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2015-2016 UGR Ambassadors

If you would like to contact an Undergraduate Research Ambassador for advice about obtaining a research position or to ask them to speak to your group, email ugr@tamu.edu.

Centura Anbarasu

I am a sophomore from Coppell, Texas pursuing a major in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Business Administration. I am also in the University Honors Program and will be graduating in May of 2017, after which I hope to attend medical school. Currently, I am an instructor for an organization called Emergency Care Team, which teaches students first aid and CPR and gives them the opportunity to volunteer as first responders alongside paramedics and EMT’s. Additionally, I am the secretary of Lambda Sigma, a sophomore national honor society, and a member of AMSA, the American Medical Student Association. One of my biggest passions is volunteering and therefore, I volunteer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan, TX during the school year and at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX whenever I am at home. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, reading, and biking.
I started research at the beginning of my freshman year in Dr. Louise Abbott’s developmental neurotoxicology lab. We are studying the effects of various toxins such as methylmercury and zinc on the developing central nervous systems of zebrafish embryos, and I will be continuing with this project in the fall. Additionally, this past summer, I participated in an internship with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute where I was able to research the effects of epigenetic regulation on lung cancer progression and lung stem cells in Dr. Carla Kim’s lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. These research experiences have been very rewarding and have enriched my critical thinking and presentation skills, helping me become a better student overall.
Amy Arndt

I am an English and Psychology double major minoring in Sociology and Neuroscience. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in social psychology. I am also a University Scholar, Glasscock Scholar, and a former sophomore advisor for the university’s honors program. Outside of my research, I enjoy creative writing, finding the best restaurants in town, and dancing.

Currently, I do research in four different departments, including English, Psychology, Sociology, and Visualization. I first started research my sophomore year under Dr. Joshua Hicks, and have since worked under Dr. Jane Sell, Dr. Jennifer Wollock, and Dr. Francis Quek. My individual research focuses mostly on the intersection between psychology and language and literature, examining the psychological effect of language (focusing on pronouns) in literature and how reading can impact one’s self-concept. Undergraduate research has definitely provided a greater understanding of classroom material, and has allowed me to actively seek solutions for my own academic questions. I am very excited to be an Undergraduate Research Ambassador and look forward to the upcoming year.
Mikayla Barry
I am a junior Biomedical Engineering major from Bryan, Texas. While my curriculum is largely science-focused, I’ve realized how much I enjoy musical performance and currently play piccolo for Texas A&M’s Wind Symphony. When I am not studying or practicing, I like to spend my time running long-distance, creating stained glass artwork, reading, and solving various types of logic puzzles. However, the largest portion of my time is spent in the lab. I was originally introduced to research when I became Texas A&M’s first member of the Beckman Scholars Program, which is designed to offer a meaningful research experience to promising undergraduate student, and I have enjoyed the lab experience so much that I hope to remain in academia as a university professor.
I currently work in Dr. Melissa Grunlan’s Polymeric Biomaterials lab, where I develop silicone coatings that prevent blood from clotting after contacting the material surface. These would allow silicone devices (like catheters) to remain implanted for longer periods of time, as is required for patients undergoing dialysis. By pairing my love of learning with my desire to make a lasting difference, research has become the highlight of my undergraduate career.
Melissa Brumley

I am a junior from Austin, Texas, majoring in Biomedical Science with a minor in Neuroscience. I am heavily involved in research both as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador and an Undergraduate Research Scholar, but I always save time for my favorite hobbies, which include reading, weight-lifting, and video-games. I volunteer regularly for Habitat for Humanity, but otherwise I consider myself to be more of a home-body. Getting involved in research has given me a sense of independence and enthusiasm for my own education that I would have never anticipated, and my goal as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador is to open the eyes of prospective students to the world of undergraduate research.

I became involved in research in Dr. Jim Grau’s lab at the beginning of my sophomore year, and I have loved every minute. My project right now is investigating the progression of secondary injury following spinal cord injuries, as well as potential therapeutic techniques that could improve the recovery of motor function.  So far, my favorite part about being in undergraduate research is collaborating and working alongside Dr. Grau’s brilliant team of researchers, who are as patient as they are clever. The personal and professional skills I have acquired working in research will follow me as I pursue medical school, and hopefully for years to come.

Annalisa Erder

I am a proud member of the Class of 2017 from Plano, Texas majoring in Nutritional Sciences and minoring in History. I will graduate in Spring 2016 and plan to pursue a Doctor of Optometry degree. As a student of University Honors and Nutritional Sciences Honors, the Texas A&M University Honors community welcomed me home the moment I stepped on campus freshmen year. In 2013, my peers voted me President of the Lechner-McFadden Freshman Honors Residence Halls. That spring, I was chosen to boost Aggie pride and values across campus as Spirit and Traditions Chair of Residence Hall Association. In 2014, I spent an additional year in Lechner-McFadden as an Honors Sophomore Advisor: a live-in mentor for the new class of honors freshman. Now that I have reached my final year at Texas A&M, I will serve my second term as the Honors Nutritional Sciences representative for Honors Student Council while I conclude my studies. During the semester of Spring 2015 I received the Buck Weirus Spirit Award from the Association of Former Students, honoring my impact on the student community during my time at Texas A&M.
Parasitology and immunology specialist Dr. Barbara Doughty accepted me into her research lab during my freshman year at A&M. I completed my honors capstone in her lab as one of the few sophomores selected for the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. This opportunity allowed me to complete an undergraduate research thesis, focusing on the search for an anti-pathology vaccine for schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by a parasite and is one of the largest causes of deaths in Africa, second only to malaria. Presenting my thesis at Texas A&M’s Student Research Week in 2015, I earned 1st Place in the Undergraduate Biological Sciences Oral Presentations category. My findings will be published in Texas A&M’s undergraduate research journal, Explorations, in Fall 2015. A general misconception about undergraduate research is that only juniors and seniors can be successful in finding research opportunities, and as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador I hope to correct that misconception and help new motivated freshmen find opportunities to research their passions.

Ashley Fox

I am a senior Kinesiology major from Helotes, Texas.  I have a focus in special education and minors in both coaching and psychology.  After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to become and Occupational Therapist.  I am very involved on campus.  Some of my extra-curricular commitments include being an officer in my sorority (Gamma Phi Beta), President of the Occupational Therapy Society, a member of Project Sunshine (organization providing activities to special needs children and their families), and a volunteer for the Special Needs Ministry at a local church.  I have a passion for helping others and working with people of all ages.  In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, crafting, and spending time with friends.
I have been involved in research at the Division of Motor Development Lab with Dr. Gabbard since the beginning of my sophomore year.  My research has largely focused on reach-related motor imagery training and fall prevention among older adults.  I was a 2013-2014 College of Education and Human Development Undergraduate Research Scholar and a 2014-2015 Undergraduate Research Scholar through Honors and Undergraduate Research.  I have co-written an article published in the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, completed an undergraduate research thesis, published articles in both the 2014 and the 2015 publications of Explorations, the University’s Undergraduate Research Journal, created a self-administering research questionnaire, and presented my research at both the 2014 and 2015 Student Research Weeks. I enjoy research because I believe that research is not done for oneself, but rather so other people and society can take what is discovered, learn from it, and DO something impactful with it.

Erica Gascasan
I am a senior Biomedical Engineering major with a minor in Chemistry from Round Rock, Texas. If I’m not in the lab, in class, or studying you can probably find me curled up on the couch with a good book, Netflix, or some knitting needles. In the past year I worked with a specialty chemicals company in Philadelphia helping to develop “greener” chemistries related to hydraulic fracturing and participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program submitting my thesis entitled “PDMSstar-PEG Hydrogels for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering”.
I began working with Dr. Melissa Grunlan on the repair of osteochondral tissues through hydrogel materials in the Spring of 2013. Through modulating the topography, chemistry, and mechanical properties of such materials, cell behavior can be directed in a specific geometry, such as the osteochondral interface of the body’s joints.  Undergraduate research has been an incredibly impactful experience for me. By exercising my presentation and investigative skills I have become a more well-rounded and confident student, traits I hope will lead me to graduate studies and beyond.

Andrea Gerberding

I am a senior Genetics and Biochemistry double major with a minor in Neuroscience from Corpus Christi, Texas. I am the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department representative on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Council, and am involved in volunteering with the Lion’s Club and with Texas A&M Physicians. My aspiration is to become a physician with the United States Navy and assist in their global medical outreaches to war-torn areas and regions affected by natural disasters. Whenever I’m not studying at the library or a random coffee shop, I enjoy running, swimming, and watching action movies.

I became involved in research at the beginning of my sophomore year with Dr. Bruce Riley of the Biology Department. My project focuses on the development of the neurons of the statoacoustic ganglion in the zebrafish inner ear, and how a couple of specific genes affect the process. In researching this field I hope to learn about how zebrafish are able to regenerate and innervate hair cells in their inner ears, which is an ability humans do not possess. With this knowledge age-related hearing loss and certain forms of deafness could be prevented and possibly even corrected in humans. My experience in research has taught me to think critically and creatively and to approach problems from different angles, which has benefited me both inside and outside the lab.

Aaron Griffin
I am a senior Biochemistry and Genetics major from Missouri City, Texas. My passion for promoting undergraduate research and scholarly work extends beyond my work as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador; I am an Undergraduate Research Scholar, a University Scholar, and Senior Co-Chair of the Explorations Executive Board. When I graduate from Texas A&M University, I will enroll in a medical scientist training program and pursue a career as a physician-scientist in the field of clinical oncology. When I’m not studying, in the lab, or in the Henderson building, you can probably find me watching Netflix or hammocking with my beautiful fiancée, Laura.
I got involved in undergraduate research during my freshman year at Texas A&M when I had the outstanding opportunity to begin working with Dr. Vishal Gohil, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. For the past three years, my research has focused on understanding mitochondrial biology and mitochondrial disease. My work in the Gohil Lab excites me because it is the perfect example of how basic science, when performed in a focused way, can lead to findings that impact our understanding of human biology and even clinical medicine. I am excited to be an Undergraduate Research Ambassador because I hope to encourage all students to take the information that excites them in the classroom and apply it in a research or scholarly experience during their time at Texas A&M.

Jaclyn Guz
I am a junior Environmental Studies major with a minor in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from San Antonio, Texas. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in Washington D.C.  I want to pursue a dual masters program in Public Policy and Environmental Studies with a focus in remote sensing. Some of my extra-curricular commitments include playing clarinet in the Texas A&M concert band and going camping with Texas A&M Student Serving Scouting. I have participated in the EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) at the University of Vermont where I worked in the Department of Plant and Soil Science on using “rain gardens” to absorb and treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces where I helped investigate the mechanisms influencing sediment, nutrient retention, and greenhouse gas emission within eight storm water bioretention cells. Additionally, I completed an individual project that focused on the relationship between Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Flow Rate, which I will be presenting on in April at the Vermont EPSCoR Student Research Symposium. During the fall semester of 2014 I participated in the Texas A&M Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP). My internship assignment was the Environmental Protection Agency, Science Advisory Board (SAB) in Washington D.C. The experience taught me about how research is used to create and implement national policies.  

I am currently involved in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. I am completing a project on tree ring samples of sapling birch trees, compiling them to create a master chronology. I will compare the master chronology to records of climate change and reindeer population data from Northern Sweden. This inquiry is important because the reindeer populations tend to graze near the tree line where birch trees are sprouting. By finding a trend in the growth of the trees, I may be able to predict where the reindeer will go in the future. This work has given me the opportunity to learn about an environment far different from my own.  I have also had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of dendrology and am pleased to learn that the findings from the study have relevance to the reindeer economy in the Scandinavian mountains.

Saxon Hancock

I am a senior Molecular and Cellular Biology major from Houston, Texas. Post graduation I plan on attending medical school to become a pediatrician. I am the current president of the Texas A&M Microbiology Society, which recruits speakers to inform students about current research being conducted in the field of microbiology. I spent most of my freshman year volunteering as a tutor/mentor for underprivileged children. Currently I volunteer at the New Republic brewery to learn about their side of microbiology. My hobbies include reading, running, video games, and listening to music.
I joined Dr. Manson’s lab my sophomore year and have worked on numerous projects. Perhaps the most memorable one was the microplug, which attempts to determine the chemotactic strength of different norepinephrine derivatives by observing fluorescent Escherichia coli concentration. Research has amplified my fascination of cells and their many mysteries. Working in Dr. Manson’s lab has been a great experience; it has fostered my critical thinking skills and overall helped me push the envelope to become a better student.

William Linz

I am a senior pursuing a BS/MS in Mathematics and a minor in German from Temple, Texas. After graduation, I intend to pursue a PhD in Mathematics. In my junior year, I had the privilege of being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. In terms of extracurricular activities, I serve as a member of the Executive Board for Explorations, the Undergraduate Journal of Texas A&M. I became involved with Explorations as a freshman. I have served as the President of Aggie Quizbowl for three years, participating both as a competitor and as a volunteer reading questions at local high school quizbowl tournaments. This year, I will also serve as President of the Math Club.
My undergraduate research experience began in the spring of my freshman year, working under the direction of Dr. Catherine Yan of Texas A&M. My research focused on the enumerative properties of derangements on a particular mathematical structure known as a Ferrers Board. This work was the subject of my Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis in the academic year 2013-2014. I had the opportunity to present my research findings at local and national conferences. I am extending this work by looking at other properties of permutations on Ferrers Boards. I have participated in two Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), one at the University of Texas at Tyler and one at Auburn University. At UT Tyler, I worked on a project in chemical graph theory, specifically in the enumeration of fullerene patches. I presented a poster over this work with my research team at the annual JMM national conference in San Antonio in January 2015. At Auburn, I worked in problems of discrete mathematics, number theory and probability. I was honored to receive a 2015 Astronaut Scholarship in recognition of my research work.

Kirstin Maulding
I’m a senior Molecular and Cell Biology major with a double minor in Genetics and Neuroscience from Canyon Lake, Texas. After graduation I plan to attend graduate school and obtain a PhD in Neurobiology. My research interest is in the genetic and molecular basis of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia. Whenever I’m not in class, working on my research, or studying, you can likely find me watching Netflix or reading.
I began working with Dr. Bruce Riley to research inner ear development the summer before I became a freshman here at Texas A&M. I’ve been working in his lab ever since. The ultimate goal behind the lab’s research is to discover ways to prevent or restore loss of hearing.  Zebrafish have the capability to regenerate the hair cells in their ear, which mediate hearing. However, humans do not have this ability and may go deaf if the inner ear hair cells are destroyed.  I’ve worked on multiple projects, each of which centered on determining how a gene, or set of genes, interact with each other to guide the earliest stages of ear development. Working in research as an undergraduate allowed me to find my passion for research and to learn so many new things. I hope to be able to share what I have learned and to invite others to do undergraduate research.

Judith (Annie) Melton

I am a senior honors student from Rusk, Texas, double majoring in Anthropology (honors) and Classics with a minor in Geoinformatics. Following graduation, I will continue with archaeological research, pursuing a PhD oriented around Paleolithic studies in the Old and New Worlds.  From my involvement in various prehistoric archaeological projects, I have come to realize my love of prehistoric tools. I am fascinated by our ability to interpret prehistoric human behaviors and adaptations via the materials left behind. In those rare moments when not working on something archaeology related, I thoroughly enjoy cooking, hiking, and perusing historic landmarks.

Beginning my freshman year, I began volunteering in the lab of Dr. Waters within the Center for the Study of the First Americans (CSFA), processing samples from archaeological projects. That following semester, I was awarded a research project through the CSFA, allowing me my first taste of archaeological research (analyzing Archaic stone-tool technologies found at a Tennessean archaeological site) and provided my first opportunity to present research at a professional conference. Following this initial work, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects including my honors thesis under Dr. Kelly Graf, and present at regional and national scale conferences. In these projects, stone tools and the materials produced via stone tool production were analyzed, with questions regarding archaeological site formation and integrity and stone tool use being addressed. I have had the great pleasure of digging in Alaska, Israel, and Portugal these past few summers and look forward to where the archaeology will take me next!

Alissa Moreland

I am a senior Sociology major and English minor from Fort Worth, Texas. Last year I completed my research on physician-patient satisfaction levels related to gender with the Sociology Research Fellowship Program and competed in Student Research Week. I worked with Dr. Mary Campbell with her research on physician-patient interactions, with the focus on communication and satisfaction differences based on gender and coding for body language cues. I also completed an internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and this summer I will intern with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute as a research assistant. Also, I am involved with Liberal Arts Student Council and volunteer with the Aggieland Humane Society. This year, I will be a writing consultant with the University writing center along with participating in the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors. 

I have gained so much knowledge and knowhow from my research experiences here at Texas A&M. I would encourage anyone to become involved in developing their own research ideas because it provides students the opportunity to exercise the skills they learn in lecture and create networking connections with faculty.

Joshua Murley

I am a junior Chemical Engineering major from Austin, Texas with minors in Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. I am particularly interested in using chemical, mechanical, and thermodynamic processing techniques to develop custom materials for a variety of applications. In my free time I play racquetball, fish, read, or watch football. I am an active member in the Navigators campus ministry and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

During my second semester at Texas A&M I started my research with Dr. Patrick Shamberger in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. My project focused on characterizing and modeling Heusler alloys as used in magnetic refrigeration applications. During this project I worked on developing entropy measurement techniques and used a parametric model to predict magnetic refrigeration capability of a Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Indium alloy. During the summer of 2015 I participated in the USRG program where I worked with Dr. Ji Ma and Dr. Ibrahim Karaman in the Materials Science and Engineering Department to investigate how different mechanical and chemical processing techniques affect room temperature precipitation and strain induced phase transformation in Titanium-Niobium alloys. Control of these properties would allow superior orthopedic implants with customizable properties. This fall I am working with Dr. Lutkenhaus in the Chemical Engineering Department on developing a polymer and graphene based flexible supercapcitor.

Trevor Nelligan

I am a Junior from The Woodlands, Texas, majoring in Computer Engineering. Aside from research, I like to hang out with friends, lift weights, work on fun software projects, and learn new things!

My research career began freshman year under Dr. Dylan Shell, and in the area of Artificial Intelligence. Our work specifically involved multiple robot systems and path planning algorithms. The summer after freshman year, I began work with Dr. Tracy Hammond in the Sketch Recognition Lab, with whom I am still working. My work has been in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, particularly in educational systems that feature sketch recognition. I have been part of three projects in this area: Mechanix, PerSketchTivity, and CourseSketch. All of these programs have been used in university classrooms, and I have had the opportunity to present my work on theses projects in several conferences and publications. I have had an amazing experience so far doing research at A&M, and I hope to help others have similarly fantastic experiences as well.

Emily Pewitt

I am a senior Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Major from Arlington, Texas.  I have a stem minor in AggieTEACH.  In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends, swimming, playing piano, going to the rec, fishing, and making up for lost sleep. In addition to my current research, I assisted with a project studying the behavior of sea otters in the Prince William Sound, Alaska.  I have been very involved in the American Fisheries Society and have assisted with data collection of fish in Galveston bay.  In January of my sophomore year, one semester after being accepted into Texas A&M from Blinn TEAM, I began an internship with Dr. Gatlin at the Texas A&M Aquacultural Research and Teaching Facility (ARTF).  I learned the operations of the facility and I became increasingly interested in the aquacultural research conducted by the graduate students.  I have now been an intern, volunteer, and student worker at the facility.  I am also employed with assisting graduate research at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department location just outside of College Station.   

I participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program at Texas A&M University during my junior year while conducting my research at the ARTF.  My experimental trial observed the dietary tryptophan requirement of juvenile red drum.  In the spring 2015 semester, I presented my research at 6 conferences including the Aquaculture America conference in New Orleans.  During the summer of 2015 I conducted a follow up experiment to further quantify the requirement.  I look forward to my senior year and continuing my research and publishing my findings.  I hope to pursue my research in graduate school while teaching high school biology.  My goal is to be employed by the education department of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Annie Salinas

I am a senior History and English double-major from Spring, Texas. I’m enamored by the history and structure of languages – I’m currently studying Italian, Latin, and Greek, and Anglo-Saxon – and hope to obtain a PhD and become a professor, teaching the wonderful overflowing connections between literature, myth, story, and language.

You could say that I’ve been drawn to research all my life, since “but why?” was arguably my most-used phrase as a child. However, I began formal research in 8th grade, when I undertook a year-long project exploring the mysterious history of the Spanish Colonial San Sabá Mission. While dragging my family across three states looking for clues in libraries and archives, I became absolutely hooked on research. I continued to create an original historical research project every year thereafter until arriving at A&M.

My college research has focused on the intersection of language and literature. In the summer of 2014, Dr. Larry Mitchell guided my research in the Cushing Memorial Library as I uncovered Welsh and Anglo-Saxon roots in the tantalizingly sound-driven poetry of 19th-century writer Gerard Manley Hopkins. The following school year, I worked under Dr. Robert Boenig to explore the language of beauty in the writings of C.S. Lewis. I hope to continue to research these and more writers’ works in the future, enriching my own and others’ understanding of the rich literary inheritance of our English language.
Madeline Smoot

I am a junior Microbiology major from Dallas, Texas. I currently serve as the Vice President of Delta Epsilon Mu, Lambda chapter. After graduating from Texas A&M, I plan to pursue a dual degree program to obtain an MD, PhD. My experience in undergraduate research has excited me for my future at the laboratory bench. I am excited to help any interested undergraduates pursue research opportunities during their time at Texas A&M.

I had previous research experience on the campus of MD Anderson and UT Southwestern. In Spring 2015 I began working in the lab of Dr. Steve Lockless. E.coli has three major K+ uptake systems (Trk, Kdp, and Kup), as well as a cryptic K+ channel, Kch. The goal of this project is to explore the individual function and modes of regulation for each system, which will lead to a more thorough understanding of the role that K+ homeostasis plays in bacterial physiology. Additionally, potential protein interaction partners have been identified for proteins involved in these K+ transport systems via a genome-wide protein co-evolutionary analysis. Future directions of this project will entail exploring these predicted interactions, as they may represent new cellular functions for K+ transport proteins or previously uncharacterized regulatory mechanisms.

Emily Tho
I am a senior Radiological Health Engineering major, Mathematics minor with a certificate in Business Management from Houston, TX. After graduating in December of 2016, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain my doctorate in Medical Physics. I am currently the president of Alpha Nu Sigma National Honor Society for Nuclear Science and Engineering, vice-president of Women In Nuclear (a networking, professional development, and outreach organization), a member of Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority, and am heavily involved in volunteering through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo as part of the Tours Committee.  In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, reading, baking, traveling, and anything outdoors.

I began research in the Fall of 2014 with the Michael DeBakey Institute here at Texas A&M studying and modeling the stages of hemorrhagic shock and identifying occult phenotypes for individualized treatment under the direction of Dr. Christopher Quick. In the Spring of 2015, I shifted my focus to experimental research and began working on a new project exploring the effects of radiation on intestinal lymphatic vessels under the direction of Dr. Ranjeet Dongaonkar. I plan to continue this project throughout my time at Texas A&M and hope to use the information discovered to make a difference in the lives of those undergoing radiation therapy treatments for cancer.

Andrea Weis
I am a senior Biomedical Science major from Galloway, New Jersey. My freshman year I began working in the Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory in the Large Animal Hospital under Dr. Ashlee Watts. During my time in her lab, I served as a research team leader for the DeBakey Institute’s Aggie Research Scholars program and completed an undergraduate thesis with the help of the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. After graduating in the spring, I hope to attend medical school. In my free time, I like to ride horses, go running, and play with my dog.

Throughout my undergraduate research experience, I have had the opportunity to work on several different projects. For the Aggie Research Scholar’s program, my team investigated a novel method to freeze equine mesenchymal stem cells. In my junior year, I completed my thesis on the use of autologous platelet lysate as a new serum supplement for the growth of equine mesenchymal stem cells. By using the horse’s own blood to create the platelet lysate, we will be able to eliminate the immune reaction when the cells are injected into the horse to heal various orthopedic injuries.

Randy White

I am a senior from The Woodlands, Texas pursing a Physics and Pure Mathematics dual degree. With these degrees I plan to attend graduate school to continue my research and earn a Ph.D. in Physics. I have served as the Director of Academics for the Society of Physics Students for both last year and this one.  Every year I have also helped out with the Physics Festival and DEEP with the outreach programs of the physics department. In addition, I have been involved with the Dean Student Advisory Panel for the College of Science. These organizations allow me to give my time towards helping to better my department, increase the educational opportunities for our underclassmen, and aid in exposing the general public to the physics I love.

I began research early my freshman year with Dr. Dave Toback in the Department of Physics working on the CDF Collaboration. There my research has been in Experimental High Energy Physics with a focus of searches for new physics. My project has led me to two separate trips to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and to a few conferences. The preliminary results of our analysis, as it pertained to my involvement, were published as a part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program last year. Research has been a crucial part of my college experience and has helped me attain some of my goals in life, as well as create many new ones.

Sean Whitney
I am a senior Aerospace Engineering major pursuing a minor in Mathematics from Frisco, Texas. Currently, I anticipate graduating in Spring 2017 with both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering. Upon graduation, I will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, where I hope to eventually combine my dream of flight, passion for engineering, and taste for curiosity as an experimental test pilot and flight test engineer. To that end, I am privileged to serve in Texas A&M’s uniformed student body, the Corps of Cadets, as the Commanding Officer for Squadron One in the coming year.
In November of 2013, I began as a research assistant to Dr. Cable Kurwitz in the Nuclear Power Institute on a NASA-funded compressive sensing and reconstructive imaging solution tailored to the stringent mass, power, volume, and financial constraints associated with modern CubeSAT systems. To date, the project has involved creatively developing methods to reduce the amount of light captured, and thus power required, during the image acquisition process while maintaining picture quality and resolution using consumer-of-the-shelf technology. During the late Summer of 2014, I began another research assignment as a Flight Observer in the Unmanned Flight section of the Vehicle Systems and Control Laboratory under Dr. John Valasek. More recently, I have studied the inlet unstart phenomena in hypersonic glide vehicles and assisted in efforts to control post-unstart behavior. In June 2015, I began an internship with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (NNSA, DOE) in Livermore, California simulating the deflection and disruption of planetary bodies using the world-class high-performance computing capabilities available. Throughout my extracurricular and academic involvement at Texas A&M, I have maintained that well-rounded character is paramount, and attempt to pass on the formative wisdom passed down to me through mentoring others.

Bailey Woods

I am a junior English and Classics major from Fort Worth, Texas. In my time at Texas A&M University, I have involved myself in numerous activities and organizations under the Honors and Undergraduate Research umbrella. My freshman year, I joined Explorations: The Texas A&M University Undergraduate Journal, as an Editorial Board Member; since then, I have been an Executive Board Member, Scribe, and am currently serving as Co-Chair. I plan on applying to the Undergraduate Research Scholars program in the Fall of 2015. In my free time, I am often reading, writing, or hiking.

I began my research my freshman year in the Spring of 2014 studying voyage literature and the juxtaposition of sanctity and insanity in monastic pilgrimages. My project is a creative thesis which consists of a lengthy short story that is influenced by my research followed by a critical apparatus. My research specifically follows monastic practices from the seventh century that involved peregrinatio (self-imposed exile and wandering for the love of God). Using what I have learned about voyage literature from stories as old as Homer’s The Odyssey to ones as modern as Life of Pi by Yann Martel, I have created a fictional telling of the Irish monk, Saint Cormac, and his pilgrimage that pushed him far into the Northern seas of the Arctic. Accounts of this journey are vague, thus giving me room to explore the art of voyage writing while pulling from techniques of modern and classic authors of the genre. The final product will ask a question similar to Yann Martel’s “Which do you believe?” as the reader is pulled between two different accounts of the journey.

Omar Wyman
I’m a sophomore Biomedical Engineering major from Cypress, Texas. Aside from academics I enjoy spending my free time playing on a soccer intermural team, reading, and working on various recreational computer and robotics projects. I greatly enjoy playing music from the Classical and Romantic periods on the piano, which has been one of my favorite pasttimes for the past twelve years.
I began my research work as a freshman under the direction of Dr. Christopher Quick in the Micheal E. Debakey Institute at Texas A&M.  My work in cardiovascular research has been centered around pulsatile hemodynamics and its effects on the vasculature system. Currently my research project consists of mock circulation loops for cardiovascular-assist devices and cardiovascular scaling laws. By combining established critical parameters common to hydrodynamic scaling approaches with conventional pulsatile hemodynamic scaling approaches, a novel method to scaling mock circulation loops that maintain mammalian biomechanical properties can be accomplished.

Iyan Younus

I am a senior Biomedical Sciences major and Neuroscience minor from Cameron, Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M University, I plan to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician investigator. My passion for research stems from a desire to further the frontiers of medicine through scientific inquiry. Aside from research, I am also involved in a myriad of service and volunteer organizations on campus. In my free time I enjoy watching and playing sports as well as spending time with family and friends.
Research has been embedded in the framework of my education since high school and during the summer after my freshman year, I began working in the Reddy Lab at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. The aim of our lab is to develop novel pharmaceutical interventions for epilepsy. In the summer of 2014, I participated in the Texas A&M College of Medicine’s research program and published my research on the antiseizure activity of Midazolam in the Journal of Pharmaceutics and Experimental Therapeutics. Last year, I participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program and wrote my thesis on the seizure exacerbating activity of oral contraceptives in a mouse model of epilepsy. Having participated in a broad spectrum of activities at Texas A&M, research has without a doubt been my most meaningful and fulfilling endeavor throughout my time here.