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The Annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium

Research Mentor Awardees

The 16th Annual Symposium will be Friday May 17, 2013

Click on MySymposium to Apply Now!

Deadline: February 25

Undergraduate Research Symposium presenters honor their faculty mentors!


Stevan Harrell - Professor of Anthropology

"Professor Harrell is a gifted mentor. We know that he is very busy. But he still took time off, met with us, heard our project and gave us suggestions. He cuts through to exactly what is needed, remains positive and encouraging throughout the process and provides feedback that has helped me to move on to the next stage in my research. I feel confident in his knowledge and experience, and this helps me to feel more confident in myself. I feel very fortunate to have professor Harrell as my mentor."

Jesús M. López-Guisa - Affiliate Associate Professor of Pediatrics


"Dr. Lopez- Guisa has been my mentor for 2 years now. Throughout this period I have learned so many new things and have felt like I was an integral part of his research. Dr. Lopez-Guisa takes so much time out of his busy days to help me and his other students and never makes us feel dissuaded when things don't go the way we envisioned. Whenever we have questions or concerns, he makes sure to answer them in ways that promote our critical thinking and problem solving skills. I go to the lab feeling like a part of the team and this is in large part due to the responsibilities Dr. Lopez-Guisa gives to us and the trust he has with us."

Ludo Max - Associate Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences

"Dr. Ludo Max is a dedicated educator who truly invests in undergraduate students. Although the students working in my lab did not have previous laboratory experiences, Dr. Max inspired and encouraged us to become independent researchers. He always gives opportunities for his students to do their own research projects, publish posters, and write papers with the results. He also encourages undergraduates to attend various conferences, which are uncommon for undergraduates to attend. In addition, he is very approachable and always shares ways to be more involved in the field of research and in the department of speech and hearing sciences."

Hannele Ruohola-Baker - Professor of Biochemistry

"Hannele is incredibly brilliant; I learn from her every second I am with her, whether she intends it as a learning experience or not. When she deliberately teaches and supports, which is very, very often, the impact on her students, of all ages, is magnificent. I learn from Hannele all the time, and I think that is what being a good mentor is about, because the things I learn are not just about lab work, but how to balance a team, have a life, and preside over a roaring torrent of fascinating research."

Billie J. Swalla - Professor of Biology

"Dr. Swalla did everything in her power to ensure that I understood what scientific researchers do. She really pushed me to keep my project going and present my research at every opportunity. I started in the lab with no lab experience. Dr. Swalla understood, so she started me off with a few tasks that I could spend time on. As my project developed and I started to write my paper weekly conferences with her helped me make sure that I was on the right track. Dr. Swalla encouraged me to do a summer internship in her lab where I had the opportunity to go to the International Tunicate Conference in Montreal, Quebec where I presented my research and met other scientists."

Justin B. Siegel - Post-Doctoral Researcher in Biochemistry

"Justin truly devotes himself to making sure that his students learn and understand biochemistry. I met Justin when I was a student with no research experience, and despite being a busy post-doc, he took the time to personally teach me numerous research techniques. Whenever I am unsure how to proceed or just want general advice, Justin will go out of his way to help me and answer emails and phone calls immediately. Without the fabulous mentorship of Justin, I would never have been able to conduct my research over the past year at UW."


Rachel Chapman - Associate Professor of Anthropology

"Dr. Rachel Chapman epitomizes what it means to be a mentor. I have immense respect for Dr. Chapman's academic excellence and rigorous scientific approach to medical anthropology and global health. Under Dr. Chapman's guidance, I have been able to meet and exceed my expectations for the level of undergraduate research I am currently engaged in. I would have never considered that I, as an undergraduate researcher, could be a principal investigator of my own research project, achieve IRB approval, and conduct field work in Uganda. Dr. Chapman helped me visualize the opportunity and possibilities of my project. She coached and guided me, helping me to take my research methods and critical analysis skills to the next level. She helped me achieve a level of scholarly and applied research that I would have been incapable of reaching myself. There is not an aspect of my research that does not reflect the mentorship, leadership, expertise, and scholarly excellence that Dr. Chapman has passed on to me. The mentorship I have received from Dr. Chapman will follow me throughout the rest of my academic and professional career."

Stephen D. Hauschka - Professor of Biochemistry

"Dr. Hauschka has been supportive to me throughout my project. He gave great advice for writing a concise abstract, effectively and efficiently approaching my research goal, and methods for analyzing data. Most importantly, he taught me how to efficiently manage my time for my experiments and to be realistic with my experiments. Dr. Hauschka is also a very erudite person to consult with. Whenever I run into an obstacle, he is there to provide me with insights about my project which helped my experiments to move along. The muscle gene expression project he assigned to me had brought my knowledge from textbook information to the real world, and organized and applied them accurately in my experiments."

Kevin M. King - Assistant Professor of Psychology

"My mentor, Dr. Kevin King, has worked closely with me over the past two years. In addition to being a superb mentor for my psychology honors work, he has gone above and beyond what is required of him in assiting with post-graduate plans. His help was invaluable to me in applying to clinical PhD programs, and it is only because of his assistance that I can hope for any kind of success. Dr. King makes himself available to all undergraduate, honors, and graduate students under his direction, and is a very easy mentor to ask questions and talk with. He has taken on two other honors students in addition to myself in what must be no easy task, but he is always willing to go above and beyond what he needs to to help others."

Richard E. Ladner- Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

"A great deal of my enthusiasm for research stems from the opportunity to work with my mentor, Richard Ladner. I have immense respect for Dr. Ladner and deeply enjoy working with him. I am nominating him as an outstanding mentor because of the trust he puts in his student researchers to make the right decisions. This leadership deliberation keeps me devoted to going above and beyond his expectations. He also dedicates time each week to make sure my project is moving smoothly by listening to issues I come to him with. Whenever there is an issue we cannot solve together, Dr. Ladner challenges me to research new techniques or look at the issue from another angle. I am thankful for this encouragement because it gives me a chance to develop my problem solving abilities in ways not taught in the classroom."

Maria V. Razumova - Research Scientist in Bioengineering

"Dr. Maria Razumova (Masha) of Dr. Regnier's Heart and Muscle Mechanics (HAMM) lab inspires me to excel as a student, a scientist, and a person. She clearly and confidently applies theories from physics and mathematics to describe the cardiac system so that I can see the value of classroom learning firsthand. With Masha's assistance I have explored the process of designing an experiment to answer a research question. I have imitated her meticulous procedures and documentation habits and learned how to minimize and understand my errors. She has taught me how to analyze data so that valuable results can be determined and has showed me how to display these results so they are accessible to a wide range of scientists. While the technical aspects of Masha's mentoring are important, her greatest contribution is setting a personal standard to which I can strive. She is diligent, hard-working, and has a humble attitude that makes working with her a pleasure. Masha is quick to realize when she is mistaken but is willing to stubbornly defend her ideas when she knows she is correct. The lessons Masha have taught me will extend long after I have finished my work in the HAMM lab."


Keiko Torii - Professor of Biology

Keiko Torri

"Dr. Torii has been incredibly influential in my education by providing me with the opportunity to participate in her research lab. This experience has not only solidified my wish to attend graduate school but also has been the most educational experience of my college career. She has enabled me to learn from a hands on perspective that reinforces much of the knowledge I gained through traditional classes, as well as challenging me to think at a more critical level that will be invaluable in graduate school. "

Ram Samudrala - Associate Professor of Microbiology

Ram Samudrala

"Professor Ram Samudrala gave me some of the greatest opportunities of my life by letting me do research with him. First of all, he has allowed me to do any project that catches my interest, letting me explore my passions and work on what I love. Along with this freedom, he has given me an incredible amount of support so I could take full advantage of it. Out of all the people who have mentored me in my life, Ram Samudrala is one of the few who has changed my life for the better. "

Stephen Hinds - Professor of Classics

Stephen Hinds

"Professor Hinds has been an exceptional mentor throughout the course of my research project. He helped guide my ideas to concrete form and substance in the initial phases of the project and has directed me to the resources and paths of thought that have taken my research to new levels in new directions. However, Professor Hinds also respects my academic abilities and has not only allowed me to take my project in the directions I chose, but has encouraged the developments I have made, which is a significant and too often overlooked aspect of mentorship. He is not only highly professional and a respected expert ion his field, he is enthusiastic about my project and progress, and has always been available and willing to help me whenever I needed it. In my opinion, there is no mentor more deserving of such an award."

Joachim Voss - Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems

Joachim Voss

"For the three years that I have been working for Joachim Voss, he has never failed to continually offer his support and encouragement in my professional and academic life. He has taught me more than I could have ever imagined both in the field of HIV/AIDS and beyond. .[H]e makes it a priority to take time each\ week to meet with his employees to discuss everything from how our work is coming along, to how our classes are going. Thanks to him, I am now working to publish my research on the development of exercise recommendations for elderly HIV patients in a prominent nursing magazine. I cannot express enough how lucky I am to have him as a mentor, for he is truly not only a brilliant nurse, but also a wonderful person."

Sapna Cheryan - Assistant Professor of Psychology

Sapna Cheryan

"Sapna demonstrates fantastic patience and enthusiasm for her students' learning, despite the incredible amount of other responsibilities she has. She contributes with lab meetings, statistics tutorials, one on one meetings, editing help, and treats at the end of the quarter. .What makes her a gem is her ability to throw off the inertia imposed by the incredible amount of work in being a top professor, and to prioritize us. [She] is rigorous when advising my research, and simultaneously is warm and ready to talk about anything. "

Elizabeth Skovran - Research Associate of Chemical Engineering


"Elizabeth Skovran has been an amazing mentor throughout my year and a half in the Lidstrom Lab. She has the patience to tech me confusing concepts, or to help me with new techniques when I am struggling. ..on top of learning basic technique, [she] encouraged me to help out with planning the project. Elizabeth Skovran has been an outstanding mentor that has motivated me not only to learn the techniques of a research scientist, but to learn to think like a research scientist."


Martha M. Bosma - Associate Professor of Biology

Bryan Jones"Professor Bosma has been extremely supportive, kind, and generous with her knowledge. She keeps the laboratory atmosphere laid back, but always pushes us to apply our knowledge to our projects. She is very understanding of the concerns of undergraduates but still maintains high expectations for us. Professor Bosma should receive this award because of the atmosphere of learning, understanding and knowledge she fosters in her laboratory."

James E. Gawel - Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma

Suzie Pun

"I would like to nominate Jim Gawel for the Outstanding Mentor Award. Not only does Jim have many projects on his agenda and courses to teach, but he has taken the time to provide guidance and support throughout my research and academic career at UWT. Jim's patience, understanding, and expertise have helped make this process a truly enjoyable and challenging learning experience. Despite the many problems along the way, as in any research project, Jim has remained calm and provided assistance when necessary. Jim has especially taught me that it is okay to admit to not knowing something and how to seek out the information and help you need. Above all, I do not know many instructors, advisers, and mentors that would endure swimming through leech infested waters to retrieve data for their students and Jim has! These attributes and many more have made Jim Gawel a positive role model and great mentor."

Matt R. Kaeberlein - Assistant Professor of Pathology

Angelina Godoy

"Matt Kaeberlein is extremely supportive of all his undergraduate researchers. Working in his lab, we are given autonomy in our project to set our own time line and create our own experiments as long as it falls within the scope of the lab's investigations. Matt is always willing to answer our questions and give us insightful inputs about our data and experiments. His methods of mentoring allow us to develop as independent and free thinking researchers and for that I am very grateful."

Sheri J.Y. Mizumori - Professor and Chair of Psychology

Kristin Swanson

"Sheri should receive this award because she has supplied the perfect amount of guidance balanced with the freedom to explore this project and make it my own. I have been able to be involved in almost every step of the study from researching background information to putting together the results and drawing conclusions. I didn't just learn how to run the animals and collect data; I was introduced to the process of conducting an experiment. I got a taste of what it would be like to be a graduate student. I am so grateful that Sheri allowed me to play such a large role in this study and I have benefited greatly from it. Also, it was mainly due to her encouragement that I received the Mary Gates scholarship. Sheri and the experiences I have gained under her have shaped my undergraduate education in wonderful ways."

Jentery F. Sayers - Graduate Student in English

Rachel Ceballos"As a mentor Jentery Sayers constantly pushes his students to exceed expectations while never demanding perfection. His project-based approach to classroom learning drives students to be competent in both theory and practice. These are difficult fronts to cover, but through computer integration of the classroom Jentery succeeds in creative approaches to authoring, responding, teaching, and feedback to students. The projects that I have developed under him have been an invaluable stepping stone in my academic progress. His emphasis on revision, collaboration, and student feedback should be the standard at this University: it is something I have come to expect from my professors and higher education."


Bryan D. Jones - Professor of Political Science

Bryan Jones"Dr. Jones is an exceptional mentor. His enthusiasm and constructive criticism have made my research fun and exciting. I've learned so many new research skills from him and I feel well prepared for graduate school as a result. . When I walked into Professor Jones' office one year ago, I was unsure of my future. When I walked out of his office a world of possibilities lay open before me. He convinced me to pursue research and has offered invaluable assistance and support since then. I had never dreamed that a PhD was a possibility and would never have considered going had it not been for this mentor."

Suzie H. Pun - Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

Suzie Pun

"Dr. Suzie Pun has an amazing understanding of the needs of an undergraduate researcher. First, she makes sure that any undergraduate has a graduate mentor to provide guidance and technical support. It’s wonderful to always have someone to go to for everyday problems. Second, if you need to talk to her, she will make time and is always willing to talk. This makes me feel like I am part of the lab and not just passing through. Third, undergraduates work on important projects. I love knowing that I am contributing to the productivity of the lab and gaining a much better understanding of the research process."

Angelina Snodgrass Godoy - Associate Professor of Jackson School of International Studes/Law, Societies, & Justice

Angelina Godoy

"Professor Angelina Godoy has proven herself an outstanding mentor in her role as faculty advisor for the first-ever transnational Task Force at the UW. Within the space of 10 weeks, students did extensive background research, conducted dozens of interviews, traveled to Guatemala, and compiled a 50-page report, which was presented to UW President Mark Emmert. Throughout this intensive process, Professor Godoy supported students in innumerable ways and always encouraged students to take initiative, responsibility, and ownership of this project."

Kristin R. Swanson - Associate Professor of Pathology

Kristin Swanson

"Dr. Swanson is one of the most committed mentors at the UW. She devotes immense time and energy in training students to become scientists. Dr. Swanson engages in one-on-one meetings with students to discuss not only research goals, but also the students’ personal goals. She has ensured that my projects are aligned with my interests so that I have a solid foundation for future pursuits in medicine and medical research. She promotes collaborative work, which results in research that is multi-dimensional. Furthermore, she provides exposure to her students by taking them to research conferences and workshops, and initiating collaborative work with other principal investigators."

Rachel M. Ceballos - Postdoctoral Associate in Health Services

Rachel Ceballos"I have been fortunate to have Dr. Rachel Ceballos as a mentor.  During our regular meeting, she commits to spending time with me and provides her undivided attention to my questions and concerns.  Despite the fact that my research involves lots of demanding laboratory work, she never hesitates to explain and guide me in the right direction by showing details of each step and providing specific examples in other studies.  She is also willing to introduce me to others in her network.  This actually helped me find a full-time research position that I will be starting after this summer quarter.  Perhaps the greatest assistance from her comes from the Biology Journal Club.  The Biology Journal Club is a weekly meeting group she created, in which she and her undergraduate students review and discuss recently published papers.  We discuss their statistical methods, findings and their writing qualities.  She is not only a knowledgeable scientist but also a good role model who is conscientious and hardworking."

Christian Hendershot - Graduate Student in Psychology

Christian Hendershot

"I applied for the Research Symposium on Christian Hendershot’s suggestion that he felt I was motivated and dedicated enough to start an individual research project and subsequently follow through successfully.  This type of encouragement is characteristic of Christian, who takes the time to attend to all of the undergraduates under his supervision.  He ensures that they are given the opportunity to take on new challenges and projects, and push themselves beyond a comfort zone to make their own achievements.  His ability to motivate others stems from his leading by example.  He has guided me through the entire research process for this symposium, and has always made himself available for even the simplest questions."

Kate Stoll - Graduate Student in Biomolecular Structure and Design

Kate Stoll"I admire Kate Stoll much, either as my academic mentor or as a graduate student. Kate is a great mentor and has made my experiences as an undergraduate researcher fun, fantastic, intriguing, and productive.  Kate fosters my creativity, encourages my thoughts and ideas for my research project, and also helps me troubleshoot technical problems.  She always thinks positively and smartly, takes risks while doing her own research project, and is not afraid to propose and discuss her new research ideas.  In addition, Kate is also an excellent leader.  She holds an officer position in the Forum of Science Ethics and Policies.  Kate shows me that a responsible scientist should value the important relationship between conducting research and the community, which sometimes scientists tend to forget."


Horacio de la Iglesia - Assistant Professor of Biology

Horacio de la Iglesia

"I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient than Dr. de la Iglesia. The more I talk to friends about their experiences with their mentors, the luckier I feel to have gotten the opportunity to work in this lab. Horacio has been interested and supportive of my project, which makes being inexperienced considerably more bearable. He always answers questions and never makes anyone feel silly for having to ask. But I think the most important thing is the way he treats everyone in the lab: everyone is always treated with respect and courteousness. I have never, even on my first day, been treated like I was anything but an equal to everybody else. His treatment of all lab members has created an environment where everyone is respectful and helpful to everyone else. He is an outstanding role model, and if I am lucky enough to run my own lab someday, I hope I will be able to bring some of the same qualities to my lab that he has created in his."

Adam Geballe - Professor of Medicine

Adam Geballe

"Friend, teacher, and mentor. These are but a few words that describe Professor Adam Geballe, whom I wish to nominate for the outstanding mentor award. I wish to nominate professor Geballe because as a sophomore in my first year of research, these qualities have made all the difference to me and to the success of my project. Day in and day out Professor Geballe always arrives in an optimistic mood, tirelessly leading the lab. No matter the day he is someone who is always on hand, and willing to help in any way possible. To make my experience unique, Professor Geballe took the burden of teaching upon his own shoulders. Demonstrating to me many of the essential skills needed to thrive in a lab, he has taught me the fundamentals of conducting a research project of my own. This was accomplished by challenging me and by pushing me to new limits, so as to ensure that I would not only learn but also grow as a student and as a researcher. Overall my experience in Professor Geballe’s lab has been an irreplaceable one, and I am truly proud to be a member of his lab."

Tracy Harachi - Associate Professor of Social Work

Tracy Harachi

"During Autumn quarter, I took a Social Welfare Research course from Dr. Tracy Harachi. As our class began to develop ideas for the final research proposal, Dr. Harachi acknowledged my idea as having potential for actually being a research project. She told me of the Mary Gates Endowment for students, and with her, I successfully obtained funding for the project during the 2006-2007 school year. As a mentor, Dr. Harachi has worked to keep me focused in a very structured way. She set clear deadlines and expectations for me, which helped me pass IRB approval in a timely fashion. She has a sense of humor that I appreciate, and she holds a passion for the research that she and her students are conducting. I will be forever grateful for Dr. Harachi's help during the last year--her wisdom, experience and humor have helped me to pave the way towards an interesting future in research."

Peter Kahn - Professor of Psychology

Peter Kahn

"Peter is an outstanding mentor. Under his tutelage, I took an entire research study from conception to completion. He spent countless hours guiding me through every step of this process: obtaining IRB approval, writing a comprehensive research proposal, obtaining funding, completing data collection, and finally both coding and analyzing my data. He helped me improve my graduate school portfolio, and public speaking skills, by inviting me to assist in presenting a tutorial at an international conference. He talked with me at length,over months, regarding graduate school options.  Peter is an excellent teacher, frequently motivating me through questions rather than explicit directions. This has supported my growth as someone who thinks deeply and is self-directed.  Peter cares about all of his students as individual people. He is aware of, and sensitive to, our financial constraints. He has actively supported my mentoring of a 14-year old child who lives in group foster-care; he and fellow professor Batya Friedman even purchased a bike for this child as a gift. I credit much of my love of research, as well as my admission to a top-ranked PhD program, to the experiences I have had as his student. "


Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards are sponsored by the University of Washington Alumni Association.