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Meet Our Advance Ambassadors

Advance Ambassadors collaborate with University Faculty and Staff to address the needs of research and creative activities for their peers. They work to enhance and promote research, creative, and scholarly opportunities for undergraduate students. Lead Advance Ambassadors are appointed by the Dean of their college, based on merit.  We also have Advance Ambassadors that represent their department/school. These Ambassadors are recruited by our Lead Advance Ambassadors.

Lead Advance Ambassadors

College of the Arts

Emily LeBlanc

School of Architecture and Design

I am a junior majoring in architectural studies, from Houma, Louisiana. After receiving my bachelor’s in architecture, I plan to attend graduate school and become licensed as an architect. My career goal is to open my own architecture firm. I enjoy fishing, building models, and spending time with family and friends in my free time. I am currently working under the Martin Family Fellowship to pursue research driven by the culture and history of the Acadiana region, with a focus on the Atchafalaya basin. I am appreciative of the opportunity to research and learn more about Louisiana history as it is imperative to the design process. I hope to continue my efforts in understanding how design can help preserve our coast and celebrate the unique culture. As an ambassador, I am looking forward to sharing my passion for research and helping others understand the importance of research for our education and future.

B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration

Ayush Deshpande


I am a senior majoring in Psychology (Pre-Medicine Concentration) and Economics (Business Analytics Concentration) with minors in Chemistry and Investment and Portfolio Management. My hobbies include working out, doing origami and playing the violin. I am excited to be an ambassador for Advance experiences at UL Lafayette — I think that research is the most noble and rewarding activities that an undergraduate has the opportunity to participate in, and I am thrilled to be able to be a representative for our R1 institution. I am a student in the Honors Program at UL and am working on my thesis. Some research I am involved with includes:
  • Chemistry Research under Dr Salah Massoud: Searching for the an effective therapeutic anti-tumor compound by testing a new series Cu (II) and Co (II) based on different tripod amines derived from heterocyclic bases.
  • Psychology Research (Cognition and Psycholinguistics Lab) under Dr. Brooke Breaux: Exploring language and its effects on behavior from a cognitive perspective.
  • Psychology Research (Zebrafish Lab) under Dr. Erika Caramillo-Hatch: Exploring the neural basis of cognition, learning, memory, and Alzheimer's disease using Zebrafish as a model.


College of Education & Human Development

Bailey Nguyen

I am a freshman majoring in Kinesiology (pre-professional studies concentration) with a minor in Biology and Psychology. Some fun facts about me are that I love reading, I am biethnic, and I watch all Youtube videos at 2x speed. A personal statement of mine is to always try to listen and learn more. Along with majoring in Kinesiology, I am also in school to get my medical assistant license. After graduating UL Lafayette, I plan on getting a Masters in Physician Assisting to especially help communities who feel underserved and uneducated about their health. Education has always been super important to me as a first generation college student and I want to try my best to make sure everyone has access to it. A goal of mine when I become an alumni is to financially aid fellow women of color who want to pursue a higher education.
I am so honored to be an Advanced Student Ambassador and to represent the College of Education and Human Development because this program provides so many resources and opportunities for students who want to pursue a higher education or just have a genuine interest in research. I firmly believe in the wise words of Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world." I believe in the importance of higher education with the opportunities, skills, and careers it can provide.
I am currently working under Dr. Shuichi Sato in the Kinesiology department focusing on the effects of cancer on muscle physiology. Research to me does not feel like work but more of a sense of personal fulfillment and I hope to help others discover their love for research as well!

College of Engineering

Mynmayh Khamvongsa

I am a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering, and minors in Chemistry and Materials Engineering. I enjoy reading, learning languages, and fashion designing. After graduating UL Lafayette, I plan to go to grad school for a PhD in Chemical Engineering to make a career in the biomedical field in research and development. Eventually, I want to obtain my PE license and open my own research firm making artificial blood.

Since I first entered UL Lafayette, I have had the incredible opportunity to do research in engineering labs, resulting in 4+ years of laboratory experience. I have worked under:

  • Dr. Charles Taylor in his Cajun Artificial Heart (CAHL) Lab on creating blood analog fluids for mock circulatory loop.
  • Dr. Tanvir Faisal in his Musculoskeletal Mechanics & Multiscale Materials (4M) Lab on studying mechanical properties of material composites for bone scaffolds.
  • Dr. William Chirdon’s in his chemical engineering lab for my honors thesis on mimicking the rheology of sickle cell anemia with synthetic fluids for applications in medical research.

I am honored to be an Advance Ambassador and incredibly excited to show that anyone can do research. I'm passionate about helping others learn about the incredible research opportunities available and how it can further themselves and result in a rewarding experience. I am grateful for the opportunities I had, and I want to pay it forward.


College of Liberal Arts

Emily DeGruise

I am a junior from Thibodaux, LA majoring in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. Outside of school, I enjoy baking, reading, and watching movies. I am very excited to be serving as a Lead Advance Ambassador to help connect the program with the students and faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and the University as a whole. I have been involved in The Achievement and Social Cognition (TASC) research lab for the past two years. I contributed to research on academic cheating with the group and am currently working on my own research involving the use of corporal punishment. After graduating, I plan to attend graduate school to study Medicine, Occupational Therapy, or Psychology. I hope that my time here helps contribute to our growing research as a university and supports other students in their journey to discovering their own passion for research.

College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Emo’ni Mitchell

I am currently a second-semester sophomore Nursing major. Along with pursuing my Bachelor’s in Nursing, I am working on completing a minor in Spanish and fulfilling my requirements for an Honors Baccalaureate Degree. I am grateful to become an Advance Research Ambassador because this will help me further my goals of becoming the best version of myself for my current patients as a Nurse Technician and, hopefully, my future patients in my overall career as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Right now, I have only researched on my own. However, I am super excited about working with the Student Center for Research, Creativity, & Scholarship Department to build on my research capabilities. I know that I will be able to accomplish magnificent work through this unique role, and I plan to continue to work with them through my graduation.

Research is an integral part of our everyday lives, and it is what allows us to create better options and solutions and make the right decision for all the things we have and the choices we make in life. More specifically, in Nursing, research is what helps us find the best evidence-based practice for our patients to ensure that they are getting the highest level of care that they need and deserve. My opportunities as a research ambassador for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences span far and wide. Some of these opportunities that I have as a research ambassador include:
  • Furthering my knowledge and research experience.
  • Networking with faculty, students, and different communities.
  • Finding ways to improve healthcare.
  • Identifying disparities in healthcare to bridge the gap between them.
  • Building knowledge of diverse cultures.
I have never imagined or intended for research to become a passion of mine. Still, it has, and it is empowering to know that you can thoroughly research and build information on things that you would not know about otherwise. I believe the sky is the limit, and sometimes you must be the change you want to see in the world. Combining these two ideals with my family’s encouragement and my sheer determination to impact whomever I can, I plan to bring about positive changes to the world for myself and others – and research is one of the many ways I hope to accomplish this goal.


Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

Moiz Fazal-ur-Rehman

Ray P. Authement College of Science
Department of Biology and Microbology

I am a sophomore majoring in Biology (Pre-Medicine concentration) and a minor in chemistry. My hobbies consist of singing, reading, and watching premier league soccer and formula one. I am very excited to be an Advance Student Ambassador because I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in research that allows them to pursue and focus on their dream. After graduation, I plan on going to medical school where I can pursue my dream of helping those in need. I am currently writing an honors thesis about my research that I am performing in Dr. Ritwij Kulkarni's lab. My research focuses on a bacterium, known as Klebsiella Pneumoniae, and how it affects diabetic patients by causing urinary tract infections. I encourage everyone to participate in research because it allows students to get a head start on what they want to do in the future. In my next few years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I will be continuing my research on urinary tract infections, and I also hope to promote undergraduate research in the college of sciences, as well as other departments at the University.

University College

Kirstin Wilson

I am a Sophomore majoring in Elementary Education. After I graduate, I plan to further my education by pursuing my master’s in Educational Leadership. My career goal is to become an Elementary School Principal.  I enjoy reading, sports, the outdoors, and spending time with my friends and family. I am passionate about helping the next generation reach their full potential. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in a Research Symposium where I presented research on Adverse Childhood Experiences and their effects on students in the classroom. I look forward to furthering that research this year as well as helping others develop their own research.