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Meet our Team

For general inquiries, contact Also learn about our team of Undergraduate Research Leaders (URLs) who conduct outreach with the Office of Undergraduate Research and are available to share their experiences with other undergraduates.

Sophie Pierszalowski

Sophie (she/her) serves as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. 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 the Office of Undergraduate Research, 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 recent publication, which highlights key strategies for building a more equitable and inclusive office of undergraduate research.

Click here to read Sophie’s recent publication, which explores barriers to accessing undergraduate research for STEM students and problematizes the lack of research on barriers specifically for Students of Color.

Click here to read Sophie’s recent publication, which explores one effective strategy for strengthening and supporting a large number of diverse undergraduate research programs at a research-intensive university.

Chelsea Navarro

Chelsea Navarro Assistant Director Office of Undergraduate ResearchChelsea (she/her) is the Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. She received her M.Ed. in Student Affairs from the University of California Los Angeles and completed her B.A. in Sociology from San Diego State University. She is a proud first-generation college student, community college transfer student, and Chicana educator. Prior to joining the Office of Undergraduate Research, Chelsea held leadership positions in Residence Life at Cal Poly Pomona and worked as an academic adviser at the Foster School of Business and Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington-Seattle. Throughout her career in higher education, she has remained committed to her passion for student success by providing resources, mentorship, and opportunities for students to engage in transformative educational experiences.


Allison Perez

Allison PerezAllison is the Program Manager of the Office of Undergraduate Research. She received her B.S. in BioResource Research with a focus in Toxicology and Chemistry at Oregon State University (OSU). She discovered her interest in environmental toxicology through a summer undergraduate research program where she studied the health effects of air pollution. At OSU, Allison worked as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts, where she became passionate about the importance of mentorship and creating equitable access to research opportunities. Her commitments to educational equity and decolonization drive her work here and in her personal life. Prior to joining the Office of Undergraduate Research, she served as an Americorps member with College Possible in Portland, OR, where she mentored low-income and first generation high school students through the college application process.


Ruby Barone

Ruby (she/her) is a Program Coordinator & Advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Research. She received her B.A. in Art History and Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington. Her research as an undergraduate was sparked by her participation in the Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH), where she completed a formal project which investigated the intersection between art and language through an interdisciplinary and accessibility-focused lens. This project informed her undergraduate thesis on conceptualizing new ways to interact and coexist with art. She is excited to bring these experiences to her position with the Office of Undergraduate Research as she continues to advocate for diversity and accessibility in UW’s research community. Prior to joining the Office of Undergraduate Research, she served as the program assistant to the UW’s Mary Gates Endowment for Students (MGE), where she gained valuable insight on funding and supporting undergraduate research and leadership endeavors.


Ethan R. Ankrum

Ethan AnkrumEthan (he/him) is a Program Coordinator & Advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Research. He received his B.A. in Business, Marketing, and Communication Studies from Buena Vista University (BVU). During his undergraduate experience, Ethan was exposed to a first-of-its-kind lab at BVU focused on middle grade knowledge and literacy of rural, non-English speaking students, with a focus on inference-making. The research is funded by a 2R15 grant through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This has resulted in multiple co-authorships and presentations both nationally and internationally. This experience fueled Ethan to step into an IRB and IBC reviewer role with Creighton University in Omaha, NE, where he spent time reviewing human subject and biohazardous material usage applications for quality improvement and minimal risk. He then moved into a role with the university’s center for undergraduate research and scholarship as a program manager.

Barth, A., Daniel, J. Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Barnes, M. A., Ankrum, E. R., Kincaid, H. (2021).The role of knowledge availability in forming inferences with rural middle grade English learners. Learning and Individual Differences, 88.

Barth, A., Ankrum, E. R., Thomas, C. (2023). Inference instruction for students with reading disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly. (in production).

Barth, A., Thomas, C., Kincaid, H., Ankrum, E. R. (2022). Error patterns in the knowledge-based inference-making of less skilled middle-grade readers: An exploratory study. International Journal of Research in Learning Disabilities, 5(2): 18-35.

Daniel, J., Barth, A., Ankrum, E. R. (2023). Multicomponent reading intervention: A practitioner’s guide. The Reading Teacher. DOI: 10.1002/trtr.2265 (in production).

Barth, A., Daniel, J., Vaughn, S. R., Ankrum, E. R. The role of knowledge availability and accessibility in forming inferences among rural, at-risk, English learners. (in production).

Sophie Higdon

Sophie (she/her) is a Graduate Staff Assistant for the Office of Undergraduate Research. She is in her second year as a Master of Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership candidate at UW. She attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan for her undergraduate degree where she received her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology/Sociology. She also studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, studying Positive Psychology and Urban Planning. Her undergraduate thesis centered around the importance of play for people of all ages and how important it is to design play spaces into the fabric of cities. She is excited to continue working with the Office of Undergraduate Research to advance the mission of making undergraduate experiential opportunities equitable and accessible to all students regardless of background, interest, or previous experiences. Sophie is passionate about educational equity, getting outside, and the power of human connectedness.

Jenny Kim

Jenny KimJenny (she/her) is a Graduate Staff Assistant for the Office of Undergraduate Research. She is currently a second year UW Master of Public Health student in the Health Systems and Population Health program with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Science. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Whitman College where she conducted research on the impact of racial diversity on social cognitive processes related to attitudes, behaviors, and categorization. Currently, she conducts community-based research at the UW Health Promotion Research Center. Her master’s thesis involves the development, implementation, and evaluation of a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program culturally and linguistically adapted for older Korean Americans with depression. Jenny is also passionate about the power of mentorship in reducing barriers to research/internship opportunities for underrepresented students.