Undergraduate Research Scholars Student Organization (URSSO)

Mines Undergraduate Research Scholars Student Organization (URSSO) seeks to ignite undergraduate students’ curiosity through unique undergraduate research experiences, campus-wide research opportunities, and a committed social network of peers. URSSO frequently coordinates with the office of Undergraduate Research Scholars and other offices on campus and organizations off campus. Meetings and events are advertised through the URSSO Engage page and the Mines campus calendar. If you have questions, email us at ugresearch@mines.edu.

Interested in joining the Undergraduate Research Scholars Student Organization?

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Meet Our Team

Paul Slayback, Co-President
Paul Slayback PortraitDepartment: Engineering Physics

Paul Slayback is a Junior in Engineering Physics and has been involved in research at Mines since his Freshman year. His freshman year he worked in the Brennecka research group working on ways to accelerate ceramics research. Now Paul works in the Eley research group studying 2D magnetic materials for spintronics and quantum devices. Paul hopes to go on for his PhD and continue to do research in quantum technologies. Outside of school and research Paul enjoys philosophy, running, caving, hiking and just being outside.

Portia Allen, Co-President
Portia Allen PortraitDepartment: Engineering Physics; Data Science; Computational & Applied Mathematics

Portia is a junior in Engineering Physics, with a double minor in Data Science and Computational/Applied Math. This will be her fourth year working in Dr. Singh’s research group and managing the shared physics lab in Coorstek. She has worked on various projects in the past, including optimization of aluminum/aluminum oxide tunneling junctions, structural and electrical characterization of carbon-platinum composites, and electrical transport measurements of silicon-based clathrate films. Her current project is taking cryogenic thermal conductivity measurements of suspended silicon nitride platforms, for future work with quantum thermal effects.

Griffin Hampton, Treasurer
Griffin Hampton PortraitDepartment: Biochemistry; Computational & Applied Mathematics

Griffin Hampton is a senior majoring in Biochemistry and Computational and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Public Affairs from the McBride Honors Program. As a member of Dr. Cecilia Diniz Behn’s group, Griffin has researched the mathematics of metabolism since his first year at Mines. He implements nonlinear systems of ordinary differential equations to capture the dynamics of metabolic processes of glucose, insulin, and glycerol. This translational research has focused on solving inverse problems with tools from applied mathematics to characterize the nature of metabolic systems. Griffin also does transgenic research in Dr. Matthew Posewitz’s lab. In Dr. Posewitz’s lab, Griffin is working to express the isoprene synthase protein from Pueraria montana, kudzu, in the highly productive marine algae Picochlorum celeri so that it will synthesize isoprene. Ultimately, Griffin wants to pursue an M.D. Ph.D. to apply his biochemistry and mathematics backgrounds to answer biomedical questions about metabolism and metabolic diseases.

Tony Tien, Website Editor
Tony Tien PortraitDepartment: Chemical Engineering

Tony is a senior in Chemical Engineering performing research in the department with Dr. Kevin Cash. His work in the Cash Lab has involved the development of analyte nanosensors to be applied to biological systems in vivo, including nanosensors for the detection of sodium, sulfate, and oxygen. He has also worked on a layer-by-layer biofilm project incorporating Pseudomonas aeruginosa with various polymers for improved diagnosis of biofilms in clinical settings. His current work involves researching methods of characterizing oxygen-sensitive nanosensors developed by the Prud’homme group at Princeton University for the determination of optimal formulations for desired use cases. After graduation, he intends to work in fields related to biotechnology and biomedical devices with a desire to work towards a Ph.D. in the future.

Erik Villar, First-Year Representative
Department: Petroleum Engineering and Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Erik is a transfer student in his junior year of studying Petroleum Engineering and Data Science. He is pursuing these fields because of their importance in our daily lives and the role oil and gas can play in improving a community’s quality of life. He is currently learning more about the life cycle of unconventionals in the United States. He has two years research experience with through the Mines Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURF) program and another year with other research programs, including the Payne Scholars. Whether he is in a lab or not, Erik has always enjoyed being part of a team. Previously, he worked as a firefighter and technical lead in the Mine’s chapter of Engineers without Borders Uganda Project.

Katie Vuletich, Advisor
Image of Katerina Vuletich - an Undergraduate Research Department AssistantDepartment: Undergraduate Research Scholars, University Honors and Scholars Programs

Katie Vuletich is the administrative assistant for the office of Undergraduate Research Scholars and University Honors and Scholars Programs. In 2015, Katie graduated with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Fine Art with Honors from Regis University. Before starting her position at Mines, she worked as a case manager and direct care counselor at Urban Peak Denver serving at-risk youth and youth experiencing homelessness. In addition to her job at Mines, she is a practicing artist, art mentor, and teacher. She enjoys hiking, documenting mushrooms, and painting insects.