The UWM Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) opened in 2008 as a resource for undergraduates seeking on-campus research opportunities and faculty seeking enthusiastic, motivated undergraduate students with whom to collaborate. OUR programs, including the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), the Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program, the UR@UWM program for incoming students, the Course-Based Research Projects (CBRP), the Overseas Undergraduate Research Awards, the Conference Travel Awards, the Senior Excellence in Research Awards (SERA), the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, the annual campus-wide UWM Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the Students Exploring Equity at UWM seminar (SEE@UWM), are designed to connect students and faculty in collaborative research in all schools and colleges at UWM.

Office of Undergraduate Research Staff:

Nigel Rothfels, Director 

Nigel attended college at the University of Utah, received an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Harvard University, and has worked at UWM since 1994. He has held post-doctoral research fellowships from Princeton University, the Australian National University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has been a visiting research professor at the University of Oslo. He is the author of Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo (2002) and the editor of a cross-disciplinary collection of essays, Representing Animals (2002). In 2015, Elephant House, a collaboration with Emeritus Professor of Film Dick Blau, was published by Penn State University Press, and in the fall of 2021, his new book, Elephant Trails: A History of Animals and Cultures will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He is the founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at UWM.

Email:; Phone: (414) 229-6041

Kyla Esguerra, Deputy Director

Kyla Esguerra received her Master’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame and undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology from Hope College. At UWM, she was a Lecturer in the English department and with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program before becoming Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research in 2008, and Deputy Director in 2015. She has served as an elected Councilor in the Undergraduate Research Program Director division of the national Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and an elected member of the executive board of the Wisconsin System Council on Undergraduate Research (WiSCUR).  She is also part of the instructional team for the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. She has been active in academic staff governance committees at UWM and this year serves as Academic Staff Committee Chair. Off campus, she enjoys spending time with family and supporting local music.

Email:; Phone: (414) 229-2641

Tamara Long, Senior Advisor

Tamara Long is the Senior Advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Research and has been with the University since 2008. She is a lifelong Milwaukee resident and a proud alumna of UWM’s Peck School of the Arts receiving her BFA in graphic design. While attending UWM, Tamara went on to earn her Master of Management degree and began teaching at a local college. As an advisor for the OUR, Tamara is passionate about helping BIPOC students navigate UWM, helping them to connect to experiences that will aid in their success. Tamara serves as the PR Coordinator for the Multicultural Network and Secretary for the African Diaspora Council.

Email:; Phone: (414) 229-3250

Jessica Schuld, Programs Coordinator

Jessica has her BS in Biological Sciences from UWM and a Master’s in Administrative Leadership with a focus in Higher Education Administration. While completing her BS in Biology she received SURF funding working with Dr. Chuck Wimpee. After graduating, Jessica worked as a lab technician for UWM’s School of Public Health for four years before returning to earn her MS in Administrative Leadership. When she is not working, Jessica enjoys biking, ultra trail running, backpacking, gardening, and cooking for friends and family.

Email:; Phone: 414-251-5515

Sarah Rose-Rankin, Financial Specialist

Sarah received her BA in Journalism/Mass Communication from UWM.  She is excited to return to campus as the Financial Specialist in OUR working with undergraduates introducing and connecting them with interesting research opportunities. Sarah enjoys time with her family, cooking, and traveling.

Email:; Phone: (414) 229-5344

Alex Nelson

Alex is an undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, a prospective minor in Chemistry, and is following a Pre-Medicine trackHe became a research assistant as a sophomore after applying for SURF and now works alongside Dr. Gwon studying addiction psychotherapies for transitional age youth through UWM’s College of Nursing. His most recent research was on the development of a Computerized Attentional Bias Modification (CABM) training program to help teens and young adults disengage from the potent environmental cues presented by e-cigarette marketingHe plans to graduate in spring 202and pursue a career in internal medicine and community health.

Casey Roekle

Casey is an undergraduate student working on their Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics. They were involved in the UR@UWM program during the summer of 2018, working as a research assistant in the language acquisition lab in the linguistics department. They have continued working on various projects in this lab since then. Casey plans to graduate spring 2022 and continue on to graduate education, pursuing a career in speech therapy and research.