OURS Staff

Sean Burns
Sean Burns - Director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships

In his role as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships, Sean draws from a rich history of building project-based experiential learning programs that provide students with the most transformative forms of education. Sean received the Excellence in Management Award at UC Berkeley in 2018 for his leadership of the OURS office, and he has been centrally involved in campus efforts to expand research and other forms of experiential learning to all Cal undergradutes. His own scholarship and teaching focuses on U.S. social movement history and the dynamic intersections of community activism, political education, and the remaking of the social imagination. For his course on "Social Movements, Urban History, and the Politics of Memory," Sean was awarded the Chancellor's Faculty Civic Engagement Award (2014) and the American Cultures Teaching Innovation Award (2015). He earned his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz, and, prior to working at Cal, taught within UCSC's Community Studies Department. Burns' first book, a biography of Archie Green, was awarded the 2012 CLR James Book of the Year Award.

Leah Carroll - Haas Scholars Program Manager and Advisor

Leah manages the Haas Scholars Program and advises the scholars and applicants. She also gives most of the research workshops for the office and organizes outreach events. Leah came to the OURS in 2001 after having worked as a liberal arts college professor for four years. She was program coordinator of the Haas Scholars Program for ten years, then was Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships for almost four years before returning to her beloved Haas Scholars Program. Leah has degrees in sociology from Oberlin College and UC Berkeley. Her research, which holds great personal meaning for her, focuses on social movements, electoral politics, and political violence in Colombian war zones. Having engaged in life-changing research experiences, Leah is delighted to be in a position to expand such opportunities for UC Berkeley undergraduates.

Mary Crabb - Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize Program and UCDC

Mary Crabb joined the Office of Undergraduate Research in 2009 as student advisor and program manager for the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. In this capacity, she works with students interested in applying for the Prize as well as manages the selection and administration of the award. More recently, she has taken on management of Berkeley's UCDC program, which sends undergraduates to Washington, DC for a semester to intern and take classes.  She is also the staff advisor for the two major campus journals for the publication of undergraduate research: Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, for research in the humanities and social sciences, and Berkeley Scientific, for research in the sciences.

Prior to joining OURS, Mary worked in the publishing industry in New York City and taught ESL in Guangzhou and Beijing, China. Mary received her bachelor's degree in English from Duke University and did her graduate work at UC Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation research examined educational privatization in China and the growth of the Chinese middle class. Mary continues to be inspired by the creative ideas and positive energy of Berkeley students!

Stefanie Ebeling - URAP Program Manager and Advisor

Stefanie Ebeling joined the Office of Undergraduate Research in 2005 as the student advisor for the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program. Since 2011, she functions as the liaison to both students and faculty mentors, and coordinates all aspects of the program. Stefanie first came to UC Berkeley in 1991 as a visiting student from the University of Hamburg, where she finished her graduate degree in Second Language Acquisition. Aside from enjoying her role of helping undergraduates and mentors connect, Stefanie is a bit of a nerd who loves to grapple with new technology.

Giselle Garcia - Student Assistant - URAP

    Giselle joined the OURS team in Fall of 2019 as a work-study staff member focused on the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. She is a first-generation student and a sophomore studying Political Economy. She looks forward to expanding the university's research program and being involved on campus. She loves to stay active, bake, and meet new people.

    Alejandro Gatus - Student Assistant - UCDC

      Alex joined OURS as a work-study staff member focused on administrative support and marketing for UCDC during his first semester at Cal in the Fall of 2018. He is a first-generation student studying Media Studies, with a minor in Education. He is hoping to come back to UC Berkeley as a professor one day, but for now he spends his time on campus organizing with the Pilipinx American Alliance to empower and retain Pil-identifying students on campus. 

      Alicia Hayes - Prestigious Scholarships and Scholarship Connection

      Alicia Hayes has been an advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships since 2001. In this role, she manages the scholarship selection processes for several prestigious and nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship competitions, in addition to maintaining the Scholarship Connection website. Alicia is also working to advance the professional growth of advisors as demonstrated through her work with the campus Advising Network Community. In addition, she is an active member in the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA) and has served on the NAFA Board of Directors and as the organization's Secretary. Alicia was the first in her family to graduate from college and holds graduate degrees in History and Public Administration. In her spare time she continues her involvement with students by serving as a mentor to first generation college students. Alicia is clearly passionate about making educational enrichment opportunities more accessible to every student she encounters.

      Brittany Johnson - SURF coordinator

      Brittany Johnson is proud to return to Cal as a SURF program coordinator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from our English department and went on to earn her Master of Studies in Victorian literature from the University of Oxford, Christ Church College. She is a Haas Scholars and McNair Scholars alumna. Her past research focused on femininity, idealism, the Gothic, and the Romantic legacy in Victorian poetry and novels. She is especially fond of the Brontë sisters, Tennyson, Keats, PB Shelley, and Hardy. She works to support undergraduate research and academic wellness for all and empower underrepresented students. She is a big fan of dance, live music, travel, food, and the great outdoors. 


      Carisma Leyva - Student Assistant - Haas Scholars

        Carisma joined OURS during fall 2018 as a work-study staff member. As a first generation first-year at UC Berkeley, Carisma is particularly interested in psychology and hopes to further her education in the field. In addition to her academic endeavors, Carisma finds herself interested in music, writing, and various forms of art. Originally from Southern California, her move to become a new member of the UC Berkeley community has excited her with numerous opportunities and experiences. 

        America Segura - Social Media and Communications Coordinator

          America joined OURS in Fall 2020 as the Social Media and Communications Coordinator. She is a first-generation student studying Political Science and Human Rights. America is committed to connecting other first-gen, transfer, re-entry, undocumented, underserved, and BIPOC students with research and scholarship opportunities. Academically, America is interested in human rights, migration, and reproductive justice. Outside of her academic endeavors, you can find America spending an afternoon at a beach or park, baking brownies, or at the movie theater.

          Eilidh Stalker - Student Assistant - Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

            Eilidh (she/her) is excited to join the OURS team at Berkeley as a work study staff member. She is a junior transfer majoring in Political Science with a minor in Public Policy. Coming from a small community college, Eilidh is excited to explore the many opportunities Berkeley has to offer and engage with a diverse student body, staff, and faculty. She is passionate about criminal justice reform and local and national politics. Eilidh likes to go on hikes, make bread, and travel whenever possible.

            Valerie Vargas-Zapata - UROC STEM Coordinator

              My name is Valerie (she/her) and I’m a graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology. I do research in virology and immunology. I joined UROC in Fall 2019 as a STEM coordinator. Being a Latina in the sciences and the first scientist in my family comes with many struggles but also allows me to connect with other students that share similar experiences. I have found my voice in doing diversity, equity and inclusion work. I’m passionate about helping students access research and higher education and transforming academia into a more equitable and welcoming place for all.

              Emma Yataco - UROC Social Science & Humanities Coordinator

                Emma Yataco is an undergraduate student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major. She joined OURS as a student coordinator for the Underrepresented Researchers of Color (UROC) program in 2019. She is a 2020 Haas Scholar, 2019 SURF fellow, and a research assistant for the Malawi Religion Project led by Professor Ann Swidler in the Sociology Department. Her own research explores the negative aspects of social networks, with focus on the negative effects of religious disaffiliation. As a first-generation transfer student of color and member of the DSP community on campus, Emma advocates for educational access, equity, decolonizing educational spaces and helps students get started in research at Berkeley.