Carnegie Mellon University

 

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development draws on a long history at Carnegie Mellon, starting in 1989, that recognizes the value and importance of research as a centerpiece of undergraduate education. The office provides seed funds for undergraduate research projects, recognizes students conducting research, funds undergraduates presenting their findings at academic conferences, and presents an annual undergraduate research symposium. The programs are available to students from each of the University’s six undergraduate colleges. The Office has proven extremely successful in encouraging students to pursue graduate studies and research careers. 

Our staff also works with current Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students and alumni in fulfilling their intellectual and professional goals by pursuing nationally competetive scholarships and fellowships.  We promote awareness of external scholarship and fellowship opportunities; advising; writing support; overall management of the process; and interview preparation.  

RIchelle Bernazzoli

Dr. RIchelle Bernazzoli

Director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development

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Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Cyert Hall A64
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Dr. Richelle Bernazzoli (she/her) is the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development (OURSD) at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a political geographer whose  research interests include militarism, security and identity, and Southeastern Europe. She received a 2011-2012 Fulbright grant to Croatia for her research on the Euro-Atlantic integration process in Croatian government and civil society. Prior to joining CMU, Richelle was visiting faculty in the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois, where she taught courses on international conflict and globalization, while also advising geography undergraduate students.  She subsequently served as the scholarships coordinator in the National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois, supporting undergraduate and graduate student applicants for prestigious external awards. While at University of Illinois, she partnered with Northwestern University to organize a national symposium on inclusive fellowships advising, with support from the National Association of Fellowships Advisors.


Richelle joined Carnegie Mellon in 2016 as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research and National Fellowships. She assumed the role of Director of OURSD in 2021. In this role, she oversees campus-wide research apprenticeships, grants, and fellowships for undergraduates, as well as the coordination of national and international fellowships applications for undergraduate and graduate students. She has developed programming to help undergraduate researchers build transferable skills in research design, research communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Richelle is active in regional and national professional organizations, presenting and publishing on various themes in high-impact educational practices. Her current research interests include the development of researcher identity and epistemic thinking in new researchers. In addition to her role in OURSD, Richelle serves as the advisor for the Eta Chapter of the Mortar Board Senior National Honor Society and has taught in the History Department. She serves on campus-wide committees and working groups for educational policy and practices, core competency development, and engaged and integrative learning.


Richelle received her B.A. in international politics from the Pennsylvania State University and MA and PhD in geography from the University of Illinois. Prior to entering academia, she spent nine years in the Army National Guard and served in the NATO KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fulbright Association, and Global Pittsburgh, with whom she hosts international scholars visiting the Pittsburgh area. In her free time, Richelle enjoys skiing (Alpine, Nordic, and roller!), backpacking, canoeing, trail running, triathlon relays, reading, and cooking.

Paige Zalman

Paige Zalman

Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development

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Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Cyert Hall A64
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Paige Zalman (she/her) is the Associate Director of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development at Carnegie Mellon University, where she supports students in pursuing undergraduate research experiences on- and off-campus and advises students applying for nationally and internationally competitive scholarships. Prior to joining CMU in 2022, she worked for three years as a Program Coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Research at West Virginia University (WVU), where she administered the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP), a multidisciplinary introduction to research for first- and second-year students. 

Paige was inspired to pursue a career in higher education after conducting research during her own undergraduate studies under the guidance of an amazingly supportive faculty mentor who assisted her in obtaining two competitive research fellowships from her undergraduate institution. One of these fellowships fully funded a trip abroad to London to conduct archival research for her undergraduate honors thesis. Both the research mentorship and the opportunity to study abroad were hugely transformative for Paige as an undergraduate and, now in her current role, she is passionate about paying it forward by facilitating and expanding these types of incredible opportunities for CMU students. 

Paige holds a Master of Arts degree in Musicology from WVU and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance (Percussion) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). She is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education from WVU, where her current research projects include exploring the experiences of trans and nonbinary creative arts majors in college, measuring outcomes and indicators of student success for humanities and arts majors enrolled in the WVU RAP program, and developing a dissertation that explores nuance and intersections in music majors’ experiences with mental health challenges while in college. Her original research has been published in the scholarly journal American Music as well as in the edited volumes The Opioid Epidemic and U.S. Culture (2020) and Sonic Identity at the Margins (2022). When she is not consumed by academic pursuits, she enjoys hiking with her partner and their two dogs, indoor bouldering at her local climbing gym, traveling, and exploring Pittsburgh on her pink electric scooter.

Jen Weidenhof

Jen Weidenhof

Business Administrator & Operations Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development

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Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Cyert Hall A64
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Jen Weidenhof (she/her) is the Business Administrator and Operations Coordinator of the office, where she supports office functionality, budgetary concerns, student and faculty correspondence, and all plans for the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Jen has been at Carnegie Mellon University since 2016 when she was hired as the Administrative Assistant, then was promoted in 2019 to her current position.  In 2017, Jen was awarded the Andy Award for Commitment to Excellence, the annual award that honors a CMU staff member who takes great pride in producing excellent work. 

Prior to coming to CMU, Jen worked as Admissions & Financial Aid Coordinator and International Field Program Coordinator for the Institute for Shipboard Education, administrators of the Semester at Sea program.  During her time there, she was able to able to participate in a full Semester at Sea voyage in the Spring of 1998 as Registrar, and visiting the Bahamas, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan.

Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.  In her spare time, she likes sitting around an outdoor fire with friends, stationary rowing, and spending time with her husband, Steve, and daughter, Anna.