Undergraduate Mentors

2019–20 Undergraduate Mentors

The Undergraduate Mentors work with students to guide individual research paths that advance their own academic interests. Set up an appointment with a UM today!

Kate Gannon
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! Currently, I’m working on research that takes a particular interest in the portrayals of women as animals within nineteenth century literature to show the connection between scientific discovery and the status of women’s roles within Victorian society. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a project, through the First Experiences in Research program, in which I worked alongside Professor Lenore Thomas to create an art exhibition. Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in humanities and interdisciplinary research, archival work, field studies programs, and/or launching a creative project! I’d love to talk, especially if you have a great book recommendation!

Claudia Haines
Undergraduate Mentor

Contact me if you're interested in history, art history, medieval studies, or museums! I've participated in FER, ASRA, NYCSR, and other research opportunities outside the OUR, and I would love to help you to get involved in research, too. I'm also always down to discuss the best places to get a cup of coffee in Pittsburgh!

Amanda Hokaj
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! My research is an investigation of the senses in Victorian literature as examined through ghost stories and early forms of visual technology. Please reach out if you are interested in humanities research (especially literary research!), field studies, archival work, interdisciplinary research, want to discuss books, ghosts, or have any questions about research in the humanities. I would love to talk!

Rachel Hopkins
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! Reach out to me if you’re interested in research in the social sciences or gaining experience and building relationships in the surrounding communities. I am a psychology and sociology double major with a minor in social work. My past research experiences have been in cognitive psychology and interdisciplinary education, and this year I am excited to be interning at a community nonprofit that focuses on Black mental health. I’ve worked as a mentor at Pitt for two years now, so I would love to help you find balance in your schedule, reach out to a faculty member, or get you connected to some of the great experiential learning opportunities on campus! We can also talk about race & inequality, poetry, reading, and our favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Erica Hughes
Undergraduate Mentor

Contact me if you are interested in matters of interdisciplinary research, social justice, psychology, and art. I am currently working in a lab on Borderline Personality Disorder in Youth but also have experience researching transnational graffiti, and the role of national identity in visual arts. Feel free to set up an appointment if you want to discuss your ideas, the world, art, coffee or cool spots in Pittsburgh!

Joey Jaros
Undergraduate Mentor

I research in both the natural and social sciences. I currently work in a plant ecology lab where I focus on invasive species management, and in the linguistics department where I study speech sounds of the South American language, Quechua. Reach out to me if you want to talk about how to get started in research, independent research, and interdisciplinary studies. I also run a community garden in Oakland and would be happy to talk about plants!

Shirley Jiang
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! I would be happy to discuss opportunities that Pitt offers for research in a broad range of fields and help you pursue your academic interests. I have experience in neuroscience and biology research, interdisciplinary work through FER, and applying to fellowships. Outside of research, I am up to chat about music, films, and exploring Pittsburgh - feel free to reach out!

Michael Kane
Undergraduate Mentor

Contact me if you're interested in talking about chemistry or psychology research. I have experience in the Sleep and Chronobiology Lab at UPMC and am doing drug synthesis research this year. Stop by and I can also teach you how to play quidditch!

Sravan Kanuparthi
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! I’m always eager to talk about how to get started and move forward in natural science research and related fields. I’m a Neuroscience major with a Chemistry minor. Over the years I’ve gained experience with research in biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and mathematics. My own work is in translational mental health concerning neural mechanisms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in mice models. I’ve also participated in the SURA and CTMHR summer programs here at Pitt! But if you want to talk about music, movies, or sneakers instead, I’ll definitely make time!

Salina Pressimone
Undergraduate Mentor

Contact me if you are interested in research within the Political Science department or want to learn more about First Experiences in Research and Pitt's Field Studies programs. I'm always happy to talk about your ideas and brainstorm together, or if you ever just need a partner to practice your Spanish with!

Swapna Subramanian
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi everyone! I am always up for talking about a variety of things, from my majors of ecology and evolution and anthropology to interests that I have fostered at Pitt like creative writing and literature. My research is in plant-herbivore interactions and I can advise you on publishing, conducting experiments, and balancing the responsibilities of having your own research projects with classes. I can also help with scholarship and grant applications as a Goldwater scholar.  If you have any questions about the sciences or the humanities or how they are not so different at all, I'd love to talk!

John Talley
Undergraduate Mentor

Contact me if you're interested in public health, researching for and at the community level, finding a way to relate your science interests in a social approach, or debating which dog breeds are superior.

Liz Timple
Undergraduate Mentor

Hello! If you are interested in conducting research in biology or the social sciences, feel free to reach out to me. I participated in First Experiences in Research studying nociceptive bladder afferents in the hypogastric nerve this past year. Outside of research, I work at Western Psychiatric Hospital and love volunteering. Contact me if you want to chat about any of these topics or my experiences at Pitt!

Samir Yellapragada
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! Contact me if you're interested in the natural sciences, anthropology, or theatre arts. My research focuses on the role of the gut microbiome in mental health disorders and I'm also very interested in how cultural contexts play a role in healthcare delivery. I think it's totally OK to have a variety of interests and I'd love to talk to you about one or all of them!