MSP Mentors

New Mentors:

Kim BarelaKimberly Barela is from Portland, and graduated in 2006 from Sunset High School. Currently she is in her 6th year at Oregon State University, and will be graduating in Spring 2012. She is doing her research on Oregon turtles with Dr. Deanna Olsen, a biologist in the US Forest Service. Kim is known for her time-management skills: she balances a full curriculum with interesting extracurricular activities and one or two jobs, and gets good grades while doing it!

Kim’s Educational Goals: My goals are to graduate college with two majors (BioResource Research and Zoology), and two minors (Psychology, and Fisheries and Wildlife).  I like learning, so the fact that I will be able to graduate with experiencing 4 different areas of study is an accomplishment. 

Kim’s Long-term goals: To this day I am still not sure what career I want to pursue.  I know that I love kids, animals, and am passionate about conservation.  I also love experiencing new areas of study and therefore my long term goals are to explore different career opportunities that my degrees have introduced me to. I am a very flexible person and I want to find a job that will be exciting, different, and allows me the chance to interact with and teach children occasionally.   

Personal reflections: Even though it has been a challenge to balance work, school, and extracurricular activities, my years at OSU have been the best of my life.  I was able to shoot zombies, learn how to ballroom dance (even be a leader in the ballroom dance club), and joined an organization that provided me with the skills and connections I need to survive life after college.  Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related sciences was one of the best things I did in my 6 years at OSU.  After Spring term, I will walk away with some of the best memories of the best people I will ever meet

Khiem Lam is from Hillsboro and graduated from Hillsboro High School.

Educational information: I was initially in the Bioengineering program, but fell prey to the awesomeness that is research and decided to whole-heartedly pursue that by transferring into the BioResource Research program my sophomore year.

Educational Goals at OSU:  I plan to graduate from OSU in 2017 with an Honors BS in BRR with options in Genomics/Bioinformatics and Biotechnology in addition to a minor in Chemistry.  In pursuing undergraduate research, I hope to gain skills that will help me become a better thinker, problem-solver, and professional.

Long-term goals: I have strong interests in cancer biology and studying the complex interactions between host, microbes, and disease.  After I graduate from OSU, I plan to enroll in to an MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program, where I can purse my interests in medicine and research.

Personal reflections: I decided to go to Oregon State University my senior year of high school after I had my first taste of research participating in my regional science fair and winning 1st place in Animal Sciences. Knowing that OSU excelled in various types of research, it was the obvious choice for me. After arriving to campus, I jumped into undergraduate research right away and have gained invaluable experience in my journey thus far. In becoming an MSP, I hope to share some of my experiences with other students and help them in their journey at OSU.


Kim MelendezKimberly Joan Melendez-Rivera was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico butis from Anchorage, AK, where she graduated from AJ Dimond High school. She started Oregon State University in 2008 and is double majoring in BioResource Research and International Studies. She is currently the Webmaster of OSU’s MANNRS Chapter. Her research is with Dr. Rick Colwell in Colleg of Earth, Oceanographic and Atmospheric Sciences.

Kimberly’s educational goals: “To continue my studies and graduate with a BRR bachelors of science and International Studies bachelors of Arts with Option in Toxicology and Minor in Chemistry.”

Kimberly’s long-term goals: “I plan to complete my research with my Mentor as well as create my thesis. Furthermore, I would like to go abroad for a term in the Dominican Republic for my major. Once I graduate I wish to work with the National Park Service in Alaska as a Wildlife Biologist. There I hope to continue my studies and get either a PhD or an MD in Microbiology, Biology, or Ecology. I wish to contribute to my community through my research and more by working for the federal government like the National Park Service.”

Personal reflections: “When I first came to Oregon State University I was a Biology student. Switching to Bio Resource Research was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! It constantly pushes me to strive to do the very best to my abilities. It’s exhilarating and completely daunting at the same time but, even in the midst of everything I’ve had a lot of support from my advisor, other BRR students, and once my research is underway my mentor will fall among this wonderful group. Being a mentor for the MSP program is a wonderful opportunity in which I hope to empower others to take that leap of faith they’ve been dreading because once they do, they’ll see the ground is a lot closer than they’ve anticipated. I completely believe that if you do your best and you’re not afraid to ask when you truly need help, things have a way of working out.”


Laura MaganaLaura Cristal Magaña is from Corvallis, OR, where she graduated from Crescent Valley High School. She started OSU in 2006. She is a Gates Millenium Scholar. She is the treasurer of OSU-MANRRS and was 2009-2010 MANRRS Region VI Undergraduate Student Vice-President. Laura's research project in the Environmental and Molecular Toxicology department is in the field of immunology, with mentor Dr. Nancy Kerkvleit. 

Laura’s educational goals: “Graduate with a BRR bachelors of science with options in Toxicology and Biotechnology and minors in Chemistry and Ethnic Studies.”

Laura’s long-term goals: “Attend graduate school for either a PhD or an MD/PhD program in immunology, toxicology or public health with a focus on maternal or global health. I wish to serve underrepresented communities through my research and practice by working for the federal government in the CDC or the NIH.”

Personal reflections: “I came to Oregon State for an engineering program, and along the way I found my real passion in research through the BRR program and the Kerkvliet Lab! The MSP program is a manner for students like myself to express their love for scientific research in efforts to “save the world” one research experiment at a time. I love to read Chicana books in my spare time and travel to California to visit family and friends and, hopefully, upon graduation (let me pass the Biochemistry 490 series!) do a lot of global traveling. Also, I am a very ‘social butterfly’ and like to engage in activities with my friends from all over the US and everywhere else. I will be planning my wedding soon with my fiancé. Also, I am both excited and nervous about the graduate school applications process and getting results from my research project."


Arlyn MorenoArlyn Yire Moreno Luna is from Roseburg, Oregon. She graduated from Roseburg High School in 2007, attended Umpqua Community College and graduated with an Associates of Science in 2009. She has started her research project on medicinal chemistry and pharmacology with Dr. Fred Stevens in the Linus Pauling Institute.

Arlyn's educational goal: "My educational goal is to graduate from OSU in 2012 with a bachelor degree in Honors BioResource Research, with minors in Toxicology, Chemistry and Spanish, and be admitted to optometry medical school."

Arlyn's long-term goal: "My long term goal is to graduate from medical school with an optometrist certification in 2016. I want to work at eye care center and in the near future open my own business. I also hope that one day I can give back to my community and give free medical care to people that need it and have low income."

Personal reflections: "I was actually a freshman in high school when I decided to come to OSU to continue my education. I was currently attending Willamette High School, and had the opportunity to visit OSU campus. The amazing tour and all the opportunities that I learned that day made me decide to come to OSU. Now that I am here at OSU, I am very proud of myself of making that decision so early in my high school career and now actually to be here. I think that the MSP program will be a great experience for my education career and also to have better skills as a leader and a mentor. I am very excited to meet new students and guide them in any questions or problems that they could have."



Returning MSP mentors were asked the following:

1.      Did your educational goals change during the last year? How or why?
2.      Did your long-term goals change during the last year? How or why?
3.      What was the best thing about the last year at OSU?
4.      What was the hardest thing about the last year at OSU?
5.      If you could give an incoming MSP scholar one piece of advice, what would it be?
6.      Are there any personal reflections you’d like to add?


Eva Arndt

Eva Arndt is a native of Nampa, Idaho. She received her high-school equivalency when she was 18. She attended Boise State for two years, took 5 years off, then spent 2 more years at Boise State. She transferred to OSU and is now a senior. Eva is an expert on time management: besides being a student with a double major, MANRRS 2011-2012 Undergraduate President, and active in Native American Longhouse, Eva and her husband have three children! Her research concerns how rodenticides affect wildlife; she is working with Dr. Annette Morzillo in College of Forestry, analyzing survey data.

Did your educational goals change during the last year? My goals have remained the same. I really enjoy the research aspect of the BRR program. While some classes are required to finish my degree, I enjoy the fact that I am able to choose classes as well. This means that I am able to guide my learning and take classes that I think are important to my future goals. 

Did your long-term goals change during the last year? I am very involved in the MANRRS organization. This has allowed me to become more familiar with how national organizations work. 

What was the best thing about the last year at OSU? I have really enjoyed being able to have a group of people that are taking the same classes that I am taking. This makes forming study groups much easier.

What was the hardest thing about the last year at OSU? The hardest thing for me this year was getting prepared for officer training that took place week 8 of Spring term in Atlanta, GA.  I needed to take two midterms when I returned. It was worth it. I was able to tour the Region IV EPA headquarters, and speak with the staff about their individual jobs.

If you could give an incoming MSP scholar one piece of advice, what would it be? Attend your professor’s office hours early and often. Do not  wait until the last possible minute to seek help. 

Are there any personal reflections you’d like to add? I am a mentor for this program. I really wish that there had been a program like this when I was a freshman. The idea of having someone, who was also a student, help me navigate through my first year would have been great! I am a first generation Native American student. I am very proud to be a part of this program and hope that it continues in the future. 


Congratulations to Vananh, who graduated! The picture shows her in Japan, where she went for her Study Abroad. Vananh began graduate school this fall pursuing a Master’s of International Public Health. 

Here are her updates:

Vananh in JapanVananh Nguyen is a native of Saigon, Viet Nam. Her family moved to Portland when she was 16. She graduated in 2010 after serving one year as a MSP Mentor (she was also an Ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources, OSU MANRRS Vice President, and National MANRRS Vice President!) Her research concerned molecular mechanisms of skin cancer, with Dr. Arup Indra in College of Pharmacy.

Did your educational goals change during the last year? No, my educational goals have not changed since last year. I still want to continue my education at a graduate school upon graduation. 

Did your long-term goals change during the last year? Yes, my long-term goals have changed. I have changed from wanting to be a Physician Assistant to being a doctor working for international health organization.

What was the best thing about the last year at OSU? The best thing about the last year at OSU was the feeling of near completion of an adventure that full of laughter (and tears!), knowing that it was not the amount of knowledge one can acquired and achieved, but it was the experience, good or bad, one accumulates during this journey that counts. Also, to me the best thing about being a senior was the sense of helpfulness to other students. I realized that good guidance and mentorship could be vitally important to a college student’s success

What was the hardest thing about the last year at OSU? The hardest thing was to leave the friends who joined me, either from the very beginning or mid-way of my adventure. Memories at OSU were the hardest to part.

If you could give an incoming MSP scholar one piece of advice, what would it be? Be as proactive, open-minded and opportunistic as you can. Think of college like a playground for you to explore, to learn and to grow, just like when you were a kid. Be curious but know how to be safe, that’s the difference. 

Are there any personal reflections you’d like to add? College has given me the opportunity to grow into the person I am today. I am now able to accept my flaws and embrace my weakness. I am truly thankful to everyone who has helped me thus far. The experience and memories acquired as a college student will always be with me. Now on to the next adventure!