As the great-granddaughter of Mexican immigrants...
I have a connection to the Latinx community—even though I was raised in a culture of white privilege and don't identify as bicultural. It was not until I took the course Practicing Anthropology that I realized why I have never been able to fully experience my Mexican heritage. I learned that through systems of oppression and assimilation, immigrants often work to rid themselves of their native culture to succumb to the “American Dream.”
At the same time, I was introduced to GENESISTER, a pregnancy prevention program for the siblings of pregnant or parenting teens. Through conversations about the issues that Latinx youth face today and through my personal background, I feel inspired to do research that will benefit the greater community. My goal is to work with those at GENESISTER to share experiences and stories that foster understanding and compel others to learn or do more to make a change.
Amy Martinez partnered with Dr. Kathryn Goldfarb in the Anthropology Department in Summer 2019 to study how Latinx Youth act as Cultural Brokers in Boulder County.
I was incredibly intimidated as the only undergraduate in a seminar of mainly doctoral students.
There was a moment when we were all introducing ourselves and talking about our pieces. At some point, Richard Danielpour, the composition teacher, interjected and said to everyone,
“You know, when you applied for the program, I wasn't sure it would be good to have an undergraduate, and I still stand by that in principle, but I talked with the violin professor at CU and he vouched for you. It's clear you belong here."
I felt a newfound sense of confidence and resolve to work to be the best composer I could be.
Nelson Walker attended the Accedemia Chigiana in Summer 2019 to revise and compose an original composition in Siena, Italy. Listen to Nelson's Composition.
Experimental cinema can embody such a wide variety of subjects and techniques.
The first time I was exposed to experimental cinema, I found that the strange abstractions only made me crave typical narrative Hollywood films. However, taking the Intro to Film Studies course showed me how experimental cinema can embody such a wide variety of subjects and techniques, from nature to abstract camera angles, to placing sheets or objects in front of the camera.
It was in this unfamiliar space where I made the connection—experimental film can also be narrative! After being shown Lois Patino’s Mountain in Shadow, I went home and researched his work. What I discovered was his style is very similar to the type of filmmaking I am interested in, and I have now adopted his style as inspiration for my current project.
Shay Ding partnered with Dr. Don Yannacito in the Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts in Summer 2019 to create experimental films.
I learned and experienced more than I ever hoped.
One of the most important lightbulb moments for me was the first time I ran an MRI scan without the assistance of our lab manager. I have been interested in this research for a couple years, but it wasn't until I began running MRI sessions on my own that I knew I wanted to work in a neuroimaging lab.
Research has so many components, and I love all the work that comes with being part of a research lab; but I have discovered through working in this lab that I love neuroimaging the most. While my main interest is not psychopathology, I feel that I learned and experienced more in this lab than I ever hoped.
I will forever be grateful to Dr. Kaiser and our research team for giving me such a strong desire to keep learning and asking questions, and for showing me that I should follow the path I'm on.
Jamie Finegan partnered with Dr. Roselinde Kaiser in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in Summer 2019 to research affective disorders and depression.
My path to research has been a gradual journey.
One defining moment of my journey was when I met with fellow students in my research group. In addition to being one of the first women in my family to finish a bachelor’s degree, the first woman in my family to pursue a career in STEM, and the first to pursue graduate school, my research group has made a considerable impact on my decision to pursue research with their continuous encouragement. I use these facts as motivation.
Sometimes we struggle to achieve change, but these struggles are what drive us forward and push us to grow. I am grateful for this growth and for all of the academic opportunities I received along this journey.
Colby Brabec partnered with Dr. Cora Randall in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Summer 2019 to connect convection to atmospheric gravity waves using NASA satellite observations.
The moment I decided to pursue this research...
...came while I was working in my thesis advisor’s lab. In working on literature review and assessing clinical prescreens, my passion for research became clear—as I saw the pursuit of scientific knowledge and contribution and a possible lifelong goal for myself. I refocused my post-graduation plans from practice to research.
I have become passionate about addressing discrepancies in mood disorder research as I have performed a literature review and seen the day-to-day impacts that they have on individuals who have the disorder and the ways that psychological science might be failing some of these individuals.
Elizabeth Hoelscher partnered with Dr. June Gruber in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in Summer 2019 to examine the links between bipolar disorder risk and emotion dysregulation during the transition to college.
Developing this code entirely on my own was incredibly fulfilling.
As an aerospace engineering student, the concept of exploring atmospheric tracers didn’t stand out to me at first, but my lightbulb moment came early on when I was exploring ozone data. The surface ozone data I required was spread out over many different file types, and after contacting the NOAA, I grew impatient with waiting for a response. So I decided to do it myself.
Utilizing highly accessible data from the internet, I was able to create a beautiful Python visualization of the data. Developing this code entirely on my own was incredibly fulfilling and helped me to discover an amazing engineering skillset and a potential future career. It was through this process that I found a passion for data science and analysis.
Jashan Chopra partnered with Dr. Detlev Helmig in the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) in Summer 2019 to investigate atmospheric arctic wildfire tracers.
It was rare for me to be in a class that taught lessons revolving purely around space exploration.
My inspiration for research on space exploration came from my undergraduate Orbital Mechanics class. It was rare for me to be in a class that taught lessons revolving purely around space exploration. I remember that being my favorite class from all four years of my undergraduate study. Since then, I’ve sought out opportunities to continue learning about spacecraft design and the trajectories they can take.
Connie Childs partnered with Dr. Natasha Bosanac in the Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences in Summer 2019 to research low thrust approach trajectories for Martian systems.
I joined a research group to foster my passion for prosthetics.
My lightbulb moment was during my freshman year of undergraduate studies, in which I was required to take a short workshop on spatial visualization. At the beginning of the course, the professor explained what they did for a living outside of teaching: research on prosthetic devices. At first, I wasn't very interested.
It wasn’t until I thought more in-depth about the subject that I realized just how interesting the topic was for me. At the end of the workshop, I asked the professor if they had any time to talk about their work and whether they could recommend any resources to broaden my knowledge on the topic. Later, I joined a research group to foster my passion for prosthetics.
Christina Chase-Markopoulou partnered with Dr. Jacob Segil in the Engineering Plus Program in Summer 2019 to research soft actuators and prosthetic devices.
I have been challenged to think about how I can best approach the issue of climate change.
Some of the things I enjoy most—wilderness areas, outdoor recreation, and the opportunity to escape the business of civilization—are threatened. During my time at CU, I have been challenged to think about how I can best approach the issue of climate change to protect the areas I love: using green technology, consuming less resources, and reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
What I have come to realize is that none of these are possible without economic resources and informed research. This is why I decided to pursue a research career—to make green technology or carbon capture more economically competitive.
Jason Chalmers partnered with Dr. Jennifer Kay in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) in Summer 2019 to investigate the linearity of cloud feedbacks in idealized climate models.
Darby Linn, Art History and Strategic Communications (Media Design) major, spent a summer in search of paintings believed to have been confiscated by Nazis in WWII.
“I was able to put my passions to practice and make a difference in a real mystery.” Darby says the experience “made my major feel much more valuable.”
In their attempt to prototype a reusable crew module for spaceflight, undergraduates Anastasia Muszynski and partners found unexpected inspiration in the art of origami.
Muszynski’s passion for paper folding helped the team solve the complex challenge of engineering a module that can be tightly folded for transport and inflated in space—a technique called Miura. The concept proved to be what she remembers as “one of those creative ideas that just might work.”
Frustrated by the challenging jargon (specialized language) used in publicly-funded scientific research, Ally Faller, undergraduate English and TAM major, set out to design a set of tools to give academics valuable insight into their articles before publishing.
“My research,” Ally recalls, “was born out of the critical need to ease the tangled communication channels between lay-people and scientists.” She hopes that bridging this gap helps people self-educate and become more deeply invested in urgent humanitarian issues.
Fascinated by innovations in wearable technology and driven by a passion for dance, undergraduate Emily Daub developed integrated, responsive lighting systems for costumes that expand the creative possibilities for performance dance.
With responsive wearables, Daub creates dance performances that are fun, expressive, active and entertaining experiences that tell relatable stories about personal relationships.
Haley Hyde and Matthew Vivirito
Undergraduates Haley Hyde and Matthew Vivirito created the Mobile Interdisciplinary Networking Exhibition (M.I.N.E.) as a participatory platform to bring communities into closer dialogue with institutional information centers like universities and museums.
With financial support from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Hyde and Vivirito aim to address gaps between the formal presentation of information and the informal networks where the general public engages with information, such as social media.
Sarah Von Hoene
To explore the efficacy of BRUVs, Sarah conducted deployments across coral reef sites in Cozumel, Mexico.
Baited Remote Underwater Video systems (BRUVs) are becoming a non-invasive, time-efficient underwater tool for assessing reef community structure, fish biodiversity, and species-specific behaviors.