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Staff and Appointments

Learn more about the Undergraduate Research Hub's leadership and staff members.


  • David Artis

    David Artis

    David Artis, Ph.D., Dean of Undergraduate Research Advancement, came to the Undergraduate Research  Hub (formerly known as Academic Enrichment Programs or AEP) in November 2000, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There he had served as a faculty member, graduate school administrator and Director of Academic Services in the School of Public Health.

    At UC San Diego, he has overseen steady growth in the number of the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH) programs and services, including coordinating more scholarship opportunities for students in all fields, increased participation in URH-sponsored undergraduate research conferences, and more collaborative program efforts with other campus units. Dr. Artis is a graduate of Yale and Stanford.

Assistant Director

  • Veronica Bejar

    Veronica Bejar

    Veronica Bejar is the Assistant Director for the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH) and the McNair Program. She has over thirteen years of experience preparing and encouraging talented students to pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees. As the Assistant Director, Veronica assists the ongoing operations of the URH academic year programs, conferences, and summer research programs.

Program Coordinators

  • Thomas K. Brown

    Thomas K. Brown

    Thomas K. Brown has been the Coordinator of the UCSD McNair Program since December of 2005. He has earned advanced degrees in chemistry (C.Phil, Caltech) and anthropology (Ph.D., UCSD). In his role as McNair Program coordinator, he helps students find research placements with UC San Diego faculty. The McNair Program is a preparatory program for traditionally under-represented students (first-generation college students from low-income households and those from under-represented ethnic groups) who want to earn a Ph.D. in any field.

    Office Hours: 

         Monday (10:00 am - 12:00 pm)
         Thursday (12:00 pm - 1:00 pm)

    Make a Zoom appointment: 


  • Claire Kim

    Claire Kim

    Claire Kim is the Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator. She helps students from all disciplines navigate the process of building strong relationships with faculty mentors and take advantage of all the research-related resources that Undergraduate Research has to offer. She received her Ph.D. in English literature from UCLA, with a concentration on 18th-century British novels.

    Office Hours: 

    Wednesday (9:30 am - 11:00 am)

    Friday (11:00 am - 12:00 pm)

    E-mail to make an appointment.

  • Kirsten Kung

    Kirsten Kung

    Kirsten Kung, Ph.D., works with a number of students through the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH). She has extensive experience coordinating multiple year research programs and helping students experience opportunities outside of the classroom. She is particularly interested in issues related to mentoring, engaged learning, and research ethics. Dr. Kung received her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Social Psychology with minors in Health Psychology and Quantitative Psychology. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, she was a faculty member at the University of Houston.

    Office Hours:

         Thursday (10:00 am - 12:00 pm)

    E-mail to make an appointment.

  • Sophia Tsai

    Sophia Tsai

    Sophia Tsai coordinates multiple programs within the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH). She has experience coordinating student-mentor matching, research scholarships, and helping students get more out of their research programs. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) in molecular biology doing x-ray crystallography, and her Bachelor of Science at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) studying Cybernetics with an emphasis on Bioinformatics. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, she was a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA.

    Office Hours:

         Monday (10:00 am - 12:00 pm)
         Tuesday (1:00 pm - 3:00 pm)

    Make a Zoom appointment:


  • Jason Avalos

    Jason Avalos

    Jason Avalos is the temporary STARTneuro program coordinator. In his role as coordinator, Jason assists students to build valuable relationships with UC San Diego faculty mentors and trains students as they enter research through workshops and seminars to help students get ready to apply to Ph.D. programs. Jason received his B.S. in Mathematics – Computer Science from UC San Diego and has experience working with underrepresented, low income and first-generation students.

    Make a Zoom appointment:

Support Staff

  • Marie Sheneman

    Marie Sheneman

    Marie Sheneman is the McNair Program Assistant Coordinator. She assists in all stages of the program, from recruiting program participants to collecting post-graduation data. Marie earned her PhD in sociology from Iowa State University. During her time in Iowa, she was a sociology professor and honors program coordinator at a community college. Through her work with the honors program, Marie fell in love with working with students outside the classroom and helping them enhance their education.

    E-mail to make an appointment.

  • Sara Cortez

    Sara Cortez

    Sara Cortez is the Office Manager for the Undergraduate Research Hub. Sara is a first generation, transfer graduate from UC San Diego. She graduated with a double major in Economics and International Business. Sara enjoys working at URH because here, she can support and empower students to peruse their passions in their desired fields. Currently, Sara is the VP of Public Relations for UCSD Torrey Pines Speakers Toastmasters Club. Previously, Sara worked at UC San Diego’s Changemaker Institute, and The HDH Graduate and Family Housing on campus. She is also the mother of 3 amazing cats.

Student Assistants

  • Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne is the front desk student assistant for the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH). She is a fourth year at UC San Diego from Eleanor Roosevelt College with a major in International Business. Simonne is from Fairfield, located in northern California. She began working for URH in the fall of 2019 after returning from studying abroad in Spain for the summer.  In her free time she enjoys playing tennis and drawing.