UROP Ambassadors

As a UROP Ambassador, you promote a culture of undergraduate research in all disciplines, expand the awareness of UROP among undergraduates, provide peer support and assistance to undergraduates, and develop communication and leadership skills. You are expected to spend an average of six hours a week. The duration of your appointment is for one year, renewable upon excellent performance. You will receive a stipend as a small token of appreciation. 

2010–2011 UROP Ambassadors

  Glovaci, Diana 
Name:  Diana Glovaci

Email:  dglovaci@uci.edu

Major:  Biological Sciences

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  Khoshnevis, Matin 
Name:  Matin Khoshnevis

Email:  mkhoshne@uci.edu

Major:  Biological Sciences

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  Modrek, Aram 
Name:  Aram Modrek

Email:  amodrek@uci.edu

Major:  Biomedical Engineering

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  Parvinjah, Shaudee 
Name:  Shaudee Parvinjah

Email:  sparvinj@uci.edu

Major:  Biological Sciences

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  Sevilla, Michael 
Name:  Michael Sevilla

Email:  masevill@uci.edu

Major:  Computer Science & Engineering

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  Shroff, Alysha 
Name:  Alysha Shroff

Email:  ashroff@uci.edu

Major:  Dance / Psychology and Social Behavior

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   Torossian, Sevan 
Name:  Sevan Torossian

Email:  storossi@uci.edu

Major: Public Health

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  Venkatesan, Anita 
Name:  Anita Venkatesan

Email:  anitav@uci.edu

Major:  Biomedical Engineering

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Diana Glovaci (Biological Sciences)

I am a fourth-year Biological Sciences major, and I have had incredible experiences over the past three years under the guidance of Professor Nathan Wong in the Cardiovascular Disease and Prevention Program. I am extremely grateful for the funding UROP provided me with an ID-SURE grant this past summer. My attraction to medicine began at a young age, and I was especially intrigued by the cardiovascular system. The anatomy, concepts, and process I observed while watching my own echocardiogram being performed sparked my interest and obsession with cardiovascular research early on. Starting out at UCI as a commuter, my fears and doubts of what lay ahead were diminished when I found UROP and such organizations as Flying Samaritans. By studying the relationship between prominent diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the risk factors associated with each, I hope that the correlations I find will make an impact on the cardiovascular research community and, more importantly, the general public. Outside of school I also work for Dr. Majed Chane at California Heart Specialists, assisting with anything from ECGs to Stress tests. During my free time, I take every opportunity I can to skateboard, snowboard, and surf like a true California girl, experience new cultures and foods, and travel wherever and whenever I can.

Matin Khoshnevis (Biological Sciences)

I've always been curious, but I was inspired by reading the book Cabinets of Curiosities by Patrick Mauries. On the back cover was this text: “Cabinets of Curiosities, or rooms of wonders, were the astonishing creation of collectors who wished to gather together everything, all knowledge—animal, vegetable, or man-made—into a single unimaginable space. An entire universe in miniature.” After reading that book, I knew that to appreciate my surroundings I had to learn about myself. So, I became a Biology major and enrolled in research. Research is my personal cabinet of curiosities, my attempt to capture slices of life and nature and collect them in one place for anyone who finds that they too are always curious. I am currently the coordinator and manager for Modulation of the Inflammatory Response to Brain Death Using Hypertonic Saline in a Porcine Model, at the UCIMC for Dr. Malinoski, Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit who is a trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist. I have also been working with Dr. Steve Cramer, a neurologist, on the Effects of Dopamine and Dopamine Receptor Polymorphisms on Experience-Dependent Plasticity in the Motor Cortex. My goal is to become a doctor and continue my research, which allows me to explore, question, and wonder; by doing so, I learn the most.

Aram Modrek (Biomedical Engineering)

If I had to save one experience from my time as an undergraduate here it would without hesitation be my research. We learn about well-established and accepted pieces of knowledge through elementary school, high school and college, but when have we had the chance to turn around and say or learn something completely new? Research is that opportunity: to learn more about something then you ever thought possible and to think about problems to which we do not yet have answers. I began research at a cancer biology laboratory, studying some of the molecular machines that are important in regulating energy production and in preventing cancerous growth. My experiences, most importantly those in the lab, have led me to pursue training as a physician scientist. The more I learned, the more exciting research became. I hope more students at UCI will get involved in research, experiencing different tastes of what their departments and schools have to offer and the universal excitement and challenges that will bring invaluable growth as a person and student.

Shaudee Parvinjah (Biological Sciences)

I am a senior biological sciences major student here at UCI. For the past two years I have had the opportunity to conduct research in Dr. Busciglio’s Neurobiology and Behavior lab where we investigate neuronal dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s syndrome. One of the most significant constraints on neurodegeneration research is the limited supply of tissue. This is why I have been working to develop an efficient cryopreservation protocol for the long-term preservation of tissue blocks that grant increased flexibility for later generation of neuronal, astrocytic and mixed cultures, as well as neuronal precursor cells in the form of floating neurospheres. This protocol can be used to facilitate a variety of neuroscience research where viable tissue supply is limited. In my spare time I like to study Eastern philosophy and practice yoga; I am also an active volunteer at the Cross Cultural Center at UCI. I am grateful for UROP because, in addition to welcoming me to the UROP Ambassadors Team and the Student Editorial Board, it has kindly supported my research by awarding me Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) fellowships in 2009 and 2010.

Michael Sevilla (Computer Science & Engineering)

I am a fourth-year Computer Science and Engineering student and I have conducted research both abroad and here at UCI. When I studied at the University of Melbourne, I was a research assistant under the guidance of Dr. Dave Newman. The goal of the project was to parse up to 200 documents automatically and use machine learning to summarize the data. Back at UCI I found a project with Dr. Ian Harris that focuses on using hardware to prevent intrusion from malicious software. The skills and confidence I gained from my research have helped steer me towards a new career and have also played a huge part in helping me secure an internship at Cisco Systems as a hardware test engineer. Aside from research, I work a couple of shifts a week as an intramural supervisor at the ARC and I try to attend as many IEEE meetings as I can. I enjoy giving surf lessons and have taken beginning salsa three times (which does not discourage me from going to salsa clubs and making a fool of myself). In comparing my two research experiences, I feel that my experience here at UCI went more smoothly because of the support and encouragement provided by UROP. As a UROP Ambassador I hope to bring research to the forefront of the UCI undergraduate experience by showing students its inherent life-changing capabilities.

Alysha Shroff (Dance, Psychology and Social Behavior)

As I begin my final year at UCI, I can already look back and be amazed at the opportunities I've been given thanks to UROP. I am a fourth-year student, pursuing majors in Dance Performance and Psychology & Social Behavior. My research experience began the summer after my sophomore year when I was given the opportunity to travel to Spain to participate in a festival focusing on improvisatory works of dance, performance, music and media, and working with professionals from each discipline. Thanks to this venture, my creative self burst by leaps and bounds helping me to see improvisation, creation and performance in a whole new way. I returned to Spain the following year, again by way of UROP and SURP, and once more worked with skilled musicians and dancers to collaborate on many new works. Over time, I found myself leading as well as learning within this artistic, group environment. As a UROP Ambassador, I am looking forward to encouraging students all over campus, especially within the Arts, to take advantage of their interests and curiosities, and put them into action through research.

Sevan Torossian (Public Health)

I became involved in research immediately after transferring to UC Irvine. I have always been curious and had realized that the same research-driven projects that I was conducting in the pursuit of financial achievements in the business world could prove to be morally fruitful when applied to my academic endeavors. I began working towards a better understanding of the structure of successful research, funding opportunities, literary scientific recognition and, most importantly, the ethical application of these methods. I feel privileged to conduct research in the Demetriou Lab under the guidance of Dr. Michael Demetriou—a medical scientist practicing neurology and specializing in Multiple Sclerosis—and Post Doctoral Fellow Ani Grigorian. Our research is concentrated on the molecular biology and glycobiology of T cell dysfunction in organ-specific autoimmunity. It is an extremely interesting field, allowing for an interdisciplinary approach to solving the mysteries of autoimmunity through the sciences of immunology, glycobiology, microbiology and molecular genetics. I feel privileged because I have been provided the opportunity to work with multifaceted professionals who have allowed me to take part in a very well respected program, which has provided me a solid foundation upon which to build my science-based career.

Anita Venkatesan (Biomedical Engineering)

I am a third-year student majoring in Biomedical Engineering: Premedical. Since the spring quarter of my second year, I have been conducting research in Dr. Krolewski’s pathology lab where I am investigating the role of death receptor signaling in the regulation of androgen withdrawal induced death. I am currently working with a growth hormone that is hypothesized to decrease FLIP protein levels within the prostate. FLIP is a regulator of prostate epithelial cell death and when present in low levels, the cell can undergo apoptosis. In the winter quarter, I will be joining a collaboration project with the Department of Electrical Engineering to develop a micro-scale Western blotting device. I will determine the device’s optimal conditions so that it can be used efficiently in a clinical setting. This device will be able to provide a more accurate method to measure the expression of protein levels related to cancer, which will help diagnose human cancers effectively. I am very appreciative of UROP for supporting my research through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Fellowship, and I hope to inspire other students to get involved in research. In addition to research, I am a board member for Spot a Spot (The Melanoma Awareness Project) and a member of the Hindi a cappella group Andaaz.