WSU Undergraduate Researchers Awarded 30 Scholarships for 2014-15

CONTACTS: Shelley Pressley, WSU Director of Undergraduate Research, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-1252,

Jared Brickman, Communications Assistant, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-9458,

PULLMAN, Wash. — Thirty Washington State University undergraduates have been awarded scholarships from the Office of Undergraduate Research for projects to be conducted in the 2014-15 academic year. The awards include the Carson, the Auvil, and the DeVlieg Fellowships.

The awards – typically for $1,000 each – help support the research and creative activities of students from a wide variety of disciplines who work with faculty and staff mentors.

Of the 32 recipients, four are from WSU Vancouver, one is from Spokane, and the rest are from Pullman. Twenty are female. Sixteen of the recipients have or intend to have majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, seven are in the College of Veterinary Medicine, five in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, two in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, one in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, and one in the new College of Medical Sciences located at WSU Spokane.

First Carson Fellow Award

This is the first time an award has been made from the Scott and Linda Carson Undergraduate Research Endowed Excellence Fund. The Carson Fund is the first university-wide undergraduate research fund that gives preference to recipients who are juniors and seniors. The Carsons are WSU alumni who have supported the university generously through many years of service and financial gifts. Scott Carson is a WSU Regent and leads the university’s $1 billion Campaign for WSU fundraising effort that continues into 2015.

Auvil Fellows

The Auvil Scholars Fellowship began in 2006 with a gift from the estates of Grady and Lillie Auvil, Wenatchee tree-fruit entrepreneurs who believed in the importance of education and research.

The new Auvil Fellows proposed to investigate topics ranging from the properties of fragmented magnetic materials to limb regeneration in tadpoles to the influence of video games on the view of history for people from different societies.

DeVlieg Fellow

The DeVlieg Foundation Grant is a fund for students in the College of Engineering and Architecture who are pursuing research projects in renewable energy.

Supporting a High-Impact Experience

“Our goal with these awards is to support undergraduates who want to explore topics and contribute to the knowledge base,” says Shelley Pressley, director of the program, which is part of the Office of Undergraduate Education. “Mentored research is a rewarding and résumé-building high-impact experience. With scholarship support, many students can devote more time to research than having to work jobs to fill financial needs.”

“Award winners will present their work at the 2015 Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA). Sharing the results of research and creative activity is a fundamental part of the research process,” says Pressley.

Carson Fellow for 2014-15 is:

  • Joseph Traverso, a mechanical engineering major mentored by Nikolaos Voulgarakis

Auvil Fellows for 2014-15 are:

  • Jonathan Abarca, a fruit and vegetable management major mentored by Amit Dhingra
  • Sophie Ascasco, a zoology major mentored by Kwan Hee Kim
  • Madeleine Brookman, a digital technology and culture major mentored by Dene Grigar at WSU-V
  • Colleen Chalmers, a psychology and human development major mentored by Brittany Rhoades Cooper
  • Vanessa Delgado, a sociology major mentored by Linda Heidenreich and Julie Kmec
  • Molly Diamond, a zoology major mentored by Erica Crespi
  • Hannah French, a neuroscience major mentored by James Pru
  • Floricel Gonzalez, a microbiology and English major mentored by Anthony Nicola
  • Brandon Graham, a bioengineering major mentored by Wenji Dong
  • Travis King, a zoology major mentored by Daniel Thornton
  • Katherine Ladwig, a bioengineering major mentored by David Lin
  • Hannah Matalone, a speech and hearing sciences major mentored by Mark VanDam
  • Joseph McGill, an environmental science and biology major, mentored by Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens
  • Samantha McInally, a microbiology major mentored by Hector Aguilar-Carreno
  • Angela Morrelli, Stephen Palermini, and Brittany Wouden, all digital technology and culture majors, mentored by John Barber at WSU Vancouver
  • Natalie Nelson, an animal sciences major mentored by James Pru
  • Daniel Nicoara, a biochemistry major mentored by Raymond Quock
  • Mia Ryckman, a biology major mentored by Norman Lewis
  • Muad Saleh, a materials science and engineering major, mentored by John McCloy
  • Seth Schneider, a genetics and cell biology major mentored by Cynthia Haseltine
  • Jacqueline Schultz, a zoology major mentored by Mark Dybdahl
  • Christina Street, a neuroscience major mentored by Michael Court
  • Kayla Titialii, a zoology major mentored by Erica Crespi
  • Chris Vasil, a chemistry major mentored by Jonel Saludes
  • Kai Wang, a zoology major mentored by Jesse Brunner
  • Lauren Rachel Young, a history major mentored by Lydia Gerber

DeVlieg Fellow for 2014-15 is:

  • Serah Njau, a chemical engineering major mentored by Bernard Van Wie

More information on WSU’s undergraduate research programming is online at