» OURCA Ambassadors

Meet the 2016/2017 OURCA Ambassadors! 

Shannon-Corenthin-HeadshotShannon Corenthin

Year: Senior

Major: BFA Theatre Performance Major, Integrated Educational Studies minor

Mentor: Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner

Research Project/Creative Activity: Forgotten Story of African American Women Playwrights

1-Explain your research/creative activity: I study the plays and production histories of Black women in American theatre, the impact they have had on society during the last century, and the influence they continue to have on today’s theatre.

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity?  My advice is for any students who is unsure whether or not they would like to do research: do it. Even if you don't end up liking it, you'll learn so much about your topic and the importance of it. and you never know, you might find your calling in research. 

Ask Shannon a question!

Romano HeadshotLena Romano 

Year: Senior

Major: Theatre and Sociology double major/COPA and Wilkinson 

Mentor: Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner/COPA

Research Project/Creative Activity: The Influence of Social Class on Women in Theatre


1-Explain your research/creative activity: My research for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship I investigated the role that class plays in the representation of women in theatre, both in terms of how women are portrayed on stage, and the demographics of the workforce in the industry. The research this summer will be continued this Fall where I will direct the play Trifles, by Susan Glaspell. This play will be a part of a feminist theatre festival that deals with issues of class, race and sexuality. 

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity? Pick a topic that you are really interested in researching and that you can see yourself researching for a long time, because it can be hard to self-motivate, but if you love the topic and are invested in your findings, it will be easier to keep up with the work. 

Ask Lena a question!

Natalite Tom Headshot Natalie Tom

Year: Senior

Major: Chemistry Major, Nutrition Minor, and Food Science Masters (4+1 Program)

Mentor: Dr. Lilian Were, Food Science Department

Research Project/Creative Activity: Agaricus Bisporus mushrooms act as an antioxidant in raw beef patties. 

1-Explain your research/creative activity: 
Billion pounds of beef is wasted per year and chemical deterioration, specifically lipid oxidation, contributes to this waste. White-button mushrooms called Agaricus Bisporus, are introduced into raw beef and have the antioxidant capacity to inhibit lipid oxidation from occurring and overall extend the shelf life of beef. 

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity?  Make sure to pick a research topic that YOU are interested in and ALWAYS have fun! 

Nicole Hornaday Headshot Nicole Hornaday 

Year: Graduated May 2016

Major: Biological Sciences/University Honors Program

Research Project/Creative Activity: Best Practices for Mentor/Mentee Communication


1-Explain your research/creative activity: One of the most critical aspects of any successful research project is the effective communication between the mentor and mentee. The goal of my project is to investigate best practices for mentorship, especially with application to the SURF program so that future students and mentors will be able to accomplish shared as well as distinct goals in a ten week timeframe.

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity?  Pursue a project that you are truly interested in, although this can be difficult in fields such as the sciences, which put a certain amount of pressure on students to make sure that research is a part of their undergraduate education. Additionally, you should work with a mentor who you know that you will work well with and learn from, and with whom there is mutual respect.

Ask Nicole a question!

Benji Whitmore Headshot

Benji Whitmore

Year: Junior

Major: Pre-Pharmacy/Schmid + CUSP

Mentor: Dr. Miao Zhang, CUSP

Research Project/Creative Activity:Structural study for Ca2+ hypersensitivity of mutant SK ion channel


1-Explain your research/creative activity: My research is in the field of ion channel pharmacology and specifically uses X-ray crystallography techniques as the basis for structural study of SK ion channels.

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity? Advice to students would be to just reach out to as many professors/program advisors as you can. There are so many research opportunities/mentors out there and if you only reach out to one or two you limit your options. Also be sure you are interested in their research focus...when you meet with them it’s as much of an interview for them as it is you!


Jessica Bocinski

Year: Junior

Major: Art History and Anthropology

Mentor: Dr. Wendy Salmond, Department of Art

Research Project/Creative Activity: Art history research project entitled "The Invisible Artist: Reframing William Holman Hunt's Works through 15th c. Netherlandish Art"


1-Explain your research/creative activity: During SURF, I conducted an art history research project that explored the connections between a Pre-Raphaelite artist named William Holman Hunt and 15thc. Netherlandish painting. This comparison fosters a different understanding of the purpose of Hunt's works and the common misconceptions associated with his stylistic choices.

2-What advice would you give a student considering getting involved in research or creative activity?  If you are passionate about a subject or are interested in research, you should absolutely get involved in one of the research and creative activity opportunities that OURCA has to offer. Undergraduate research and creative activity is a great way to make professional and personal connections with professors, gain invaluable experience that can translate into future graduate school or career opportunities, and learn more about your own interests. The research and creative activities on campus are also great ways to meet new people from different disciplines.

Contact Us


Smith Hall 101B

Mailing Address:

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

OURCA Deadlines & Events 
Fall 2017

October 2nd-6th
Randall Dining Commons
Meal Voucher Required
DRAW- Discover Research & Arts Week
Campus Wide
October 2nd-5th
Tuesday, October 3rd
AF 209C
Wednesday, October 4th
BK 404
Super Pac-Getting Involved in UG Research & Creative Activity
Wednesday, October 4th
AF 209C
Thursday, October 5th
AF 209C
Faculty Workshop- Writing Letters of Recommendation
Thursday, October 5th
AF 209C
Tuesday, November 7th
Friday, November 10th
Wednesday, November 15th
AF 209C
Wednesday, December 6th
Sandhu Confrence Center 
Poster Sessions- TBA
Invitation Only
Wednesday, December 6th 
BK 404