URA Student Features

where are they now

URA Student Features

Check out what our past Undergraduate Research Academy Members are doing now.

Dr. Kim Hoang
URA 2014

Kim, a 2014 URA Alumni, is a US National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. She is generally interested in the evolution of beneficial host-microbe interactions. Working with Professor Kayla King, Kim is studying how bacteria can evolve to protect (or not protect) their hosts against pathogen infections.

Hoang will be returning to UCCS to present some of her research in a virtual talk on "Symbionts and Stresses: The Impact of Protective Microbes on Host and Pathogen Evolution"


Katie Agenbroad

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Al-Shawaf and Dr. Weiskittle

Katie, a 2022 URA Cohort member, focuses her research on examining the topic of death and mortality through a variety of lenses. Agenbroad's primary focus is on researching death-related risk factors for different age and population groups with the intent of using that scientific knowledge to translate to tangible improvement in clinical interventions related to suicide and other death experiences. She is especially passionate about engaging in research that improves scientific understanding of and interventions available to under research and underserved populations. 

As of 2023, Katie Agenbraod has been accepted to the MS in Clinical Behavioral Health at MSU Denver and the MA in Research Methods and Statistics program at the University of Denver where she was offered a $20,000 scholarship!

Here's what Katie had to say about being a part of the URA! 

"This work has been invaluable in helping me prepare for graduate school. Graduate school is nothing if not competitive and being a part of the URA has given my CV a competitive edge to get into my desired programs. More importantly, my work as a research assistant has taught me skills that I need to be successful as I enter graduate-level research."

"If you are even considering working with a faculty mentor my biggest advice would be to do it! I truly cannot express how valuable my work as an undergraduate research assistant and my relationships with my faculty mentors have been for my undergraduate experience. The classes that I took for my major were wonderful, but it was in the lab and during experiences like the URA where I felt like I actually absorbed what I had learned as I had to apply it to real projects.

Working with my mentors also was a huge catalyst in refining what I wanted to do in my life after UCCS and I know if I hadn’t worked with them I would be leaving undergrad having missed out on discovering a path in psychology that I am so passionate about. I also would be leaving feeling far less prepared to pursue graduate education and a less competitive applicant to graduate programs. And most of all, I would have missed out on the amazing relationships I built with my faculty mentors. Working with them truly has been the highlight of my career at UCCS!"


Read more on Katie's research in her UCCS Communique Feature!

Natalie Bondarchuk

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Klocko

Natalie, a 2022 URA Cohort Member, focuses her research on DNA replication synthesis with the use of CRISPR by extracting apple tree DNA out of E-Coli. Bondarchuk grows colonies of E-Coli aiming to find deletions or inversions. 

Natalie is currently aiming to pursue a Masters degree in genetic counseling once she finishes her undergraduate with UCCS. 


Here's what Natalie had to say about being a part of the URA!

"If you are a first-year student, I encourage you to get out there and talk with your professors. Ask questions. If there is an interest you have, or a topic you want to learn about, there is always research or projects going on and clubs to join. Without asking, you could never discover what new opportunities have to offer."

"The most memorable part of working on this project has been being able to learn how to clone the DNA that was provided and insert it into the E-Coli. That was something I got to do this summer while being a part of the URA, and it was really cool to learn about other steps of my project I had not before."

Read more on Katie's research in her UCCS Communique Feature!

Madison Fox

Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Kovacs

Recent UCCS graduate and URA member of the 2021 cohort, Madison Fox has gone on to a fellowship in Bethesda, Maryland to conduct virology research on HIV and COVID-19 under Dr. Anthony Fauci. After this fellowship experience, she plans to pursue medical school.

She said of her time working with her faculty mentor: "Working under Dr. Kovacs has been an incredible experience, and learning from someone as smart as he is has taught me not only biochemistry lab techniques and bioengineering skills, but a new way of thinking, asking questions, and how I can go about answering these questions.".

Read more about her research experience with the URA and her special Commencement feature!

Hadeel Khammash
Biomedical Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Klocko

Hadeel, a URA 2021 cohort member, took full advantage of her time here at UCCS. She in additional to working with Dr. Klocko on research, Hadeel started the Middle East and Northern African club (MENA), she volunteered as a peer mentor for GPS, and was the winner of the 2022 UCCS Student Achievement Award!

Her advice to students thinking about getting involved in research or creative works? "Reach out to a professor as soon as you can, because it is such a great and educational experience that I think everyone should take advantage of."

Check out her feature in the Communique on winning the 2022 UCCS Student Achievement Award and her experience working with Dr. Klocko as part of the URA!

Check Out More Alumni Successes

  • 2015-2016 URA Alumni

    Laura Bell, Department of Biology

    Laura is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the Neuroscience Program at University of Utah Medical School.

    Professional Research Conference Poster Presentation

    • The Rocky Mountain Regional Neuroscience Group Meeting. Aurora, CO. May 2015. Determining the role of caper in Drosophila neural development. Schachtner, L., Bell, L., Olesnicky, E.C.

    Jesse Miller, Department of Geography

    Professional Meeting Presentations

    • Miller, J. Mangrove forest land cover change within the Bahía de Jiquilísco region of El Salvador. Annual Meeting of the Great Plains / Rocky Mountains Division American Association of Geographers, Colorado Spring, CO, November 2016.
    • Miller, J. and Gibbes, C. Spatial Analysis of land cover in Jiquilisco, El Salvador. Imaging & Geospatial Technology Forum, Ft. Worth, TX, April 2016. 

    Internal Campus Presentation

    • Miller, J. An application of remote sensing to measure changes in mangrove forests. Guest lecture in GES 3060 (Introduction to Remote Sensing), Fall 2016, UCCS. 


    • Gibbes, C. and Miller, J. (in prep). Cellular Automata-Markov modeling to assess of mangrove forest management. Expected submission to Forest Ecology and Management May 2017.
  • 2014-2015 URA Alumni

    Miriam DeJong

    Miriam is now at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She won the best poster prize at the Front Range Advanced Magnetics Symposium in Fort Collins, CO in 2015, the best poster prize at the American Physical Society 4 Corners Conference in Phoenix, AZ in 2015, and she has two publications in international peer-review journals:

    • "Domain walls in finite-width nanowires with interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction," M.D. DeJong and K.L. Livesey, Phys. Rev. B in press (2017). 
    • "Analytic theory for the switch from Bloch to Neel domain wall in nanowires with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy," M. D. DeJong and K. L. Livesey, Phys. Rev. B 92, 214420 (2015).

    Jennifer Roberts, Department of Psychology

    Roberts is continuing to work with her URA mentor, Dr. Molly Maxfield in the Psychology department, as a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at UCCS. She is currently working in Dr. Maxfield's lab, as well as writing a paper with Maxfield that is based on her URA project.

    Logan Schachtner

    Logan is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the Developmental Genetics Program at New York University.

    Peer Reviewed Publication

    • Schachtner ,L.T., Sola, I.E., Forand, D., Antonacci, S., Postovit, A.J., Mortimer, N.T., Killian, D.J., Olesnicky, E.C.   Drosophila Shep and C. elegans SUP-26 are RNA-binding proteins that play diverse roles in nervous system development. Development Genes and Evolution. 2015 Nov 225:319-330. *

    * This article was chosen by the Editor-in-Chief as the highlight article of issue 6

    Professional Research Conference Poster Presentation

    • The Rocky Mountain Regional Neuroscience Group Meeting. Aurora, CO. May 2015. Determining the role of caper in Drosophila neural development. Schachtner, L., Bell, L., Olesnicky, E.C.

Logan Schachtner, Biology major, Class of 2016.

Logan is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Developmental Genetics at New York University

Alexandra Stuart, Class of 2018

Alexandra is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Colorado State University.

Her URA research was just published.

cover of the journal of magnetism and magnetic materials