In his role directing the public health honors research course, Dr. Brandon Brown has had the opportunity to mentor a number of undergraduate researchers. In return for his guidance, Dr. Brown benefits from the energy and enthusiasm they provide. Through their hard work, his students develop strong skills that will benefit them throughout graduate school and their future careers. All of the students he has mentored have received funding for their research, and many have had the opportunity to present their work at scientific conferences and to be published in research journals. UROP salutes Dr. Brown for the positive impact his mentorship has had on the lives of his students.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

As the undergraduate director of public health, I am well aware the high capacity of hard working students to conduct faculty mentored research. With their enthusiasm, students can achieve anything once they are provided with the proper skills. I direct the public health honors research course, where the most excellent public health students conduct faculty mentored research projects, and all students have been successful in obtaining research funding. Many of the projects I have directed relate to HIV and HPV prevention among marginalized and stigmatized groups. As the director of GHREAT (Global Health Research, Education, and Translation), I lead the global health capacity development at UC Irvine, which is an ongoing project with many student opportunities.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

When selecting undergraduate students for research, I look for self-starters and learners, a history of innovative thinking, and an interest in global health. I expect students to commit to working hard, to meet deadlines which they themselves set, and to learn the benefits of teamwork. I provide students with the tools for success, and expect them to put in the time and effort for achieving their goals with my assistance.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

I meet with my students usually on a weekly basis, and have an open door policy when they have questions. I am also very responsive via e-mail, to rapidly answer questions and remove barriers to student efforts. During in-person meetings, students bring an agenda and we cover all questions, concerns, and next steps. I always keep students informed of new opportunities in research, conferences, and funding.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

My students have received strong letters of recommendation which have helped them enter competitive graduate programs. They have also held leadership roles on campus, presented their work at domestic and international conferences and symposia, received UROP funding, and published in peer reviewed journals. My aim is to facilitate the formation of strong skills and successful careers for the students I take on for undergraduate research projects, as many will be my peers in the future.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

My greatest benefit from guiding undergraduates in research and projects has been their energy. I am able to pass on knowledge and research skills to the students. In return, they provide enthusiasm, time, and energy which help us complete and take on new projects together.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

I recommend that students embarking on research projects become very familiar with their faculty mentors’ work prior to starting a research project. Students should discuss things like time commitments, expectations, potential opportunities, and their own goals for the research up front with the faculty mentor.

Research Interests: HPV, HIV, STDs, cervical cancer, genital warts, female sex workers, MSM, vaccines

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '12 James C. Earthman
Nov. '12 Kenneth J. Shea
Oct. '12 Jeanett Castellanos
Sep. '12 Barry Siegel
Aug. '12 Martha L. Mecartney
Jul. '12 Brandon Brown
Jun. '12 Wayne Sandholtz
May. '12 Farghalli A. Mohamed
Apr. '12 Susan T. Charles
Mar. '12 Katherine Faust
Feb. '12 Donald R. Blake
Jan. '12 Elizabeth Cauffman