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Departmental Research Assistantship (DRA)

The Departmental Research Assistantship (DRA) Program is a new Division of Student Success partnership—between Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (URF) and UT academic departments—designed to increase research employment for Pell-eligible and First-Generation UT undergraduate students.

The DRA program aims to strengthen relationships and communication between URF and all academic departments, to improve recognition of the role of undergraduate research faculty mentors, and to measure student demand for undergraduate research opportunities and the supply of opportunities available across campus.

In Spring 2022, its pilot semester, the DRA program supported 64 undergraduates, each of whom was hired by an academic department to work as a paid student assistant on a faculty research or creative project.

  • Advertising and Public Relations: Matthew Pittman
  • Africana Studies: Danielle Procope Bell and Amadou Sall
  • Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communications: Shelli Rampold
  • Agricultural and Resource Economics: Jada Thompson and Carlos Trejo-Pech
  • Animal Science: Sarah Moorey
  • Anthropology: Charlesie Davis, Lee Jantz, Joanne Devlin, Giovanna Vidoli, and Kandace Hollenbach
  • Art: Jered Sprecher
  • Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology: Rachel McCord
  • Business Analytics and Statistics: Allen Pannell
  • Chemical Engineering: Eric Boder
  • Chemistry: Joshua Baccile
  • Child and Family Studies: Lori Caudle, Margaret Quinn, and Spencer Olmstead
  • Civil Engineering: Jon Hathaway
  • Classics: Jessica Westerhold
  • Communication Studies: Courtney Wright
  • Earth & Planetary Sciences: Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, Mike McKinney, Andrew Steen, and Bradley Thomson
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology: Karen Hughes and Stephanie Kivlin
  • English: Hilary Havens and DeLisa Hawkes
  • Finance: Scott Roark
  • Geography: Mayra Rivera-Roman
  • History: Chad Black, Ernest Freeberg, and Shellen Wu
  • Interior Architecture: Felicia Dean and Liz Teston
  • Journalism and Electronic Media: Nick Geidner
  • Kinesiology: Jared Porter
  • Marketing: Sophie Xiao
  • Materials Science and Engineering: Bin Hu
  • Mathematics: Tuoc Phan
  • Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering: Bryan Good
  • Microbiology: Chunlei Su
  • Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures: Annachiara Mariani
  • Music: Nathan Fleshner
  • Nuclear Engineering: Ondrej Chvala
  • Nursing: Susan Hebert
  • Nutrition: Guoxun Chen
  • Philosophy: Georgi Gardiner
  • Physics: Yuri Kamyshkov and George Siopsis
  • Plant Sciences: David Butler
  • Political Science: Anthony Nownes and Gary Uzonyi
  • Psychology: Kristy Allen, Sarah Lamer, and Kalynn Schulz
  • Public Health: Jiangang Chen
  • Religious Studies: Helene Sinnreich
  • Social Work: Bill Nugent
  • Sociology: Shaneda Destine
  • Theory and Practice in Teacher Education: Janine Al-Aseer

JULY 2022 UPDATE: Based on the success of the pilot, the DRA has been approved as a permanent URF program and awarded recurring funding. The Spring 2023 DRA solicitation will go out to departments this fall. In the meantime, if you have questions about the DRA program, please e-mail