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Office of Undergraduate Research Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Meet with a Peer Mentor

Our peer mentors, who are currently working on their own research projects, have made themselves available to answer your questions about the research process. They have the experience and training to answer questions such as:

  • “How do I get started with my research?”
  • “Will I get paid to work on research, or am I eligible for a special scholarship?”
  • “How do I find a faculty mentor who will oversee and guide my work and training?”

How to Meet with a Peer Mentor

We use Microsoft Bookings to schedule in-person or virtual meetings between students and our peer mentors. After first selecting whether you want to have a 30-minute in person or virtual meeting (hosted on Microsoft Teams), you can then select a time based on our peer mentors’ availability. You can also optionally select the peer mentor you want to meet with. We then ask you for your name, email, and a few simple details about your academics and research interests. Once you book the appointment, a reminder about the meeting is sent to the email you provided.

Please note: Mentors are not available during Summer BreakWSU breaks, WSU holidays, Dead Weeks or Finals Weeks. Be sure to double check the WSU academic calendar to confirm these dates. (You will see that peer mentors’ availability on Microsoft Bookings should account for these breaks.)

Schedule a mentoring appointment on Microsoft Bookings

Meet Our Peer Mentors

  • Jacob Buursma

    Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington

    Major: Neuroscience (Pre-medical)
    Minor: Psychology

    Interesting fact: In my free time, I enjoy early morning runs, going to the gym, reading philosophy, and keeping up with current events.

    Research activities: Since August 2021, I have worked in a multidisciplinary Mouse-Cannabis Research Team with Dr. Delevich, Dr. Hayashi, and Dr. McLaughlin. As part of this team, I am involved in assessing the validity of a novel vapor delivery model for use in future preclinical cannabis research in mice. I have presented preliminary data for this project at SURCA (2022), and at the University of Washington Center for Cannabis Research conference. Additionally, under the guidance of Dr. Delevich, I proposed a novel research project aimed at investigating the effects of adolescent cannabis exposure on dendritic spines and microglia in corticostriatal brain circuits in mice. In May 2022, I was awarded an undergraduate fellowship grant from the WSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program (ADARP) to fund my project.

  • Ryan Faddis

    Hometown: Bellingham, Washington

    Major: Neuroscience and Psychology

    Interesting fact: I’ve played piano for nearly twelve years, some of my favorite composers include Rachmaninoff and Chopin.

    Research activities: During my past semester, I’ve worked in Dr. Ryan McLaughlin’s lab at WSU’s Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience Dept (IPN.) My previous and continued research concerns a project aiming to determine and manipulate the endocannabinoid mechanisms in a brain region called the Lateral Habenula during cognitive-behavioral tasks subsequent to chronic stress. The Lateral Habenula is deeply involved in cognitive flexibility, motivation, and the aversion response, thus implicating it in many psychopathologies.

  • Anna McDonald

    Hometown: Lakewood, Washington

    Major: Biology and Data Analytics
    Minor: Computer Science and Mathematics

    Interesting fact: I have over 100 digits of pi memorized!

    Research activities: Here at WSU, I do research with the bears under Dr. Joanna Kelley. We are currently investigating the effects of hibernation on insulin sensitivity and resistance in brown bears to gain a better understanding of how their tissues maintain glucose homeostasis during hibernation. This past summer, I participated in the Bruins-In-Genomics (B.I.G.) Summer undergraduate research program at UCLA where I researched the differences in genetic diversity in the human gut microbiome between hosts with Westernized vs non-Westernized diets. I am also the Committee Chair for the WSU Undergraduate Research Club!

  • Parker Johnson

    Hometown: West Richland, Washington

    Major: Genetics and Cell Biology
    Minor: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

    Interesting fact: My partner and I have a 20 gallon fish tank in our apartment. We have snails, shrimp, tetras, mollies, a Plecostomus, and a frog.

    Research activities: My first two years at WSU, I spent two semesters in the lab of Dr. Haseltine and a semester and a summer in the lab of Dr. Winuthayanon. In Dr. Haseltine’s lab, I worked on a project troubleshooting a dot blot protocol for the detection of DNA-RNA hybrids in archaeal DNA. In Dr. Winuthayanon’s lab, I worked on a project characterizing the expression of several proteins important to reproductive functions in the oviduct (in humans, the oviduct is usually called the fallopian tube), as well as a project investigating the safety and efficacy of PSA inhibitors as a potential novel contraceptive. Last spring, I assisted on a project in the lab of Dr. MacLean characterizing the phenotype of Rhox5 mutants. This summer, I worked as an intern at OHSU in the CDCB Summer Research Internship Program. I worked in the Dr. Nechiporuk’s lab investigating a unique form of RNA editing where an adenosine is converted to an inosine, which is functionally read as a guanine during translation. I studied this editing in AMPA receptors in zebrafish neurons.

  • Natasha Puzon

    Hometown: Enumclaw, Washington

    Major: Microbiology

    Interesting fact: I love being outside and doing things like distance running, hiking, paddle boarding and skiing as my hobbies.

    Research activities: I currently work in a combined immunology/virology lab that studies antibody mediated responses after vaccination. I am also in both the MARC and STARS programs which have encouraged me to do research since my second semester at WSU; I have worked in a total of three different labs during my time here.

  • Scott Stevison

    Hometown: Vancouver, Washington

    Major: Genetics and Cell Biology
    Minor: Music

    Interesting fact: I love playing soccer, basketball, rock climbing, and playing the tuba.

    Research activities: Wyrick Lab (Spring 2021-Present): My project requires the use of Perl scripts to perform data analyses for experiments ran by graduate student. These data sets target damage at DNA transcription factor binding sites, which may lead to skin cancers such as melanoma.

  • Stevie Fawcett

    Hometown: Bend, Oregon

    Majors: Microbiology, Spanish
    Minors: Jazz studies and German

    Interesting fact: I am a big dog person, and I have two dogs, a border collie/chihuahua mix and a whippet!

    Research activities: I am currently working in the Goodman lab studying immune pathways associated with West Nile virus. I also have experience working with several kinds of coronaviruses, filoviruses, and hantaviruses. Outside of the lab, I have done field work to study disease prevalence in wild rodent populations.

  • Zakora Moore

    Hometown: Tacoma, Washington

    Major: Bioengineering
    Minor: Mathematics

    Interesting fact: I played the clarinet for six years.

    Research activities: I have engaged in computational, experimental, and some theoretical laboratory practices here at WSU. Currently, I contribute to immunotherapy research under the guidance of Dr. Bernie Van Wie and fellow members in his lab group. My work requires proficiency in standard live cell culture practices, such as aseptic technique. At ABRCMS 2021, I presented my work involving expansions of T cells, assistance in kinetic modeling studies, and the monitoring of cell expansions concerning a perfusion bioreactor. I have also presented work from my previous research in the Integrated Design + Construction Lab (ID+CL) at SURCA and other conferences during my time as a civil engineering major. Under the mentorship of Dr. Julia Day, I evaluated high-performance building design and its relation to occupant comfort through qualitative data analysis of feedback from surveyed WSU residents and commercial tenants of the Pullman campus. I was also fortunate enough to co-author a publication for the 2020 Windsor Conference on Thermal Comfort. As a McNair Scholar, I am knowledgeable in the various opportunities for undergraduates in research, as well as where experiences in undergraduate research can take you!