The Mortenson Center provides financial support to undergraduate engineering students in the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship (DLA) program. These students are paid for hourly research with faculty whose work aligns with our mission. See what the 2021-22 Mortenson Center DLA's are doing:


Caroline Chang

Computer Science

Rethinking careers aspirations and pathways in global engineering with Dr. Amy Javernick-Will

Caroline Chang is developing programs to moderate and encourage discussions about humanitarian engineering. This research seeks to help students of the program make effective and sustainable change.


Nicholas Grant headshotNicholas Grant

Architectural Engineering

Quantifying the material intensities of buildings with Dr. Wil Srubar

Nicholas Grant has a project focused on quantifying the material intensities of residential buildings located in low- and middle- income communities and quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions associated with these materials. This work is a step toward creating a sustainable built environment across the globe.




Whitney KnoppWhitney Knopp

Environmental Engineering

Learning how to be an air quality detective in Kampala, Uganda with Prof. Mike Hannigan

Whitney Knopp is working with a research group calibrating low-cost particulate matter sensors. These sensors live in air quality monitoring pods that make the acquisition of real-time air quality data more accessible and affordable. This research aims to have implications in air quality sensing during natural events, such as forest fires, as well as generally in communities both domestic and abroad.




Rafael Morales headshotRafael Morales

Biomedical Engineering

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection for microbe and biofilm control in small systems with Prof. Karl Linden

Rafael Morales is performing experiments using UV light to inactivate bacteria in biofilm. The experiments use different UV light lamps to calculate the necessary exposure periods needed to achieve a given cell log reduction. Rafael will design and perform experiments to test the effectiveness of a prototype UV light hand sanitization station on inactivating Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.




Cole VelasquezCole Velasquez

Civil Engineering

Communicating safe housing design/construction techniques in Puerto Rico with Dr. Amy-Javernick Will

Cole Velasquez is working on a project based in Puerto Rico that seeks to understand how the perceptions of safe construction practices influence informal construction. He is assisting in the final phase of the project, helping to establish a communication plan for community-based organizations that will disseminate the findings to local residents.



Elizabeth Wallace headshotElizabeth Wallace

Enivornmental Engineering

Investigating project-based learning in Colorado and Mongolian high schools with Daniel Knight

Elizabeth Wallace is investigating how project-based learning enhances student interest in STEM in Colorado and Mongolian high schools. High school students will conduct their own soil quality research project. Then, the project’s impact on how students identify as scientists, engineers, and future college students will be assessed through surveys, interviews and observations.