Undergraduate Research Program

Jill Kumasaka

Jill smiling on stairsMajor: Biology (Physiology)
Mentor: Jennifer Doherty, Biology

Contact: jkkuma@uw.edu

Current research project: Learning Progressions on the Development of Principle-based Reasoning in Undergraduate Physiology (LeaP UP)


I am a senior studying physiology and global health. I am particularly interested in furthering health equity across the globe and hope to contribute to this cause in the future. One of my favorite activities is exploring new cafes and coffee shops!


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I work in an education research lab that focuses on improving how students’ understanding of physiology content is evaluated. We do this in the hopes of improving physiology curriculum by better informing instructors of what their students are learning. My project focuses on discovering inequities in the computer program our lab uses to assist with evaluating student responses.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I began researching with LeaP UP in the winter of my sophomore year. When I first entered UW, I had no interest in research. I thought research only meant white lab coats, chemicals, and little human interaction. During my time at UW, I met many people with many amazing and diverse research backgrounds. I became interested and was provided the opportunity to research in education, a field I never knew existed. I am now conducting work towards a cause I truly care about and feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Just as UW hosts a huge diversity of students, so too does the research field provide a huge diversity of projects, roles, and opportunities. If you are interested in research, there is a role for you to play! You belong in research!