Undergraduate Research Ambassadors

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors (URAs) are peer ambassadors with experience navigating research at Mines. In addition to hosting and attending events pertaining to undergraduate research, they serve as in invaluable resource to current and prospective students interested in conducting undergraduate research at Mines.

meet our ambassadors!

URA Cohort: 2024-2025
Roya Akrami is a sophomore pursuing an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. The Mines FIRST and SURF awards support her involvement in research. Alongside her research mentor, Dr. Phal, she studies vibrational circular dichroism spectroscopy to uncover new insights into amino acid structures. Additionally, her robotics research focuses on developing LIDAR systems. She hopes to continue her studies in optics and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Outside of her academic work, she enjoys enduring the trials of crocheting tote bags and baking macarons.

Have a question? Send Roya a message here.

URA Cohort: 2024-2025
Alex Dhupar is a sophomore studying Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering. He is currently conducting research with Dr. Ramya Kumar’s Biomaterials Lab on polymer synthesis reactions. More specifically, he is cultivating a polymer library to enable the rapid synthesis of specialty surfaces in biomedical applications and the engineering of nanoparticles for drug delivery. In the future, he hopes to continue research and branch into neuroscience and cognitive sciences. Outside of the lab, Alex finds time to play tennis and soccer, work out, and practice piano. 

Have a question? Send Alex a message here.

URA Cohort: 2024-2025
Quinn Harrand is a sophomore majoring in the Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program. As part of FIRST, she worked with her mentors Dr. Pankavich and Dr. Pak to expand the understanding of biomolecular assembly and organization through simplified coarse-grained models. She has also had the opportunity to work in Dr. Chauhan’s lab developing gold nanoparticle (GNP) embedded contact lenses designed to help treat dry eyes. Confronted with aggressive myopic development since age 6, innovative contact lens designs have created a dramatic improvement in her quality of life for a number of optical concerns and she hopes to help others find relief in securing specialized eye and health care by entering the optics or ophthalmology field. Outside of her academics, she is an avid watercolor painter, newfound skier, and animal enthusiast.

Have a question? Send Quinn a message here.

URA Cohort: 2024-2025
Jude Lowe, a junior studying Geophysics, has been conducting research with Dr. Brandon Dugan since his first semester at Mines. Jude has worked on multiple projects alongside Dr. Dugan, collaborating through programs such as FIRST, MURF, and SURF. Their research has focused on the Tuaheni Landslide Complex, as well as Jude’s current project: studying the movement of Biochar and its impact on hydraulic conductivity. This summer, Jude is excited to continue exploring Biochar mobility and its potential applications in agriculture through the SURF program. He would like to continue research in the future in climate, energy, or humanitarian geophysics by pursuing a master’s here at Mines. Outside of school and research, Jude enjoys trail running, snowboarding, and actively participating in clubs such as Mines Without Borders and the Society of Student Geophysicists.

Have a question? Send Jude a message here.

Silje Ostrem: Electrical Engineering
URA Cohort: 2023-2024

Silje Ostrem is a senior in the 4+1 program studying electrical engineering. She has been doing research in the Antennas, RFID, and Computational Electromagnetics Lab since her first semester, and plans to pursue her PhD in the same lab after graduating. After completing her education, she is aiming for a career as either an RFIC designer or an RF/Microwave engineer in the medical device industry. Throughout her time in FIRST, MURF, and now the ARDC she has done research on antennas for aircraft and underground localization, and she is currently working on antenna based blood glucose sensors. Outside of academics, she enjoys reading historical fantasy, knitting, swimming, rock climbing, and has a 600+ day streak on Duolingo.

Have a question? Send Silje a message here.

Marco Salgado: Chemical Engineering
URA Cohort: 2024-2025

Marco Salgado is a junior studying Chemical Engineering and has been involved in research with Dr. Andrew Herring since his first semester. With the help of programs such as FIRST, SURF, and MURF, Marco researches the synthesis, characterization, and utilization of hydrocarbon-based polymer electrolyte materials for use in electrochemical devices, such as fuel cells and electrolysis cells. Marco’s future plans involved attending graduate school to pursue further research in the renewable energy applications of electrochemistry. When out of the lab, Marco enjoys playing chess, cooking new dishes, and fishing in the mountains.

Have a question? Send Marco a message here.

“As a URA, I have been able to share my love for research with others. Whether by advising on how to get started with undergrad research, or by explaining what I do in the lab, I get to engage with students, and this gives me a sense of satisfaction from what I do.”

Praise Olusoji

Click the Image below to Meet Our Previous URAs!

“As a URA, I have had the opportunity to share my passion for research and help other students become involved in research on campus. I have enjoyed working with other student researchers to make undergraduate research more accessible and the opportunity to engage with the Mines campus.”

Emmelia Ashton

“Being a URA allowed me to help connect countless students with new research opportunities at both Mines and other institutions. It was also an opportunity to become more involved with other on-campus organizations and meet like-minded students who are also pursuing similar programs.”

Max Garza



Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are privy to networking opportunities with peers, faculty, and staff at Mines as well as with other nationally recognized undergraduate research programs.


gain professional skills

Being an Undergraduate Research Ambassadors reflects highly upon participants and gives students the opportunity to cultivate their educational and professional goals.


Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are eligible to receive a travel grant to present at conferences throughout the United States. Attending conferences is an invaluable experience for any researcher.



  • Have at least two semesters of undergraduate research experience.
  • Be graduating in spring 2025 or later.
  • Have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Possess outstanding oral communication skills.
  • Be able to enthusiastically describe your undergraduate research to a general audience.
  • Be willing to serve as a source of information about the various undergraduate research opportunities at Mines.
  • Be willing to attend trainings and regular meetings.
  • An enthusiastic willingness to help facilitate the Undergraduate Research Scholars Student Organization (URSSO). For more information on URSSO, please read the toggle labeled, “URSSO: A URA’S ROLE”.
  • Attend regular group meetings. These meetings usually take place once every two weeks.
  • Participate in up to 10 hours of flexibly scheduled activities per semester – including facilitating workshops, advising students, participating in undergraduate research programs, and making presentations to classes and student organizations.
  • Maintain professionalism, interpersonal skills, and technical skills.
  • Please review the eligibility requirements and expectations mentioned above.
  • Gather required information and documents, including your resume/CV.
  • The application deadline is rolling but is usually updated on an annual academic year basis. Thus, it is best to submit an application around January (for spring) or July (for fall). You will be notified before the beginning of the fall semester and/or spring semester regarding your application status and the next steps.

The Undergraduate Research Student Organization was founded in 2020 by the 2019-2020 URA cohort. URSSO is a student lead organization intended to connect students interested in research with peers currently conducting undergraduate research at Mines. Anyone interested in research can join the organization. Annually, URSSO attends and hosts events related to undergraduate research.

Though student officer positions are elected, URAs often function as peer leaders for URSSO. In order to be a URA, you must be willing to participate and help in the growth of Undergraduate Research Scholars Student Organization.

For more information and/or to join URSSO, please visit our Engage webpage: https://mines.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/undergraduate-research-scholars