Undergraduate Research Program


Janice DeCosmo profile picJanice DeCosmo

Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Research;
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs

In addition to her role with URP, Janice is also an affiliate faculty member in the UW’s department of Earth and Space Sciences, having earned a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 specializing in atmosphere-ocean interaction. She has taught science at all grade levels from kindergarten through university, and more recently has focused on helping university faculty find ways to include undergraduates in their research and to integrate research into their teaching. Janice became director of URP in 2000. She is the campus representative and an elected councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and an elected member of the board of governors of the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Her UW responsibilities include oversight of the Mary Gates Endowment for Students and providing leadership to the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity.

Sophie Pierszalowski

Director, Undergraduate Research Program

Sophie serves as Director of the Undergraduate Research Program. She received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Oregon State University (OSU), where her dissertation examined potential barriers to accessing undergraduate research experiences, including systemic and structural inequities that perpetuate opportunity gaps. Before joining URP, Sophie worked at OSU, first coordinating the OSU STEM Leaders Program and then later serving as Associate Director of OSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts. Prior to pivoting to a career in student success, Sophie studied marine ecology and used molecular genetics and demographics to investigate long-standing questions regarding the ecology and population structure of humpback whales in the North Pacific. She received her M.Sc. in Wildlife Science from OSU. Her passion for marine mammals and molecular genetics began with an undergraduate research experience while completing her B.S. in Biology and Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at UW.

Click here to read Sophie’s most recent publication, which highlights key strategies for building a more equitable and inclusive office of undergraduate research.

Juandalyn BurkeJuandalyn Burke

Graduate Staff Assistant, Undergraduate Research Program

Juandalyn is a doctoral student in the Biomedical and Health Informatics program in the department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education. Her research focuses on infectious disease, specifically HIV, drug resistance and network-based modeling.  Her work aims to use pharmacogenomic data to model HIV-drug resistance dynamics in areas of sub-Saharan Africa.  Additionally, her work involves creating a computer-based simulation of an antiretroviral treatment optimization routine that assists in finding new strategies to reduce HIV-drug resistance in the population. Juandalyn’s research interests evolved from her experiences as an undergraduate conducting research on the bioremediation of acid mine drainage in coal mining sites using a predictive neural network-based decision support system. With both a love for research, and a rich background in science, technology, and math, Juandalyn hopes to help guide undergraduate students on their prospective paths at UW and beyond.

Pavithra Sundaravaradan

Staff Intern, Undergraduate Research Program


Pavithra is a sophomore majoring in Microbiology at the University of Washington. Her research interests include utilizing bioinformatics and wet lab techniques to better understand and tackle human disease. She is currently working on investigating organismal metabolic pathways of iron regulation during helminth infection following Type 2 immune response. She is also applying bioinformatics to analyze NGS data to better understand the Notch signaling pathway and its effects on basophil responses. Pavithra is also very passionate about promoting and advocating for women’s empowerment and equality.

Undergraduate Staff smilingJeamel Alday

Undergraduate Staff Assistant, Undergraduate Research Program

Jeamel is currently a Senior and is majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Diversity. He has been involved with EXPD when he first started attending UW as a Freshman in 2017 working as one of their front desk staff. He has also taken a part of Literacy Arts ASB with the Riverways Education Partnerships Rural and Tribal Programs where he worked with k-12 students.