CBC Undergraduate Outstanding Thesis Awardees

May 8, 2023
side-by-side photos of awardees Vanessa Addison, Allison Steedman, and Terese Kulangara

(left to right) Vanessa Addison, Allison Steedman, and Terese Kulangara

CBC is thrilled to announce the 2023 CBC Undergraduate Outstanding Thesis Award Recipients!

  • First Place, Vanessa Addison (Ross Buchan research group)
  • Second Place, Allison Steedman (Felicia Goodrum research group)
  • Third Place, Terese Kulangara (Richard Simpson research group)

Vanessa Addison

Vanessa Addison is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry as well as minors in Chemistry and Spanish. She is passionate about biomedical science and health education, with personal and professional goals to increase health literacy and provide aid to traditionally underserved communities.

Vanessa’s pursuits are motivated by her love for science and dedication to service. Throughout her time in college, Vanessa volunteered at the Sister Jose Women’s Homeless Shelter, helping to provide care and comfort to those in crisis. Inspired by her time at the shelter, she initiated a social media campaign to raise awareness about homelessness in Tucson. This experience served as a touchstone for her advocacy work within the Fight4HER organization, which campaigns for affordable and inclusive health justice reform.

In 2021, Vanessa began researching in the lab of Dr. Ross Buchan. Her efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis have culminated in an honors thesis, attendance at a national research meeting, and contributions to a scientific publication. She is very committed to enhancing STEM inclusivity and has served as a preceptor, organic chemistry tutor, and SALT Center tutor to achieve this goal in the academic environment. In particular, Vanessa’s involvement in CBC as an Ambassador and Peer Mentor has enabled her to advise a cohort of first-year students and engage in scientific communication.

Vanessa is a Merrill Freeman Medal recipient and was honored with the Michael A Wells Scholarship for excellence in research. She was recently named the CBC Outstanding Senior and is the overall College of Science Outstanding Senior. One of her greatest memories is having been crowned the University of Arizona Homecoming Queen. This fall, Vanessa will attend the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to pursue her M.D. as part of the 2027 class. Having been inspired by her CBC advisors and professors at the UA, her greatest aspiration is to integrate clinical practice and academic medicine, with the goal of pursuing a career in teaching medicine.

Terese Kulangara

Terese Kulangara is a Spring 2023 graduate with a B.S. in Biochemistry with Honors and minors in Family Studies & Human Development and Molecular & Cellular Biology.

In her time at the University of Arizona, she has served as a CBC Ambassador/Peer Mentor; a Research Associate with the Simpson Lab; a Learning Instructor for the Introductory Biology Labs (MCB 181L); the President/Founder of Dosed with Happiness; the Vice President and Secretary of Giving a Little Arizona Magic; a Research Associate Program Mentor at Banner University Medical Center - Tucson; a PATH Mentor for the W.A. Franke Honors College; a member of the Leadership Team at the Sarver Heart Center; a preceptor for Physics, Organic Chemistry, Introductory Biology, and Adolescence; and a volunteer with Body Positive Arizona.

In her free time, Terese enjoys lifting weights, baking, singing, and exploring different cafes and restaurants in Tucson. She is so grateful for all her professors, advisors, friends, and family members who have supported her unconditionally throughout her undergraduate career. 

My intentions after graduation are to pursue my MD at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix beginning this July 2023. 

Allison Steedman

After I graduate, I am going on a graduation trip to Italy with my family and plan on eating lots of gelato! I have also accepted a position working as a Research Technician at Scripps Research in San Diego and will start this summer.