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Staff and Appointments

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


  • David Artis, PhD

    David Artis, PhD

    David Artis, PhD, 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, PhD

    Thomas K. Brown, PhD

    Thomas K. Brown has been the Coordinator of the UCSD McNair Program since December of 2005. He has earned advanced degrees in chemistry (CPhil, Caltech) and anthropology (PhD, 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 PhD in any field.


    Make an appointment:


  • Kirsten Kung, PhD

    Kirsten Kung, PhD

    Kirsten Kung, Ph., 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 PhD 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)


  • Sophia Tsai Neri, PhD

    Sophia Tsai Neri, PhD

    Sophia Tsai Neri 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 PhD 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: Tuesday (1:00 pm - 3:00 pm), Wednesday (10:00 am - 12:00 pm)


    Phone: 858-534-9014

    Make an appointment:

  • Daniel Movahed

    Daniel Movahed is the TRELS Program Coordinator. In his role, he manages the TRELS Program and collaborates with the seven colleges at UC San Diego. He earned his Business Administration degree from CSU Fullerton. During his time at CSU Fullerton, he worked at the university’s Outreach, Recruitment and Orientation department. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, he worked at National University as an Advisor in the Admissions department.

Support Staff

  • Marie Sheneman, PhD

    Marie Sheneman, PhD

    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.


  • Brenda Cruz

    Brenda Cruz provides support for multiple academic programs, conferences, and summer research programs at the URH. They earned their Bachelors degree in Communications, with a minor in Education from UC Santa Barbara. Brenda has a passion for supporting underrepresented and first gen students achieve their goals outside of the classroom. Prior to UCSD, Brenda was a college and career advisor for high school students in the Bay Area.


    Make an appointment:


Student Assistants

  • Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne

    Simonne Darbonne is the front desk student assistant for the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH). She is a BA/MIA student with the Global School of Policy at UC San Diego with an undergraduate 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.
  • Amy Manzinas

    Amy Manzinas

    Amy Manzinas is the front desk student assistant for the Undergraduate Research Hub (URH). She is a third-year Visual Arts student at UC San Diego from Eleanor Roosevelt College. Amy is a proud Mexican-American first-generation student from South Gate, California, pursuing a B.A. in Media with a minor in Speculative Design. Amy has been involved with OASIS, TRiO SSSP, Upward Bound, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund community to advocate for Latinx/Chicanx students. Amy began working for URH in Fall 2021. During her free time, she enjoys creating art and playing video games.