Recipients of the 2024 URSCA Grants Announced

The Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (URSCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 URSCA Awards. These awards provide funding and support to undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences who wish to pursue independent, student-designed research projects over the course of the one-year grant period (summer 2024 through spring 2025). URSCA awards several different grants and scholarships for research and creative activity across all disciplines of the Krieger School. Each awardee works with a faculty mentor in their discipline, and with research mentors in the URSCA office.

Below is the list of this year’s URSCA Awardees and their project titles.

Dean’s ASPIRE Grant

The Dean’s ASPIRE Grants (Arts and Sciences Projects, Investigations, and Research Endeavors) are designed to promote independent research projects among our exceptional undergraduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS). These awards, which range from $500 to $5,000, enable undergraduates in KSAS to pursue original research, work closely with a Hopkins faculty mentor, and advance knowledge for the world.

Armaan Ahmed ’26, “Computational study of a de novo protein that phase separates in vivo into liquid and crystal states”

Daniel Ballinas ’26, “Effect of Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels on Vestibular Nerve Responses to Fast Head Movements”

Andrew Cavanagh ’26, “Development of an Intranasal Treatment for Neonatal Brain Injury with LM11A-31”

Alicia Guevara ’25, “Mapping Polo-like kinase-dependent phosphorylation sites in C. elegans”

Arman Kian ’26, “Regulation of the Oxidative Stress Response by Small RNAs in Archaea”

Yash Lal ’26, “Graph Neural Networks to Predict Ablation Targets for Computationally Driven Atrial Fibrillation Therapy”

Janero Li ’26, “The Irrational Plurality: Fernando Pessoa’s Internal Multiplicity and the Loss of the Individual in Surreality”

Lillian Liu ’26, “A Road of Her Own: Women Travelers of the 1940s”

Sandy Monter-Casio ’26, “Latino Experiences at Hopkins: A Digital Library”

Sidney Rucker ’26, “African Americans and the Environment: The Influence of Capitalism on the Development of Public Health Issues and Interventions During The Great Migration (1910-1970)”

Joshua Seewald ’26, “Understanding Visual Distractions with Alpha Brain Waves”

Yvette Shu ’27, “Media Perspectives of Populism: An Examination of Rhetoric Around Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Presidential Campaign”

Mingyuan Song ’25, “Postpartum depression in carceral settings: improving access despite inequity”

Ginger Trask ’25, “Vahine Tahiti: the Tug of War of Culture and Clothes.”

Albstein Research Scholarship

The Albstein Research Scholarship (up to $5,000) is open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing intensive research in brain science, especially Alzheimer’s research.

Margery Chen ’25, “Develop Cryptic Peptide ACTL6B as a CSF Biomarker of TDP-43 Loss of Function”

Joey Chan ’24, “Algorithm development for translating 2D In Vivo Imaging System (IVIS) scans to 3D models of brain tumors to create a longitudinal analysis for drug efficiency studies”

Weng I Leong ’26, “Novel Behavioral Task for Self-Control on Human Subjects”

Adam Luo ’24, “Baby, it’s cold…inside that tumor: B7-H3/CD276 and immunotherapy resistance in glioblastoma”

Vicky Zhu ’26, “Smell, sound, space: olfactory-auditory integration and spatial information processing in the lateral entorhinal cortex in aging and cognitive decline”

Bander Family Fund Award

The Bander Family Fund Award is intended to encourage students to think creatively in defining work that can only be done outside the classroom. The work may be independent research, a creative venture, or an internship directly related to a field of study.

Yara Levin ’26, “Exploring Queer and Environmental Futures through a Jewish Science Fiction Novella”

John Camp and Mindy Farber ’74 Endowed Award

The John Camp and Mindy Farber ’74 Endowed Award (approximately $4000) was created to support undergraduates conducting research in brain science, with preference given to students performing research related to brain cancers.

Jordyn Craig-Schwartz ’25, “Modulating the Epigenome Synergistically to Induce Interferon Signaling in Diffuse Midline Gliom”

Phares Family Grant for International Engagement

The Phares Family Grant for International Engagement is a $7,000 award. Preference is given to rising juniors and seniors who are unable to study abroad during the academic year, and who plan to travel abroad for a period of a minimum of two weeks for an independent research study that will enhance their overall undergraduate experience. 

Adam Xia ’25, “Besiege of Capitalism: How outside Capitalism Cripples Zhoujiazhuang’s Socialist Economic Development through Deindustrialization”

Jeffrey Ma Shiu and Emily Liu Endowed ASPIRE Award

The Jeffrey Ma Shiu & Emily Liu Endowed ASPIRE Award (Arts and Sciences Projects, Investigations, and Research Endeavors) is designed to promote exploration among exceptional undergraduate students in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences who are determined to pursue original research in the brain sciences, especially in areas related to developmental and behavioral psychology in children. 

Karen Linares Mendoza ’26, “The Impact of Functional and Social Motor Imitation on the Development of Social Communication in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders”

Rebecca Xu ’26, “Toward a Clinical Trial in Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome: Designing a Cognitive Outcome Measure”

Meg Walsh Award

The Second Decade Society/Florence “Meg” Long Walsh Leadership Award provides a graduating senior from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences with $32,000 to undertake an independent project of his or her own unique design involving international travel.

Daniel Park ’24, “Exploring Prevalence and Psychiatric Factors for OCD and Related Disorders in a
Japanese Population”