Meet your Ambassadors!

The Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are a team of students with experience in undergraduate research or other scholarly partnerships with faculty who work to help other students pursue and excel in these experiences as well. They are happy to answer any questions about the process, from getting involved, to finding a mentor and funding, to presenting at a conference or symposium! The Ambassadors are here to help all students across all majors. Reach out via Facebook, e-mail, or by attending our drop-in undergraduate research advising hours on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1:00-2:50pm in Waldo 140.

Hawii Boriyo

I am a third year student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. I have worked in Dr. Bryony DuPont's Design Engineering Lab where I did research on the environmental impact of offshore wind farms and on integrating renewable energy into the Smart Grid. Through this experience, I was able to intern at Portland General Electric this past summer as a data analytics engineering intern and worked on their electric vehicle program. I have also worked at the PSU Dryden Drop Tower, looking at how different fluids act in zero gravity and remotely managed experiments on the International Space Station. My experiences in the lab and in my internship have opened the door to many opportunities including graduate school.

Email me at!

Major: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Carolina Guillen

I have been very fortunate to take part in the second generation of STEM Leaders, which has given me the opportunity to do research since my freshmen year. I started out working with Dr. Skip for a herniated disc project, which motivated me to keep doing research and feel more passionate about my major. I then realized I was capable of doing research and felt more confident about my abilities, which is when I decided to apply for an internship in another state. This past summer I was part of an REU program at Cleveland State University where I designed a wrist mounted force/torque sensor device. I have a passion for rehabilitation engineering and I'm now determined to find a job that involves working with people with disabilities. It is awesome to see that what I've learnt while in school applies to real-world problems. I’ve gained connections from networking, public speaking skills, organizational skills, general understanding, and self-confidence by doing research, which has opened many doors for me now and in the future.

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Major: Bioengineering

Greg Heinonen - Lead Ambassador

I am one of the lead undergraduate research ambassadors for this year, and this will be my second year as an ambassador. I'm excited to continue to spread the word about undergraduate research to my peers while helping the other ambassadors to do the same. My involvement in undergraduate research has been one of my favorite activities thus far at Oregon State. I work with Dr. Megan MacDonald in the Kinesiology department who conducts research related to the motor skills and abilities of children with developmental disabilities. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources that are available for students engaged in undergraduate research so contact an ambassador and get involved!

Email me at!

Major: Public Health

Claire Kiefel

I currently work in the Michelle Kutzler Theriogenology lab in the department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences. My research focuses on determining luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) expression within the canine pelvic limb in order to determine whether gonadectomy status is correlated with an increased incidence of osteoarthritis due to hip dysplasia (coxofemoral joint) or CCL rupture (femorotibial joint) in predisposed breeds. My research has given me the opportunity to present at several symposiums, including the 2016 International Symposium for Canine and Feline Reproduction in Paris, France. As a pre-veterinary student, the opportunities granted to me by undergraduate research have equipped me with effective communication and problem-solving skills, which allows me to help others through my passions for veterinary medicine and applied physiological sciences. I hope to connect students with experiential learning opportunities that similarly foster their passions and empower them to reach their goals.

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Major: Biology and Chemistry

Lauryn Moore

I have recently finished biochemistry lab work under George Waldbusser focused on ocean acidification. This past year I studied oyster shell growth under the changing climate, and this subject is what has sparked my passion for undergraduate research. Currently, I am seeking new lab opportunities in the marine biology and water chemistry fields. From my research, I have gained technical lab skills, presentation experience, as well as valuable connections in one of my fields of interest, aquaculture. Undergraduate research has equipped me with the ability to interact with professionals and has given me the confidence to explore new topics outside my comfort zone. These universal skills allow me to continue working towards my goals in Environmental Economics and Policy.

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Major: Environmental Economics and Policy

Karan Patel - Lead Ambassador

I currently work in the David Williams lab in the department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. My current research focuses on the altered LncRNA abundance in mouse progeny lung tissue and lung tumor born to mothers transplacentally exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). I began working in the Williams lab towards the end of my freshman year. I have enjoyed doing undergraduate research as it has helped develop my critical thinking and communication skills, which are important skills for any career path. Having engaged in experiential learning through undergraduate research, I feel much more equipped to pursue my desired career because I have developed some of the key skills to do so. I will be mentoring any student interested in pursuing undergraduate research in the life sciences.

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Major: Microbiology

Allison Perez

I work under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Tanguay in the department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at the Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory (SARL) located off-campus. My current research uses the zebrafish model to study biological effects of fine particulate matter sampled from air pollution. Through this research, we aim to assess the risk of carcinogenic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are known to be present in the air we breathe every day. Being an undergraduate researcher in my lab has given me the opportunity to feel connected to the larger scientific research community and learn about the amazing work that is being done all over the world, making me more passionate as a student in general. I was surprised by how excited people were to talk to me as an undergraduate student, especially in meeting industry representatives and academic researchers with decades of experience in their fields. Seeing how valued I was in the community even with what little experience I have has given me invaluable confidence and motivation that I know will help me achieve my future dreams.

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Major: BioResource Research

Alex Ruiz

The past lab work I have done in the Fisheries and Wildlife department under Dr. Taal Levi includes a population distribution project with Charlotte Erickson, a graduate student working on studying the Pacific Marten population in the central and southern coastal regions of Oregon. The second lab involved a diet analysis project with Yasaman Shakeri, a Masters student working on investigating the ecological role of bears dispersing a variety of fruiting plant species and how their diet affects populations of other species in southeastern Alaska. The final project I have been involved with includes working with Dr. Taal Levi to develop my own research project in Oaxaca, which aimed to study the wildlife distribution of hunted species around local indigenous communities. Working in the labs, I have gained a greater perspective in the process of developing research projects and it has opened doors for me to better project opportunities and internships, such as encryption work with the Dean of the College of Electrical and Computer Science and surveying engineering work with Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon.

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Major: Construction Engineering Management