Summer 2023 FellowsThe Summer 2023 Peak Fellows were a cohort of highly engaged undergraduate students in both the College of Science and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. For ten weeks this summer, these fellows worked on their respective research or creative projects with the help of their faculty mentors. Read below to see this year's cohort, or check back in May to see the 2024 Fellows!
View all past Fellows
Mentor: Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde
Alyssa Burton is usually covered in scrapes from wild mountain adventures like trail running and backcountry skiing. She loves sharing her passion for fitness with new American families through Athletics United. She is studying to become a board-certified music therapist and hopes to eventually attend medical school.
Mentor: Dr. Karen Beard
Cristina is a senior in natural resources interested in conducting nonprofit research on climate change impacts on organisms, with the aim of improving the resilience of human communities. She began research freshman year with the support of the Honors program, Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and Quinney Scholarship and has since received the Goldwater Scholarship for her work. She’s excited to expand on her current projects in graduate school and hopes to eventually obtain a doctorate degree.
Mentor: Dr. Sara Freeman
Ethan loves diving into subjects and going down interesting rabbit holes. He’s majoring in Biology with the goal of doing quantitative-focused Neurogenetics research in future. He’s been researching the genetics of autism for the past couple of years, and will talk your ear off about it if asked.
Mentors: Dr. Benjamin Gunsberg and Dr. Christine Cooper-Rompato
Basil (they/them) is a Creative Writing major with a minor in Linguistics. They like to spend their free time frolicking around in Logan Canyon and writing with funky-colored pens.
Mentor: Dr. Amber Caron
Ashleigh is a junior at Utah State University studying English education. She is passionate about literature, and she especially loves to write and read fiction. She is the historian for the English honors chapter, Sigma Tau Delta, and a volunteer for the USU literary magazine, Sink Hollow. She recently received second place for undergraduate fiction in the USU creative writing competition. She has also participated in campus research and given presentations at the USU Fall Research Symposium and the annual Sigma Tau Delta convention. She is pursuing her goal of becoming a writer and educator, and she plans to spend the summer researching the linguistic and artistic responses to terrorism.
Mentor: Dr. Ryan Jackson
Alivia Jolley is an incoming senior majoring in Biochemistry and Cellular/Molecular Biology. She loves learning from everyone around her and spending time in the lab. In her free time, she enjoys reading, boating, and swimming. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in academia. Recently, Alivia presented her research on CRISPR accessory proteins at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
Mentor: Dr. Sydney O’Shay
Rosalie Mortenson is a third year student at Utah State University. She is excited to be a part of the 2023 PEAK Research Program and the incredible team she will be joining in this opportunity. This project creates a path for her future and for what she’s interested in, and she can’t wait to get started!
Mentor: Dr. Michaelann Nelson
Preston is a dual major in English and philosophy. This summer, he is studying Samuel Beckett’s writings and their connections to philosophy. He will graduate from USU in the spring of 2024 and plans to study comparative literature in graduate school afterward. Outside of his academic interests, he enjoys hiking, foraging, and writing poetry.
Mentor: Dr. Ryan Berke
Mentor: Dr. Doris McGonagill
Bart Thomassen is a multilingual historian with passion and expertise in cultivating understanding. He has served in the Utah National Guard since 2006, in various roles including Army Human intelligence officer, Interrogator, Armor Platoon Leader, Instructor and Linguist. Bart was deployed for 3.5 years in Afghanistan where he served as an interrogator and counter-intelligence screener. Bart has earned 14 awards from his service in the Armed Forces. He looks to continue learning and growing as a linguist and historian through his studies. Bart is currently studying with majors in French and German.
Mentor: Dr. Jayme Walters
Sariah Tillotson is a Senior at Utah State University and is currently in the Bachelors of Social Work Program. She was born and raised in Sacramento, California and recently moved to Logan to attend Utah State. Since living in Logan, Sariah has grown to love the mountains, hiking, and being out in nature. She absolutely loves being a student at Utah State and all the amazing opportunities it has provided her to succeed as a student and in her future career as a social worker.
Mentor: Dr. Charles Torre
Zachary Zito is entering his junior year majoring in mathematics, philosophy, and physics at USU. His research interests include the metaphysics of time, relational quantum mechanics, and literary theory of religious texts. Outside of scholarly domains, Zach enjoys golfing, lifting weights, and playing piano. He loves spending time with my family, tutoring fellow students, and engaging in lighthearted debates. He intends to apply the mathematics of complexity to the study of social phenomena, exploring how patterns and structures in communities relate to human flourishing.