Undergraduate students begin summer of research

New fellowships benefit undergraduates for summer research projects

Fourteen UO undergraduate students have been awarded summer fellowships that allow them to dive deep into their research projects over the summer.

The fellowship recipients are pursuing projects in a wide range of disciplines, from conducting an analysis of Oregon’s response to COVID-19 to physics research that searches for new long-lived particles to an inquiry into the complex experiences of migrants who enlisted in the Bracero program that brought Mexican laborers to the United States in the 1940s.

The fellowship awards span two different programs, the Vice President for Research and Innovation Undergraduate Fellowship and the Peter O’Day Fellowship in Biological Sciences.

“The breadth of the research being done by this cohort is impressive,” said Karl Reasoner, a senior program manager who oversees the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. “Their resilience in face of the challenges posed conducting research responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic is notable.”

In addition to receiving the fellowship award funding, students participate in a series of workshops and seminars focused on career preparation, professional development, and research communication.

The cohort model allows for the fellows to have a shared experience with students who have similar interests, but come from different majors and backgrounds. They learn from each other about the diversity of research at the UO, how to overcome common research challenges, and how to take advantage of the various campus resources and opportunities available to them.

Ten undergraduate students were awarded VPRI Undergraduate Fellowships that are funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Four undergraduate and graduate student pairs were awarded Peter O’Day Fellowships in Biological Sciences that are funded through an anonymous donor and University Advancement. Named after retired Department of Biology faculty member Peter O’Day, the fellowship provides immersive, intensive and rewarding opportunities for highly motivated students to perform authentic research in the university’s many and diverse biological science laboratories.

VPRI Undergraduate Fellowship Recipients:

Odalis Aguilar Aguilar, Latin American Studies and Spanish, “Promesas Ingenuas/False Promises”

Brenna Barton, Romance Languages, “Cultural Transitions: Language and Identity in Post WW-II Spanish migrants”

Mikala Capage, Biology, “Hunting for prions: Using inheritance patterns in yeast cells to attribute epigenetic states to prion proteins”

Rachel Conner, Human Physiology, “100 Years of Malaria in Zanzibar, East Africa”

Isabel Crabtree, Linguistics, “Influence of Listener Ideology on Perception of Non-Native Speech Intensity”

Dimitra Fellman, Biology, “Oregon's Response to COVID-19: Approaches and Outcomes to Social Distancing and Testing”

Rachel Hur, Physics and Mathematics, “Improving accuracy in LIGO’s parameter estimation software”

Parker Morris, Chemistry, “Rational Design of Molecular Nickel Catalysts for Remote Hydrofunctionalization Applications”

Laura Nosler, Physics, “Supersymmetric Long Lived Particle Search”

Tillena Trebon, Linguistics, Spanish, “Effect of hesitation sound phonetic quality on perception of language fluency”

Peter O’Day Fellowship in Biological Sciences Fellowship Recipients:

Lejla Biberic and Amber Rolland, Biochemistry, “Determining detergent dependence of Cytolysin A and Fragaceatoxin oligomeric states through native mass spectrometry”

Isabelle Cullen and Jared Acosta-King, Biology, “Modulation in Sniffing Behavior as a Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorders”

Ireland Johnson and Annie Gilbert, Biology, “Design of Hydrogel Based Biomaterials that Incorporates BMP-2 and Demineralized Bone Matrix”

Calvin “Cal” Penkauskas and Alejandro Brambila, Environmental Science and Biology, “Hogs and Hazelnuts: resolving conflict between oak conservation and organic agriculture”