News

Students who receive funding from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research make headlines for their innovative research projects, rich hands-on experiences, and subsequent awards and scholarships. Many of their stories and accomplishments are featured in UNH Today and in other publications, both campus wide and beyond.

Researchers in the News

Awards & Scholarships

Alumni News

Researchers in the News

Katherine Metzger

Katherine Metzger

Finance and economics major Johanne Nichols (REAP 2021) recently published an op-ed based on her summer research, which focused on Covid-19's effect on women. 

Chemical engineering major Katherine Metzger (REAP 2020) was featured in IMPACT, the UNH publication that shows some of the ways donors are making a difference in UNH students' lives.

Physics major and McNair scholar Tan Dao '21 has been accepted into Harvard University's doctoral program in physics. Tan, who will begin his graduate studies next fall, completed a URA in 2019 titled "Inducing Strain in Atomically Thin Sheets of Molybdenum Disulfide for Catalysis Studies." Read more about Tan in UNH Today.

David Walker (URA and SURF USA 2019), who graduated in 2020 with a B.S in biomedical sciences, medical and veterinary option, was recently featured in UNH Today. This summer he begins a two-year research position at Boston Children's Hospital studying cardiac stem cells. His research as an undergraduate focused on ovarian cancer cells.

Lihy Buchbinder, a physics major who received a URA grant in spring 2020 for her project titled "Exploring the Effect of Tip Shapes on Tip-Sample Interactions for Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Imaging," was recently featured in UNH Today

Former REAP student and mechanical engineering major Charlie Nitschelm won't graduate until 2020, but he already has a job lined up at SpaceX. Read about Charlie in UNH Today and watch a video about him.

Megan Duranko ’17, Erin Hart ’18, and Kathryn Taylor ’17 received a SURF award to study the relationship between stress and heroin abuse. Read about their research in UNH Today.

Podcasts from UNH’s 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference are now online. Listen to occupational therapy students Molly Ohman (SURF 2014) and Alanna Young (SURF 2014) present their research by clicking on the links, below.

Molly Ohman: Experiencing Stigma: Children’s Perceptions of Stigma Associated with Learning Disabilities

Alanna Young: How Do Social Barriers Affect Friendship for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Joseph Juknievich has completed both the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP) and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) with funding from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. Listen to Joe talk about both projects, and the benefits of undergraduate research at UNH, on the UNH podcast.

UNH Global Brigades members Ben Claxton, Christine Hebert, Amber Litterer, Samantha Docos, and Kendall Milkey (all former Hamel Center awardees) traveled to Ghana along with several other UNH students. Global Brigades is the world's largest student-led heatlth and development organization.

Jenny Jing (Biomedical Science '13) presented her research, "An Investigation of the Chemical Phenotype and Genotype of Alveolar Macrophage from Mice Sensitized to Ovalbumin and Fed Dietary Fatty Acids that Vary in N-6 and N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids" at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Wisconsin.

Neil Baroody's research on barefoot running (SURF 2012) was featured in UNH Today. Watch Neil's video on barefoot running. (Produced by UNH Video Productions)

The research of Hannah Lawrence (Political Science & Justice Studies '13) was featured in UNH Today. Hannah traveled to Egypt in the summer of 2012 with the support of an International Research Opportunities Program grant.

The research projects of Amy Beliveau ('10),  Hillary Christopher (Anthropology '13), Kayla O'Meara ('12), and Jillian Smith ('12) were featured in the UNH Magazine.

The research of Jenny Jing (Biomedical Science '13) was featured in UNH Today. Jing received a 2012 Research Presentation Grant from the Hamel Center to attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Weber State University in Utah, where she presented her work on “Assaying Anthocyanin Pigment Composition in Strawberry Fruit.”

The research of Jackie Amante, a senior environmental science major who traveled to Sweden with the support of an IROP grant, was featured in the UNH Magazine

UNH Today published an article about music performance major Chris Foss, who conducted research with the support of a SURF grant in 2011, and later traveled to Italy with an IROP grant.

The UNH Magazine featured the research of IROP recipient Brett Gallo, a music theory major who studied drumming in Ghana during the summer of 2011.

John DeGennaro (REAP 2011) traveled to Belize to conduct archaeological field research. Read about it in UNH Today.

Anthropology student Kendra Hanlon (SURF 2011) studied the Mardi Gras Indians in post-Katrina New Orleans and her research was featured on UNH Today.

The summer 2011 research of senior occupational therapy major and McNair scholar Amy Ma (SURF 2010, 2011) was featured on the UNH website. Read about Amy's 2010 research project in Inquiry.

Awards and Scholarships

Katherine Austin
Katherine Austin

Katherine Austin (Bioengineering, SURF 2021 & 2022) has been awarded a Science, Math and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship from the Department of Defense. SMART scholarships are awarded to undergraduate or graduate students in STEM-related fields and include full tuition, an annual stipend, summer research internships and employment placement within the Department of Defense after graduation.
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Eli Duggan (Bioengineering, REAP 2020) and Emily Pratt (Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cellular Biology, SURF 2021) have been named 2022 Goldwater Scholars. These prestigious awards go to STEM students who intend to pursue a PhD and a research-focused career.
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Grace Roy (REAP 2019), a health management and policy major, has been named a Truman Scholar for her work in substance misuse. This award is given to undergraduates seeking a career in public service.
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Sam Mercer (REAP 2020, SURF 2021), a chemical engineering major, has been named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar. This prestigious STEM scholarship for undergraduates aims to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of  becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders.
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Seth Drahusz (SURF 2020), a chemical engineering major, has won the 2021 UNH Chemical Safety Award for his outstanding contributions to chemical safety at UNH in the past academic year. These contributions help promote a culture of safety within the UNH research and teaching community. 

Alana Gudinas (SURF 2018, IROP 2019), a physics major who graduates in May 2020, has received the University Women's Award, which goes to to that woman who shows the greatest promise through character, scholarship, leadership and usefulness to humanity. 

Audrey Coleman (REAP 2018) and Alyssa Greig (REAP 2018) have both received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, awarded to students who plan for a career in research. Audrey, a physics major, hopes to someday conduct research at NASA (where she completed an internship last summer) and Alyssa, a biomedical science major, plans to focus on infectious diseases.
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Brianna McGrath (SURF Abroad 2019) received the best student poster award at the Dartmouth CO-OP Northern New England Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) conference. She presented her research on professional nurse-led clinics that provide primary health care services to communities in South Africa. Brianna's research also has been accepted for presentation at the Eastern Nursing Research Society conference in late March, as well as the Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Posters on the Hill” session in April.  At this event, Members of Congress learn about the importance of undergraduate research through talking directly with the student researchers involved in these programs.

Nooran Alhamdan (IROP 2019) received the prestigious Truman Scholarship,  awarded to undergraduates seeking a career in public service. Alhamdan is the only the fourth student in UNH history to receive the award.

Sawyer Cawthern (REAP 2018, SURF USA 2019), a chemistry major, and Alana Gudinas (SURF USA 2018, IROP 2019), a physics major, have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships.  Goldwater is viewed as the premier scholarship for sophomore and junior STEM students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. and have a career in research.
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Mariah Arral (SURF 2016), a chemical engineering student who graduated in May 2018, received a  National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program award to help fund her research at Carnegie Mellon University in the fall.

Rory O'Neil (REAP 2017), a political science and international affairs dual major with minors in Middle Eastern and security studies, has been named a Gilman Scholar. She will spend the summer in Amman, Jordan, at the CIEE Study Center as part of the Arabic Summer Intensive language and cultural immersion program.
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Lorenzo Milani (SURF 2017), a chemical engineering major who graduated in May 2018, has received a full scholarship to MIT for graduate school. Read more in UNH Today.

Tyler Chapman (REAP 2015, IROP 2017) and Jackie Gilbert (IROP 2016) have been named 2018 Fulbright Scholars.  Tyler will work with the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics at the University of Oslo, Norway. Jackie will conduct anthropology research in Bolivia and Colombia. Read more about all the 2018 UNH Fulbright Scholars in UNH Today.

Luke Daly (SURF 2016, IROP 2017), a biomedical science major, received a Marble Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year.  The Marble Scholars is a prestigious scholarship program created through the estate gift of Marilynn K. Rumley, a UNH alumna who graduated in 1952. The Marble Scholars will serve as ambassadors for the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and help to carry on Miss Rumley's legacy of mentorship and commitment to education and exploration. 

Garrett Thompson (SURF 2015, IROP 2016), a biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology major, received a Fulbright scholarship to study the effects of community paramedicine at the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, England.  Read more in the July 13, 2017 issue of UNH Today.  Garrett also recently won the the Analytical Methods Poster Prize at the Electrochem 2016 Conference in the UK. Read more in UNH Today and on The Center for International Education and Global Engagement website.

Molly Hartley (REAP 2014, URA 2014 & 2015, SURF USA 2015 & 2016), a biomedical sciences: medical microbiology major from Hampton, NH, has received an honorable mention in the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate award for science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) majors. Hartley works with David Plachetzki, assistant professor of molecular, cellular, and biomedical sciences, on polymodal sensory neurons, which combine taste and light reception in a single cell. Her longterm plans are to pursue a PhD in biomedical sciences and conduct research on human sensory physiology.

Emily Van Gulick (SURF 2015, 2016), a marine, estuary, and freshwater biology major from North Wales, PA, has received an honorable mention in the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate award for science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) majors. Van Gulick has been conducting research in the lab of Stacia Sower, professor of molecular, cellular, and biomedical sciences, on reproductive neuroendocrinology in the sea lamprey. She also spent the summer of 2014 in Gulfport, MS, at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and conducted research in New Zealand through the EcoQuest program. Van Gulick’s career goals include earning a PhD in biochemistry and conducting biomedical research with a focus in marine biology for translational medical applications.

Paige Clarizia (SURF 2014) has received a Fulbright grant. She will conduct research on spatiotemporal variability as a result of climate change in southern Sweden, a project she worked on in 2014 as part of a National Science Foundation-funded Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates program directed by Earth sciences professor Ruth Varner. The research will build on Clarizia’s earlier work with the program that focused on manual greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands.

Cody FitzGerald (REAP 2013) was offered a Fulbright grant to Finland but has declined the award so that he may enter the Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of Utah. Read more about the record number of UNH students who received Fulbrights this year.

Crystal Napoli, a history and justice studies dual major who received a REAP grant in 2015, has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship. 
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English and International Affairs major Hannah Drake (REAP '13, SURF USA '14) has been named a 2016 Liberal Arts Student Fellow.  The Fellows program is intended to recognize fine achievement at UNH and provide a way for students to serve the University in their final year of study.
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Herbie Smith, Physics ‘15 (REAP 2012, URA 2013) has just been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  The Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of support for “outstanding” graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science and engineering.  Herbie plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin for graduate school. In addition to the fellowship, Herbie also received a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship, an award given to college students who intend to pursue research careers in science, math, and engineering. Read more about Herbie's NSF Fellowship.

The following Hamel Center students earned awards at UNH's Parents Association Undergraduate Research Symposium (PAURS) at the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference.

  • Patricia Levesque, Psychology (SURF 2014)
  • Ashley MacPherson, Psychology (Honors Thesis Grant 2014-15)
  • Sarah Piet, Biochemistry: Molecular & Cellular Biology (REAP 2014)
  • Laura Van Beaver, Neuroscience & Behavior (SURF 2014)
  • Nicole Petersen, Biochemistry: Molecular & Cellular Biology (SURF 2014)
  • Molly Ohman, Occupational Therapy (SURF 2014)

Several Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research students were recognized in the 2015 UNH Student Awards. They include:

  • Jennifer G. Allen, COLSA , Fall 2014 URA, University Women's Award
  • Shujie Hou, CEPS, SURF USA 2014,  Erskine Mason Award
  • Timothy J. Marquis, COLSA,  REAP & (2) URA, COLSA, UNH Award of Excellence
  • Cory E. McKenzie, COLA , 2011 REAP, 2012 SURF,  2013 IROP, Hood Achievement Prize
  • Bryan W. Merrill, COLA , REAP 2012, Jere A. Chase Service Award 
  • Hannah M. WallerCOLA, 2014 IROP, UNH Award of Excellence

Sonja Pape (SURF USA 2013) was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which will support her graduate work at North Carolina State University following graduation from UNH. For her SURF project, Sonja researched different ways to add more recycled asphalt to pavement. She graduated from UNH in May 2014 with a degree in civil engineering.
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Cory McKenzie (REAP 2011, SURF USA 2012, IROP 2013) received a critical language scholarship through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to participate in an intensive language program in Japan. He graduated in May 2014 with majors in history, philosophy, and classics.
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The UNH Student Awards Committee recently announced the recipients of the 2014 UNH Student Awards. They include Annie Crossman (SURF 2013) who received the Erskine Mason Award, which goes "to that senior who is distinguished for most consistent progress and achievement"; Christine Hebert (IROP 2013), who received the UNH Award of Excellence, which recognizes "excellence in leadership, scholarship, and citizenship"; and Jennifer Lindsay (IROP 2013), who received the Class of 1899 Prize, which goes "to that senior who has developed the highest ideals of good citizenship during his or her course of study."

Three former HCUR awardees, all of whom began their undergraduate research careers with REAP awards as freshmen, have won prestigious Goldwater scholarships. They include Timothy James Marquis (Biomedical Science '15), who plans to pursue a M.D./Ph.D. in oncology and "aspires to teach medical interns and conduct research through applied clinical studies at a cancer institution";  Avery Normandin (Biomedical Science '15) who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical science and "conduct research in vaccine design to enhance immunity against infectious viral agents"; and Herbie Lamar Smith (Physics '15) who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, conduct research in theoretical high energy particle physics and quantum gravity, and teach at the university level.
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Christine Hebert (IROP 2013) and Abigail Van Note (REAP 2012) have been named Marble Scholars for the 2013-2014 academic year. This prestigious new award is being given to students in the College for Life Sciences and Agriculture, for the purpose of serving as ambassadors for the college. Both students received grants from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research; Christine recently traveled to France to conduct cancer research, while Abigail studied genetics at the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies at UNH. Read more >>  

Katie Kozacka (Biochemistry ’13) has received the University Women's Award, which is given to “that senior woman who shows the greatest promise through character, scholarship, leadership and usefulness to humanity." Katie completed two projects with funding from The Hamel Center: A SURF grant to study “Proteomic Analysis of Binding Interactions between PDE6 and its Inhibitory Subunit”; and a URA to study “Proteomic Analysis of Binding Interactions between Transducin and PDE6.” Her mentor was Richard Cote.

Joshua Chabot, Michael Johnson, and Joseph Kelley (mechanical engineering majors who received a group URA in fall 2012) recently won the prize for best mechanical engineering project at the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Symposium. Their mentor was Professor May-Win Thein.
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Merhawi Wells-Bogue (Journalism ’13) has received the UNH Award of Excellence. This award recognizes “excellence in leadership, scholarship, and citizenship" and is given at the discretion of the Student Awards Committee. Merhawi traveled to Ethiopia in summer 2012 with funding from a SURF Abroad grant to complete his project entitled “The Role of Governmental and Non-governmental Organizations in Addressing the Needs of Street Children: The Case in Mekelle City, Ethiopia.” He recently published a research article in Inquiry and was featured in UNH Today. His mentor was Lisa C. Miller.

Cory McKenzie (REAP 2011, SURF 2012, IROP 2013) and Brianna Smith (SURF 2012) have received B. Thomas Trout Scholarships from the College of Liberal Arts to support their upcoming study abroad experiences. Brianna, a fine arts and psychology double major, will be studying art in the UNH-in-Italy summer program. A history and philosophy double major, Cory will be studying Roman architecture and history in the Rome January Term program (2014).

Alexa Price, a history major who received URAs from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research in 2011 and 2012, has been awarded a B.Thomas Trout Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. This scholarship will fund her participation in UNH's Cambridge Summer Program in England.
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2011 IROPer George Adams (Music/Liberal Studies '12) received the Erskine Mason Award, which goes to “that senior who is distinguished for most consistent progress and achievement.” George has progressed from McNair student to winner of a Ph.D. fellowship from U. of Chicago, and recently represented our current undergraduate researchers at our 25th Anniversary celebration in April.

SURF Abroad alum Meagan Wengrove (B.A., UNH; MA, UNH: Water Engineering) has won the Fulbright to the Netherlands to work on a flood risk assessment project. She conducted her SURF research, "Storm Water Management and Analysis of the Boquerón Refuge," in Puerto Rico in 2009.
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Brian McConnell, a chemical enginnering major who received a REAP grant in 2010 and a SURF grant in 2011, has won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Awarded to 300 students nationwide annually, it is the most prestigious award in the country conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences. McConnell also received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Undergraduate Research Opportunity Fellowship in 2011. His research at UNH focuses on producing biodiesel from microalgae.

Three graduating Hamel Center students are being recognized with 2012 UNH Student Awards:

Dean Williamson Award: Kathryn Early (IROP)
"To that senior who has been outstanding and well-rounded in extracurricular activities, scholarship, athletics, and loyalty to the University."

Erskine Mason Award: George Adams (SURF USA, IROP)
"To that senior who is distinguished for most consistent progress and achievement."

UNH Award of Excellence:  Katherine E. Lantz (SURF USA, URA)
"To recognize excellence in leadership, scholarship, and citizenship."

Sasa Tang (IROP '10) recently received the 2011 University Women's Award, which is given to "that senior woman who shows the greatest promise through character, scholarship, leadership, and usefulness to humanity." She also was chosen by the Council On Undergraduate Research (CUR) to present her IROP research on nongovernmental organizations and their interactions with the Tanzanian government at Posters on the Hill, an annual event held on Capitol Hill.

With the support of Research Presentation Grants, UNH students Gina Chaput (Genetics, '13), Kyle Charmanski (Mechanical Engineering, '12), and Brian McConnell (Chemical Engineering, '13) recently presented their research at the 14th annual Energy, Utility and Environment Conference (EUEC) in Phoenix, Arizona. All three students were mentored by Professor Ihab Farag in the chemical engineering department. Gina Chaput's research, "Utilization of Waste Water for Microalgae Oil Feedstock," was conducted during her participation in INCO 590 and with the support of an Undergraduate Research Award (URA). Presenting alongside Gina was Kyle Charmanski, who was her research partner for INCO 590. Brian McConnell's research, "Microalgae Growth and Oil Production in Freshwater vs. Wastewater," was funded by the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP). Also presenting was Zlatan Zuka (Chemical Engineering, '12) , a McNair fellow who worked alongside Brian McConnell in the lab.

Alumni News

Molly Jacobson at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.

Molly Jacobson

Recent graduate and biochemistry, molecular & cellular biology major Daniel DiRocco (SURF 2019) will head to the University of Michigan this fall to begin a Ph.D. in chemistry. Learn more about the research he conducted while at UNH and the research he will pursue at Michigan in UNH Today.

Marisa Rafal (URA 2018), a human development and family studies major who graduated in May 2019, recently established the New Hampshire Toy Library Network. Read more in UNH Today.

Jackson Kaspari (SURF 2017, URA 2018), a chemical engineering major who graduated in May 2018, was featured in UNH Today. Now a Sustainability Fellow and pursuing a doctorate at UNH, Jackson recently helped Dover conduct the first combined municipal carbon and nitrogen footprint assessment for any local government in the U.S. Read more in UNH Today.

Mariah Arral (SURF 2016), a chemical engineering major who graduated in May 2018 and heads to Carnegie Mellon University for grad school in the fall, discusses her career goals in UNH Today.

Rebecca Daniels (SURF 2015) recently published an article about her undergraduate research in the journal of Human Movement Science. Read more >>

Molly Jacobson (SURF 2016) is serving as the piping plover intern at Rachel Carson National Wildflife Refuge this summer. Read more in UNH Today.

Cory McKenzie (History, Philosophy, and Classics, ’15), who completed REAP, SURF and IROP projects funded by the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, has been named a fellow in the Junior Fellows Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Meagan Wengrove (SURF Abroad, 2009) won a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the US Department of Defense. Read more in UNH Today.

Jen Lindsay (IROP 2013) and Sasa Tang (IROP 2010) are among the recipients of 2015 Fulbright grants.

Vikki Rodgers ('99), who completed a SURF project titled “Quantification of Cytological Damage in Red Spruce Needles in a Central NH Forest at Different Elevations,” recently won the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence at Babson College, where she has taught environmental science since 2007.  Read an article about Vikki in UNH Today.

UNH alumna Amanda Dibble ('10) has returned to Guatemala to work with a nongovernmental organization (NGO) called ProPetén. Amanda first traveled to Guatemala the year between her senior year in high school and freshman year at UNH, and conducted research there with a SURF Abroad grant in 2008.

Jackie Lewis recently returned to Rwanda.

Three UNH alums recently published commentaries about their research experiences in Inquiry.

Where are they now? Learn about the first group of students whose research was funded by the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research in 1988. Read more in the UNH Magazine.