Professor Wirachin Hoonpongsimanont finds that the student researchers she mentors inspire her through their curiosity and enthusiasm. By mentoring a number of undergraduates, she has also come to realize the great achievements students can reach if they receive a high level of guidance, encouragement and support. UROP is please to recognize Professor Hoonpongsimanont for her commitment to supporting the undergraduate researchers she mentors.

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

I have been involved in mentoring undergraduate research through the Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program (EMRAP) since 2012 as part of my fellowship training. The EMRAP provides undergraduate students with a unique opportunity to contribute directly to research projects by working with patients, families, and physicians to obtain consent and collect data for multiple studies. The EMRAP students inspire me with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I oversee all Emergency Department research projects that require EMRAP involvement. Every project is clinical and patient related research with various focuses including injury prevention, ultrasound, trauma etc.

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

I look for undergraduate students who commit to learning multiple perspectives of research and are willing to put in more than what the program asks for. We expect our EMRAP students to have excellent work ethics, be professional at all time and be respectful of colleagues and others.

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

I do not have a general style in mentoring. I usually tailor my mentoring style to fit each student’s needs, as some might need micromanagement and some only general direction and support. However, I set the limits and clear expectations to every student on things like my research playground rules such as honesty, integrity, punctuality and commitment to do research.

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

I have seen students develop many important characteristics, including being responsible, professional and good team players. They have improved their communication, public presentation and problem-solving skills. Many students moved on to attend medical school or a Masters’ program, work as a research coordinator or enter the medical journal publishing business.

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

I have learned that everyone has the potential to success and what we need to do is to give him or her opportunities to grow under adequate support and guidance. Patience is a key to succeed in mentoring for me.

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

Do not afraid to commit yourself to a new task. Everyone can learn and so can you. However, once you commit to it, stick with it and get it done!!

Research Interests: Medical education, Alcohol screening, Behavioral emergency, Injury prevention

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '16 Miryha Gould Runnerstrom
Nov. '16 Allison Perlman
Oct. '16 John Billimek
Sep. '16 Wayne B. Hayes
Aug. '16 Aimee Lara Edinger
Jul. '16 Katherine Mackey
Jun. '16 Daniel Whiteson
May. '16 Wirachin Hoonpongsimanont
Apr. '16 Michael T. Goodrich
Mar. '16 Lonnie R. Alcaraz
Feb. '16 Kimberley D. Lakes
Jan. '16 Rocío Rosales