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The Office of Undergraduate Research is open, but our staff members are teleworking. We are available for student advising and meetings using Zoom, Google Hangouts, or by phone. Please continue to use our contact form to set up an appointment or email to contact our staff. We are here for you!

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About Us

The Office of Undergraduate Research enhances academic excellence through undergraduate research and creative endeavors. We connect undergraduate students who have strong and committed interests in research and creative endeavors to faculty members, programs, and research-related opportunities that are aligned with their interests.

For Undergraduate Students, the Office of Undergraduate Research:

  • offers on-campus programming (e.g., SURE), career mentoring speakers, and coordinated workshops (e.g., responsible conduct of research, preparing a scientific poster);
  • connects students with on-campus research opportunities;
  • connects students with off-campus/external research opportunities;
  • offers advice on applying for undergraduate research opportunities (on-campus and off-campus);
  • offers advice on enhancing your application for undergraduate research opportunities;
  • offers advice on finding travel funding and preparing your research for presentation;
  • connects students with opportunities to present their research (e.g., URDC and Posters on the Hill); and
  • connects student researchers with faculty.

For Faculty Mentors, the Office of Undergraduate Research:

  • connects faculty with student researchers;
  • aids faculty members in supporting undergraduate research activities;
  • provides budgetary templates and language for inclusion of undergraduate researchers in proposals;
  • aids faculty in writing proposals to support undergraduate research sites (e.g., NSF  REU Siteproposals);
  • offers on-campus programming (e.g., SURE), career mentoring speakers, and coordinated workshops for undergraduate researchers; and
  • acts as a resource for undergraduate research activities across WVU.


  • Michelle Richards-Babb

    Michelle Richards-Babb, Ph.D.

    Professor, Chemistry & Director, Office of Undergraduate Research

    Michelle Richards-Babb did not attend college immediately upon graduation from high school. Instead, she worked within the equine industry. Eventually, she earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Ursinus College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Lehigh University. Currently, Richards-Babb is a Professor within the WVU C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry where she teaches and carries out research on chemistry education. As an undergraduate senior, she performed research on the solution thermodynamics of polymers. She clearly remembers her mother typing her final undergraduate research report on a manual typewriter. Richards-Babb, a first generation college student, credits her undergraduate research experience with giving her the confidence to apply to and attend graduate school.

  • Cinthia Pacheco

    Cinthia Pacheco, Ph.D.

    Assistant Director, Office of Undergraduate Research

    Cinthia Pacheco has a Bachelor’s degree in Dentistry and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmacology, all of them from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. She was also a visiting scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. Her interest in research started early in her life, when she was still an undergraduate student and participated in a scientific initiation program. As a professor at Newton Paiva University Center in Brazil, she gave similar research opportunities to many students, while she was directing the university efforts on undergraduate research. Along the years, Cinthia had witnessed the beneficial impact that research has in the life of the students and how it can open opportunities in their future careers. Currently, as an Assistant Director of the UGR, Cinthia is committed to continuously increase the participation of students and faculty mentors in undergraduate research.

  • Kevin Walden

    Kevin Walden

    Program Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research

    Kevin Walden was raised in Grafton, West Virginia and earned a B.A. in English and biology from WVU. At WVU, he served as an undergraduate research assistant for the West Virginia Dialect Project examining linguistic features throughout the state. For his graduate studies, he attended University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and earned an M.S.Ed. in interdisciplinary studies in human development. At GSE he served as a research assistant looking into the impact of a civic engagement curriculum, Facing History and Ourselves, on academic identity development in high school students. In addition, he worked as a Graduate Associate in College Housing, where he programmed events to support the social, professional, and academic development of undergraduate residents.

  • Paige Zalman

    Paige Zalman

    Program Coordinator, Research Apprenticeship Program, Office of Undergraduate Research

    Paige Zalman grew up in North Carolina, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As an undergraduate student, she had the privilege of conducting music history research on musical theater, opera, and musical borrowing with an amazing faculty mentor. This experience ultimately inspired her to pursue graduate studies at West Virginia University, where she later received a Master of Arts degree in Musicology. As a graduate student at WVU, Paige expanded her research interests to include popular music, the intersection of music and contemporary politics, and musical exoticism. She also worked in the Research Services department of the Downtown Campus Library, where she helped undergraduate and graduate students with their library research and also taught a ULIB course, College Research Skills. She currently works as the Program Coordinator for the Research Apprenticeship Program.

  • Graduate Assistants

  • Cari Ferguson

    Carinna Ferguson

    Graduate Assistant, Research Apprenticeship Program

    Cari Ferguson was raised in Belington, West Virginia. While pursuing her B.A. in psychology at WVU, she worked in a research lab studying individual differences in emotions, college student retention, and academic persistence. Her undergraduate research spurred her to continue her studies at WVU, where she earned an M.A. in Research and Program Evaluation. Cari is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development. Her research interests include high-impact practices, program evaluation, and the impact of undergraduate research experiences across disciplines. She is engaged in several ongoing projects examining undergraduate research, adult learning, and mentorship. She currently works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Research Apprenticeship Program at WVU.

  • Morgan Simpson

    Morgan Simpson

    Graduate Assistant, Research Apprenticeship Program

    Morgan Simpson is from Summit Point, West Virginia. She earned her B.S. in psychology from West Virginia University while working in Dr. Cheryl McNeil’s Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) research lab. PCIT is an evidence-based practice for families with oppositional children aged 2-7. The lab works to further the dissemination and application of PCIT methods to diverse communities. Morgan served as the undergraduate research coordinator, contributed to the advancement of Parent Child Interaction Therapy across West Virginia, and provided childcare to families. Morgan’s undergraduate research experience allowed her to discover her passion for working with children, and she is now pursuing a M.A. in Elementary Education. She currently works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Research Apprenticeship Program at WVU.

  • Stephanie Augustine

    Stephanie Augustine

    Graduate Assistant, Research Apprenticeship Program

    Stephanie Augustine hails from eastern Pennsylvania, and completed her BS in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at Cedar Crest College, where her undergraduate research on plants and soil was an integral part of her studies. After graduation, she worked as a Zookeeper and Conservation Educator for two years, caring for native and exotic wildlife and teaching groups of all ages, then continued her career with two years of bird banding and butterfly tagging field jobs in Costa Rica, Texas, and New Jersey, and a semester of recruiting students for her alma mater. Stephanie is now pursuing her M.S. with WVU in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, studying Canada Warblers in the Monongahela National Forest.

  • Teaching Assistants

  • Parker Carte

    Parker Carte

    teaching Assistant

    Parker Carte is from Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and he is currently pursuing his B.MdS. As a RAP student, Parker conducted his research at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute where the mission focuses on improving lives by pioneering brain advances. Because opioid addiction is a public health emergency and West Virginia has accounted for the highest opioid-involved overdose rates in the country in recent years, his research explored new treatment options that are being investigated to help patients who have failed traditional treatment modalities. In the Mountaineer spirit of pioneering, Parker presented his research,  Opioid Use Disorder:  A Multifaceted Approach, at WVU’s first-ever “Virtual” Undergraduate Spring Symposium in Spring 2020.  As a RAP graduate himself, Parker is excited to join the RAP team and help other students as they pursue their research endeavors. During the 2020-2021 school year, Parker will serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant in RAP. 

  • Kaley Vestal

    Kaley Vestal

    teaching assistant, undergraduate research ambassador

    Kaley Vestal is from Rainelle, West Virginia, and in her final year earning a B.A. in English. During the last three years of undergraduate, Kaley has completed both the RAP and SURE programs through the Office of Undergraduate Research. Her current research is on commonplace books and autoethnography in the 21st century. Kaley also serves as a Research Ambassador for the office of UGR and Humanities Section Editor for the student-led Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review (MURR). She is expected to graduate May of 2021 and plans on continuing her education to earn an M.A in English Rhetoric. 

  • Raven Forshee Headshot         

    Raven Forshee

    teaching assistant 

    Raven Forshee is from Huntington, West Virginia, and is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies. She is a RAP graduate, having done her research on tsetse flies and their generational inheritance of S. praecaptivus injections, and she is continuing that research for her capstone. She also conducts research through the Honors EXCEL program, which focuses on burial and funeral traditions in West Virginia and how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered them. Raven is thrilled to serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant for RAP in Spring 2021. Her next step after completing her undergraduate degree is to pursue an M.D.  

  • Kallie's Headshot

    Kallie Schafner

    teaching assistant 

    Kallie is a sophomore undergraduate student studying chemistry from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a RAP graduate and currently completes her research under Tim Nurkiewicz in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Her research passion is inhalation toxicology which her research fulfills where she focuses on the inhalation of electronic cigarettes on rats during maternal gestation. Through research, Kallie has won the Society of Toxicology RC4 award and will present her research at the Society of Toxicology’s annual meeting this March. Her expected graduation date is May 2023. After completing her undergraduate degree, Kallie plans on pursuing a graduate degree in toxicology.

  • Olivia's Headshot

    Olivia Oldaker

    teaching assistant 

    Olivia is from Bridgeport, West Virginia and is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Sports and Exercise Psychology. She has completed the RAP program at West Virginia University and was previously mentored by Dr. Scott Galster on an Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease project. She is now currently conducting research under Dr. Johannes Raabe on a coaching behaviors and motivation project. Olivia is expected to graduate in December 2022. She will then apply to WVU’s Physician’s Assistant program to hopefully pursue a career in Medical Oncology.

OUR Location & HOURS



Spring 2020 Semester Hours 

Monday-Friday: 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m.

Mailing Address 

Office of Undergraduate Research 
Arnold Hall  
PO Box 6702  
West Virginia University 
Morgantown, WV 26506-6702 

Physical Address (for package delivery) 

Office of Undergraduate Research 
Arnold Hall 
650 Price Street  
West Virginia University 
Morgantown, WV 26506-6702 

Arnold Hall

Arnold Hall, Rooms 228-235

NOTE: Arnold Hall is located on the corner of Price and Prospect Street on the WVU Downtown Campus. Come in through the main Price Street entrance (the glass doors in the above picture).

If you have any questions, not answered by the information on the UGR website, or would like to make an appointment to discuss undergraduate research opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Undergraduate Research by email ( or telephone at 304-293-9354.