CURAS Ambassadors

In Their Own Words

"Research adds color to any big picture of what I'm reading in a textbook, filling in the blanks and adding real-life experiences and observations. Research has helped me not just accept what I'm learning, but challenge it as well."

Abby Laudi, Class of 2018

CURAS Ambassadors

Our ambassadors are leaders in undergraduate research who support and enhance the work of CURAS. They mentor students in undergraduate research, staff CURAS and Admissions events, participate in panel discussions, and visit classes to talk about undergraduate research. In addition, they host the annual All-University Research Fair and Research Day events.

Undergraduate student applicants must be nominated by a faculty member and must be actively involved in a research project for at least 6 months before applying to be a CURAS Ambassador. CURAS is looking for undergraduate research students from all disciplines. For research-related costs, CURAS Student Ambassadors receive a $250 stipend.


Alisha Baginski

Alisha is a senior from Omaha, Nebraska. She is a history major with a digital humanities minor. Her research is focused on female explorer Isabella Bird and her influences on female travel in the 1800s and the insights the female perspective provides on the settlement of the Western United States. This research brought her to Scotland in Summer 2017. After graduation, Alisha hopes to pursue a graduate degree and work in a museum.

Hannah Botkin

Hannah is a junior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa studying neuroscience. Her research at Creighton is in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology under Dr. Drescher. Hannah hopes to attend medical school after graduating from Creighton.

Maddie Eyer

Maddie is a senior psychology major from Duluth, MN. She is currently working on three different projects focused on the effectiveness of a sex offender treatment program in Omaha and Iowa. After graduation, Maddie plans to attend a doctoral program in clinical psychology.

John Fleegel

My name is John Fleegel. I am a senior from St. Cloud, Minnesota. At Creighton I am studying neuroscience and biology with the intention to pursue a career in medicine. I have been involved in a few different research projects including the effect of vitamin D on intimal hyperplasia in coronary vessels, and the effect of vitamin D in the modulation of DNA damage in the skin. Currently, I am working with Mr. Joe Abdo, investigating the pathogenesis of esophageal adenocarcinoma. All of my academic investigation has been supported by Dr. Devendra Agrawal. I look forward to meeting and working with you!

Heidi Klem

Heidi is an Omaha native majoring in chemistry. Her current research projects include a kinetic investigation of natural products and extracts with the glmS ribozyme, the development of a high-throughput in vitro glmS cleavage assay using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay, and a bioinformatics project focusing on sequence alignment. She aspires to teach at the collegiate level and plans to pursue a Ph.D in physical chemistry.

Abigail Laudi

Abby is a psychology pre-medical student hoping to pursue a career in pediatrics and global medicine. Her current research at Creighton is in the realm of social and exercise psychology, and her most recent project focuses on the cognitive benefits of physical exercise. Abby also recently conducted an independent research project studying the facilitators and barriers of HIV testing and treatment in Uganda.

Linden Loutzenhiser

Linden is from Louisville, CO and is a senior psychology major who is especially interested in forensic aspects of psychology. During her time at Creighton she has become involved in research focused on sex offender risk factors and treatment success. Linden hopes to continue her education after leaving Creighton by pursuing her doctorate in clinical/forensic psychology.

Kathleen Marinelli

Kathleen is a senior from Medicine Lake, Minnesota. She is a biology major with an Italian minor. She is involved in both biochemistry and translational research. Her biochemistry research analyzes the glmS riboswitch and its utility as a potential antibiotic target. Her translational research analyzes radiographic findings and their correlation with clinical impression of disease activity in large vessel vasculitis. She hopes to attend medical school after graduation to pursue a career in translational science

Ben Merrill

Ben is a senior from Ankeny, Iowa double majoring in medical anthropology and psychology with a public health concentration. He has done neuropsychology research focused on developing treatments for PTSD, and currently works as an assistant on a CGI grant investigating the process of developing cultural competency in patient-centered care. His own research interests lie at the intersections of indigenous health, substance abuse, ethnobotany, and experiences of consciousness. Having traveled to Haiti, Hawaii, and the Philippines through a Creighton program which placed great emphasis on immersion in the field, Ben plans to pursue an MPH/Ph.D. in Applied Medical or Cognitive Anthropology following his graduation.

Gunnar Nelson

Gunnar Nelson is from St. Paul, Minnesota and is a junior physics and energy science double-major. He researches under Dr. Andrew Baruth on block-polymer nanolithography, a field with great potential applications from electronics to bio-technology. After Creighton, he hopes to continue to a graduate program and pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Science. He wishes to work in industry and possibly apply for a job in academia later on.

Tyler Nelson

Tyler is a senior English major from Fargo, North Dakota. Since his sophomore year, he has served as an editorial assistant in the Center for Henry James Studies, where he works to transcribe and annotate the American author’s personal correspondence. After graduation, Tyler plans to attend graduate school and continue his study of American life and literature.

Lauren Netzel

Lauren is from Madison, Wisconsin and is double-majoring in neuroscience and psychology. Her current research, under Drs. Tim and Kristina Simeone of the Creighton School of Medicine Pharmacology Department, involves examining the role of the ketogenic diet and its effectiveness for treating epilepsy. She is currently looking into the relationship between bradycardia and apnea with seizure activity, and the mechanisms behind these processes. Lauren aspires to complete a PhD in clinical psychology and start her own neurofeedback practice.

Femi Oladokun

Femi is a senior from Ibadan, Nigeria studying biology and studio art on the pre-med track. He has spent the last year working in the biophysical optics research group under Dr. Nichols, investigating the changes in the mechanical properties of human lymphoma cells when exposed to certain chemotherapeutic drugs. After college, Femi intends to go to medical school while continuing research as an MD/PhD.

Kenzie Pavlik

Kenzie is from Coon Rapids, MN and a senior communication studies and English double major. She has spent the past year on Dr. Amanda Holman’s research team, studying parent-child communication about taboo topics. After graduation, Kenzie hopes to work as a liaison between a larger corporation and potential clients, incorporating research, writing, and communicating into her daily life.

Dan Pham

Dan Pham is from Hanoi, Vietnam and is a senior double-majoring in applied physical analysis and medical mathematics. Her research in Dr. Michael Nichols' lab focuses on the potential of metabolic imaging as a technique for skin cancer detection. After graduating from Creighton, she plans to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialty in bio-optics.

Danielle Pham

Danielle is from Papillion, NE majoring in mathematics and minoring in biology and Spanish on the pre-med track. Her research consists of partial differential equations and analysis of children's fMRI data. After graduation, she plans to continue on to medical school.

Audrey Sisel

Audrey is from Alexandria, Virginia and is a history and German studies double major. In the summer of 2016, she studied the cultural and social developments of citizens in Alexandria under Union occupation during the American Civil War. She hopes to further this research in the future and is considering pursuing a Ph.D. in American history.

Sarah Snyder

Sarah is a neuroscience/Spanish on the Pre-Med track from Omaha, NE. Her research in chemistry focuses on eliciting a quantifiable light response from self-fabricated electrodes. She also is beginning a research project on José Martí's poetry and its connection to philosophy, her minor. In her free time, yoga and drinking coffee are her favorite things to do. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Sam Stoupa

Sam Stoupa is a senior biochemistry major from Omaha, Nebraska. Her work in Dr. Juliane Soukup’s lab is focused on functional RNAs and how they might be further characterized and made applicable from a biomedical standpoint. At Creighton, the Honors Program and New Student Orientation are dear to Sam’s heart. Upon graduating, she intends to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. to further narrow the gap between research and medicine.

John Sunderland

John is a junior from Coralville, Iowa, and he is double-majoring in physics and math. He has been working in Dr. Andrew Baruth's nanomaterials lab for over a year, researching the ex situ synthesis methods of sulfide thin films for photovoltaic applications. After graduation, John hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in a graduate materials science program.

Sindhuja Suresh

Sindhuja is from Omaha, NE and a senior computer science major on the pre-medical track. Her work in Dr. Ekpenyong’s lab is focused on how leukemic cancer cells respond to common chemotherapy drugs post-microgravity. In her free time, she enjoys learning and performing Indian classical dance. Sindhuja hopes to attend medical school after graduating from Creighton.

Mary Elizabeth Yeh

Mary is a senior on the pre-medical track from Honolulu, HI. She majors in neuroscience and minors in Biology, Applied Ethics, and Neuropsychology. Her research in Dr. Maya Khanna’s lab 1) uses neuroimaging data to investigate how lead affects brain development and 2) analyzes how exercise influences language-related cognitive abilities. Her work in Dr. Thomas Murray’s lab examines neural mechanisms of recovery in hippocampal stroke models. After graduation, Mary plans to enter medical school after concluding her current research through a Master’s program. She enjoys traveling, reading, and running and is an avid Harry Potter fan (Ravenclaw).

Noah Yoshida

Noah is from Omaha, NE and is a biophysics major. His research involves computational analysis of prion proteins from various mammalian species. Currently, his project aims at finding a correlation between primary residue sequence and protein stability. Noah hopes to attend medical school after graduating.