposal, applying for funding, organizing the fieldwork campaigns, analyzing the data, and writing the conclusive paper.

            I’ve also been working for the Critical Zone Observatory as a field technician since my sophomore year, an opportunity I found through connections within my department (Earth and Planetary Sciences). Previously, I’ve also worked with the UC Museum of Paleontology through URAP. 

            Reach out if you have any questions about writing project proposals, URAP, getting fieldwork experience, finding research opportunities outside of the OURS programs (especially in the physical sciences), or anything else!

            Drop In Hour: Thursdays 1:00-2:00pm or by appointment