Early Identification Program

2015-2016 Presidential Scholars

Lael Wentland
Lael Wentland is a senior majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Global Health. Lael started researching in the Wendy Thomas lab before her freshman year where she found out how wonderful Bioengineering could be. She has continued researching in this lab focusing on how to create switchable recognition proteins and has been a two time recipient of the Mary Gates Scholarship and a Goldwater scholar nominee. These proteins, with the ability to specifically control their binding, have the potential to improve diagnostic capabilities and imagining techniques. In addition to research, Lael works as a Bioengineering Peer Advisor, speaking with incoming students on joining the major and finding research. Her long term goal is to earn a PhD in Bioengineering with a focus on global health diagnostics. With this newfound passion for global health, she has played a hand in the RSO Bioengineers without Borders as the Vice President of Internal Affairs and spent last summer in Tanzania repairing medical equipment. In the future, she hopes to combine her design skills and knowledge of human health to create meaningful and accessible diagnostics.


Jamie Nunez

Hello! My name is Jamie Nunez and I am a senior in the Bioengineering department. My research is based on creating a device that can be used to study a disease called Bacterial Endocarditis, an inflammation on the inner lining of the heart caused by bacteria. I am very excited to see what I learn from this project! Outside of research, I am a math tutor at CLUE, a member of Bioengineering Outreach, am getting into Latin dance, and love horror movies! Receiving this award was a great honor and I would really to thank EIP for supporting my research!


J. Smith Photo

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer is a senior double majoring in History and the Comparative History of Ideas, with a minor in American Indian Studies. As a non-traditional student that started a family and worked in the horse racing industry prior to returning to school, Jennifer attributes her academic success to her desire to be a positive role model to her children. Moreover, her previous experience with horses— coupled with her passion for understanding Indigenous histories— has aided in shaping her research. Currently, Jennifer is exploring the ways in which the Yakama Nation fostered meaningful relationships with horses as a means to resist rapid change that defined much of the early reservation era.
In addition to being a mother and student, Jennifer works as a Peer Adviser in Undergraduate Advising and Affairs, is an Undergraduate Research Leader, a two-time Mary Gates Scholar, and a 2015-2016 Faye Wilson Scholarship recipient. Jennifer hopes to continue with her education as a History graduate student in the fall of 2016. In doing so, she endeavors to make meaningful and collaborative contributions to academia that facilitates a better understanding of comparative Indigenous histories and experiences.