WARF Ambassador Program

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) Ambassador Program enhances the vital connection between research on campus and technology transfer. Engaging students to serve as WARF Ambassadors augments WARF's visibility and presence among researchers on campus.

WARF Ambassadors receive training in WARF's technology transfer process and learn how to access resources offered by WARF and other campus organizations designed to support technology development and entrepreneurial activity. They spend five to 10 hours per month promoting awareness of WARF's role across campus and WARF's engagement with campus research through departmental seminars, informal contacts and more.

In addition, the ambassadors bring a new dimension to WARF's inventor mining project, which was developed to identify those scientists on campus who are creating potential inventions through innovative research but may not be familiar with WARF. The ambassadors are able to talk directly with graduate students and researchers in the labs and check out research posters throughout campus buildings.

Current Ambassadors


Kate Helmich

Department: Biochemistry
Major Professor: John Ralph
Email: [email protected]
Background: Researches the structural characterization of several enzymes relevant to the use of cellulosic biomass as a fuel source; mentors undergraduates and teachers in independent research projects through the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center's education and outreach initiatives.


Shannon C. Roberts

Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering
Major Professor: John D. Lee
Email: [email protected]
Background: Studies driver distraction methods and mitigation with a particular focus on teenage drivers and feedback techniques to change driving behavior; previously served as the UW–Madison president-elect of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.


Hillary St. John

Department: Biochemistry
Major Professor: J. Wes Pike
Email: [email protected]
Background: Uses high throughput techniques in combination with molecular biology tools to investigate the transcriptional regulation of osteocytes (bone cells) by the active form of vitamin D; led Saturday morning science camps at UW Space Place and attended the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp.