UR Ambassadors

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors support the Undergraduate Research Program in its efforts to provide critical research opportunities to students at Iowa State. Ambassadors speak to campus organizations and classes about undergraduate research events and initiatives, represent undergraduate research at major campus events such as WelcomeFest or Orientation, assist with undergraduate research events such as the Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative expression, manage undergraduate research social media accounts, and serve as a liaison for students interested in getting involved in undergraduate research.

Sound like something you're interested in joining?

The eligibility requirements for UR Ambassadors are:

  • Full-time Iowa State student
  • GPA of at least 3.00
  • Have been involved with research for at least 2 semesters including a summer semester
  • Able to commit to a full academic year term
  • Demonstrate a willingness to learn more about undergraduate research programs and events
  • Effective public speaking and communication skills
  • Preferred: participation in an REU

If you're interested in developing your presentation and leadership skills, expanding your professional network, and helping support an undergraduate research initative at a Research One institution, UR Ambassadors are for you! Fill out the application below:


Online Application to join the group of Undergraduate Research Ambassadors

Current Undergraduate Research Ambassadors





Abigayle Moser

Abigayle is a Senior studying Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. She aspires to earn a PhD and continue to pursue a dynamic research career exploring the overlap of computational methods and renewable energy system modeling. Currently, Abigayle studies various issues pertinent to energy equity and techno-economic development, such as grid resiliency and energy resource assessments. Her research began early in her academic career through the First-Year Honors Mentor Program (FHMP), where she participated in experimental work in the Iowa State University Wind Tunnels. This soon led to several REUs through Purdue University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with diverse teams addressing the growing threat of climate change. Her research portfolio has become diverse through multiple projects dealing with data analytics, particle image velocimetry (PIV), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Have a question about undergraduate research with Aerospace Engineering? Ask Abigayle!






Braden Westby

Braden is a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering. After conducting research at Iowa State as an undergraduate, Braden graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering last spring. Braden is now the Graduate Chair of the Research Ambassadors. Mentored by Dr. Richard Stone with a focus centered on exoskeleton systems, they have researched topics such as bioelectric signal recognition, apparel design, sociology, and aviation. They are currently working on several projects with foci in forensics and safety. In the future, Braden intends to continue into the world of academia to teach and continue research in human performance enhancement technologies. 


Also I’m probably not the person to ask about Aero lol. I’m willing to be asked about ME and IE though 

Have a question about undergraduate research with Industrial Engineering? Ask Braden!






Andy Hammer

Andy is a senior studying Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Computer Science. They started research as a freshman with Dr. Kristin Rozier and has worked on projects regarding sensor data and unmanned aerial vehicle traffic manangers.  Andy has done a research experience for undergraduates for implementing specifications on a traffic manager using R2U2 and had an internship last summer at NASA where they analyzed flight software for any potential undetected errors or dead code. Currently, they are working as a Boeing Research Fellow and has a grant from the NASA Iowa Space Consortium to continue researching formal methods. Currently, they are researching Assume-Guarantee Contract theory in order to quickly validate system requirements and verify system spaces in order to improve the saftey and liveness of different systems. They are working to expand an existing algorithm that exploits the patterns in Assume-Guarnatee Contracts to more easily discover dependencies in a systems design space.

Have a question about undergraduate research with Aerospace Engineering? Ask Andy!


















Daniel Howell

Daniel is a junior majoring in Chemistry and Horticulture with a minor in Spanish. During the spring of his freshman year, he began undergraduate research with Dr. Wenyu Huang’s group in the Chemistry department, where he worked with inorganic catalysts for industrially important gas-phase reactions. He then had a summer R&D internship with Kemin Industries, in which he worked with antioxidants for pet food. He has since been involved in research with the Huang group during the school year where he is part of a Plastic Upcycling project associated with the Department of Energy. During the summer of 2022, as part of a study abroad experience, he worked in a plant biology laboratory under Dr. Roc Ros at the University of Valencia in Valencia, Spain. Daniel plans to attend graduate school, earn a PhD in either Chemistry or Biochemistry, and have a career in research.  


Have a question about undergraduate research in Chemistry? Ask Daniel!



Nethmi Hewage

Nethmi is a senior majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. She is currently involved in inorganic materials chemistry research in Dr. Kirill Kovnir’s group, department of chemistry, at Iowa State University where she works on synthesizing novel materials for energy applications. In fall 2021, Nethmi did a SULI (Science Undergraduate laboratory Internship) with Ames National laboratory where she worked on the synthesis of quaternary sulfides. Nethmi did an NSF-funded MRSEC REU in the summer of 2021 at the University of Minnesota, department of chemical engineering and material science, where she worked on designing new multi-phase ceramic coating materials. In 2022 summer, Nethmi did a MRSEC REU at Northwestern University, department of materials science and engineering, where she worked on polymers and epoxy materials for magneto-heating. After graduation, Nethmi plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry or materials science.

Have a question about undergraduate research in Industrial Design? Ask Nethmi!



Abigail Fowler

Abigail is a senior in Microbiology minoring in Global Health. She has been participating in undergraduate research since the Spring of 2020. She started research with the First-Year Honors Mentor Program with mentor Dr. Donald Sakaguchi studying mesenchymal stem cell bone regeneration. She has continued in that lab, and her research project is now focused on utilizing a biopolymer conduit to promote nerve regeneration. She has also conducted research in other labs at Iowa State, studying RNA folding and structure. She hopes to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in biological sciences focusing on stem cell biology. She hopes to have a career in research. 


Have a question about undergraduate research in Microbiology? Ask Abigail!



John Swanson

John is a senior majoring in biology. He began his undergraduate research experience during his sophomore year as a research assistant in Dr. Sakaguchi’s lab. Since then, he has worked and assisted research on several projects in the lab alongside other undergraduates and graduate students. One of his initial projects focused on studying the effect of drug treatment on the development of adult rat hippocampal stem cells using a microfluidic device model. Currently, John is working on a project that involves studying the effect of electrical stimulation on the proliferation and differentiation of the same neural stem cell type growing on 3D-printed microchips loaded with graphene. Following graduation, John plans to continue his education and attend medical school.  


Have a question about undergraduate research in Biology? Ask John!





Victoria Kyveryga

Victoria is a third-year chemical engineering and chemistry student. She is currently involved in materials chemistry research in Dr. Kirill Kovnir’s group (Department of Chemistry and Ames Laboratory) and has had previous research experiences in biorenewable chemical optimization (Iowa State University), optical property characterization of nanocubes (University of Texas at Austin), and aggregation studies of quantum dots in liquid crystals (University of Pennsylvania). Victoria’s plans after graduation include attending a chemical or materials engineering graduate program, and she hopes to find herself in a career that allows her to synthesize and characterize materials for efficient storage, transmittance, and conversion of energy.

Have a question about undergraduate research in Chemical Engineering or Chemistry?  Ask Victoria!




Henry Thomas

Henry is a junior majoring in Chemistry and Physics. He began his research with the first-year honors mentor program under Dr. Wenyu Huang and has been working in the Huang lab since then for two semesters. He does research on the synthesis of novel nanomaterials such as crystalline organic catalysts known as covalent organic frameworks (COFs). He plans on attending graduate school, eventually earning a PhD in chemistry and going into a career in research. He has also done a summer research program through the department of chemistry at ISU during the summer of 2022. 


Have a question about undergraduate research in Chemistry or Physics? Ask Henry!





Michael Miller

Michael is a junior in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Psychology and Computer Science at Iowa State University. He began research during his freshman year through the First-Year Honors Mentor Program (FHMP). Here he worked under the mentorship of Dr. Hui Hu in the Aircraft Icing Laboratory. This research focuses on studying aircraft icing phenomena and mitigation strategies through field-testing as well as Icing Research Tunnel experiments. Currently, Michael is working on the AABL Balance Project, which entails designing, manufacturing, and implementing a new and improved stability balance for the senior design wind tunnel at Iowa State. Michael has also participated in an REU in Consumer Networking through the University of Missouri, where he built a custom network framework tailored for emergency routing services. Michael is currently deciding between attending graduate school after he obtains his Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or going directly into industry after graduation. 

Have a question about undergraduate research in Aerospace Engineering? Ask Michael!







Zoë Dekruif

Zoë is a junior majoring in Linguistics with minors in Anthropology and Classical Studies. She is currently working under Dr. Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen as an undergraduate research assistant, and aids in the study of process-focused advice to improve college students’ writing. Additionally, she has done past research in the reconstruction of dead languages, in second language acquisition, and in linguistic corpus analysis (see: https://youngscholarsinwriting.org/index.php/ysiw/article/view/355/371). Zoë plans to continue her involvement with this research and attend graduate school to further explore the field of applied linguistics.


Have a question about undergraduate research in Linguistics? Ask Zoë!



Harper Clark

Harper is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a minor in Global Health. She started research through the First-Year Honors Mentor Program where she was paired with Dr. Timothy Bigelow to work on ultrasound enhanced wound healing techniques. After her second semester, she took up an undergraduate research assistant position in the B.A.I. Genetics Lab under Ping Kang. There she currently works with drosophila, recording demography of populations and caring for stock specimens. 


Have a question about undergraduate research in Biology? Ask Harper!



Emily Allen

Emily is a second-year student majoring in Statistics with a certificate in Actuarial Science and a minor in Data Science. She began undergraduate research through the First-Year Honors Mentor Program, where she worked with Dr. Alicia Carriquiry and Dr. Danica Ommen on forged signature recognition research through the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE). She continued her research over a summer REU program with CSAFE at Iowa State University, ending the summer with a presentation at the International Association of Identification conference. Currently, Emily is continuing her research of forged signature recognition while advancing her knowledge of RStudio and statistics within forensic science.


Have a question about undergraduate research in Statistics? Ask Emily!



Benjamin Pellizzari

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Benjamin Pellizzari is a Sophomore at the Ivy College of Business, majoring in Business Analytics with an emphasis in mass-marketing and entrepreneurship. Besides representing the undergraduate research program, Ben serves as President for Iowa State and Historian for the state of Iowa as a member of Future Business Leaders of America, an organization which focusses on competing in academic business and technical-career competitions on both a state and national level, participating in community philanthropy, practicing parliamentary procedure, and leadership development. Following graduation at Iowa State, Ben hopes to obtain his MBA and join the corporate financial world as a market analyst while maintaining his own creative passions in entrepreneurship.”


Have a question about undergraduate research in Business? Ask Benjamin!



Mckenzie Sanden

Mckenzie is a second-year Genetics major with a minor in Music. She began research in the spring of her freshman year under Dr. Qian Wang (Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition). Through this position, she studies the impact of genes APOE & TOMM40 on mitochondrial morphology and Alzheimer’s disease. The project is conducted via Piggy-bac plasmid transfection on a HEK293 cell-line model. Mckenzie takes great interest in studying human genetic disorders, particularly neurological functioning or muscular dystrophy. After completing her bachelor's, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. so she may actualize her dreams of working in academia and managing a genetics laboratory.


Have a question about undergraduate research in Genetics? Ask Mckenzie!



Morgan Simms

Morgan Simms is a sophomore in Interior Design with a minor in Sustainability. She has been doing research with Dr. Rachel Eike since her freshmen year through the First Year Honors Mentor Program. Morgan presented at the symposium in the spring of 2022 and plans to keep presenting her work through its completion. Her research follows her sustainability minor and consists of collecting recycled textiles and breaking them down to create new materials for further use. After completing her Undergraduate, Morgan plans on joining a commercial design firm where she will implement sustainable practices learned in her research. 


Have a question about undergraduate research in Sustainability? Ask Morgan!



Ben Freiberg

Benjamin is a junior majoring in Kinesiology. He began his undergraduate research experience during his sophomore year as a research assistant in Dr. Karri Haen’s lab. Within this lab, he focuses on prosthetic development with 3-dimensional printing filament types, component modeling, and prototype construction. Additionally, Benjamin is an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) for Dr. Lee’s lab in the Kinesiology Department. Through this position in the PAAS study, Benjamin focuses on both physical and cognitive testing on participants within the study. More specifically, specializing in NDD electronic spirometry. Following graduation, Benjamin plans on attending medical school to pursue his interests in human anatomy and physiology.  


Have a question about undergraduate research in Kinesiology? Ask Ben!