Staff

The Executive Board

Poornima Tamma
Editor-in-Chief

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Classification: Senior
E-Mail: editor.in.chief@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Four
Highlights: I love reading science fiction and mystery novels. My favorite shows are The West Wing, The Office, and Doctor Who. I’m going to Baylor College of Medicine next year!

Kyungseok Jung
Managing Editor

Major(s): Biology
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Classification: Junior
E-Mail: natural.sciences@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Three
Highlights: Kyungseok is a third-year biology major in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program. He is an undergraduate research assistant in the Taylor Lab and a mentor for the Functional Genomics Stream in the Freshman Research Initiative. He spends his free time practicing cello, playing Smash, and eating combination over rice at Halal Bros.

Senior Directors and Editors

Kierra Boyle
Director of Development

Major(s): Biochemistry
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Classification: Junior
E-Mail: development@texasurj.com
Years in URJ:
 Three
Highlights: Kierra is spending her third year in Austin on the Undergraduate Research Journal staff leading the Development branch. In addition to the URJ, she serves as a member of the Fundraising Committee for the Science Undergraduates Research Group. When not studying or hanging out with friends, she enjoys experiencing the unique food and culture Austin has to offer as well as visiting South Mall to throw a Frisbee around or sit down with a good book.

Keerthana Chakka
Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Neuroscience & Plan II
Hometown: Katy, Texas
Classification: Sophomore
E-Mail: campaign@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Keerthana is a sophomore from Katy, TX in the Dean’s Scholars Program and the Plan II Honors Program. She is currently working on a research project in the Pierce Lab concerning the epigenetics of alcoholism and treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. In the future, she plans to attend medical school and work in clinical neurological research and health policy. Keerthana likes to write, be outdoors, and play guitar in her free time.

Tracy Zhang
Director of Communications

Major(s): Computer Science
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Classification: Sophomore
E-Mail: communications@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Tracy is a second-year computer science major from Scottsdale, Arizona. She loves creating side projects, writing about technology (she is a writer for the UTCS Department!), and roaming the great outdoors. In the time that Tracy is not working on programming assignments, she enjoys drawing and graphic design, beating her friends at MarioKart, getting ice cream, and obsessing over any cute dogs she encounters.

Assistants

Aishwarya Kotha
Assistant Director of Communications

Major(s): Public Health
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Aishwarya is a Public Health major from Houston, Texas. This is her first year working for URJ. She is also a member of the Luminators FRI stream. In her spare time, Aishwarya likes traveling, hand lettering, and graphic design.

Sanjana Nagaraja
Assistant Director of Communications

Major(s): Neuroscience
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Sanjana is a first-year Neuroscience major from Austin, Texas. (originally from California!) She has a passion for all things disease-related and hopes to have a medical career in the future. In her free time, Sanjana loves making terribly timed jokes, watching strange movies, and writing short stories. When she’s not pretending to do schoolwork or taking a nap, you’ll probably find her going on long Wikipedia research quests, searching for new obscure music, or drawing fun cartoons of everyone around her.

Kavya Rajesh
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Chemistry
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Classification: Sophomore
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Kavya is a second year Chemistry major in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program and a member of the Baiz group where she studies cryoprotectants using spectroscopy. She loves collecting Japanese pens and stationary, hiking, dog photography, and dark chocolate. When she isn’t in lab, you can find her obsessing over coffee, online shopping, or attending various events on campus.

Aparna Kambhampati
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Biochemistry
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights:
 Aparna is a freshman biochemistry major who is part of the Health Science Scholars program and plans to attend medical school. She loves research and is currently working with a lab at UT that deals with T-ALL growth. She is from Houston and spends most of her free time dancing, listening to music, or watching Netflix.

 

Abigail Hinojosa
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Chemistry
Classification: Junior
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Abby is a McNair Scholar studying chemistry, and a member of the Que Lab. Her research interests include the use of fluorescent molecules for enzyme inhibition and brain imaging. Outside of school, she loves to visit her hometown -Reynosa, Mexico-, paint portraits and collect keychains.

Editors

Pranshu Adhikari
Assistant Editor of Natural Sciences

Major(s): Physics
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Pranshu is a freshman Physics major in the Polymathic Scholars Honors program. She was born in Nepal but moved to the United States when she was 10. Her interest in research began as a result of her involvement in the AP Capstone program at her high school, which exposed her to research in academia. She hopes to eventually continue on to graduate school and pursue a career in research.

Megan Li
Assistant Editor of Humanities

Major(s): Applied Mathematics, Economics
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Megan is a freshman double majoring in Applied Mathematics (Dean’s Scholars Honors Program) and Economics. In addition to the URJ she is part of Asian Business Students Association (ABSA) and Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE). When not studying or hanging out friends, she is at the local bubble tea shop, playing cards/board games, or watching movies.

 

Brendalys Lebron
Assistant Editor of Humanities

Major(s): History
Hometown: Harker Heights, Texas
Classification: Senior
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights:  Brendalys is currently a fourth year student at UT majoring in History. She is originally fron Harker Heights, Texas, and is very excited to be a part of the Undergraduate Research Journal staff and looks forward to another great year with an amazing staff!

 

Shannon Carey
Assistant Editor of Humanities

Major(s): Plan II, History, & English
Hometown: Georgetown, Texas
Classification: Junior
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Shannon is a Plan II Honors, History, and English Major. As well as being a part of the Undergraduate Research Journal, she is Assistant Copy Editor for the yearbook. She spends her free time taking care of cats at Austin Pets Alive! and dancing at various conventions around Texas. She has researched John Steinbeck at the Harry Ransom Center.

Sarika Sabnis
Assistant Editor of Social Sciences

Major(s): Linguistics
Minor(s): Arabic Language
Classification: Junior
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: I am a third-year Linguistics major, minoring in Arabic Language. I also speak two Indian languages, and am currently trying my hand at Spanish. Of course, I love learning and studying languages and the way people speak. You might find me spacing out in a conversation because of the way you pronounce your vowels. (Sorry, in advance.) Currently I am working on a research project in the computational linguistics lab, as part of the Intellectual Entrepreneur (IE) Pre-Grad Internship. I’m also hoping to continue computational linguistics into graduate school! When I’m not doing school, I’m probably DIY-ing a project in my apartment. I just love creating new things out of the old – anything from clothes and jewelry to desks and coffee tables.

Sofia Tafich
Assistant Editor of Social Sciences

Major(s): Rhetoric & Writing
Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico
Classification: Sophomore
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Sofia is a second year Rhetoric & Writing major, hoping to do a minor in Journalism as well. She is from Monterrey, Mexico, and hopes to someday publish a novel and edit other people’s books for a living. She has loved writing ever since she can remember, and also really loves painting, drawing, watching films, reading, dancing, traveling, and hiking.

 

Neil Shah
Assistant Editor of Social Sciences

Major(s): Neuroscience, Plan II Honors
Classification: Sophomore
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Neil is a second-year Neuroscience and Plan II major in the Polymathic Scholars program. Outside of class, he can usually be found talking politics (with the Texas Political Union), reading, playing tennis, or falling asleep in a library.