Jennifer Cubeta, M.Ed.
Director, Undergraduate Biology Research Program

Jennifer is a University of Arizona and UBRP alumna who graduated from UA in 2000 with Bachelor’s degrees in biology and science education. She has been involved in science education ever since. After teaching life science at the middle school level for three years and serving as an academic advisor for UA’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology for ten years, Jennifer became the Assistant Director of UBRP in 2013 and then the Director of UBRP in January 2018, where she continues to enjoy helping college students learn science through research.  In her spare time, Jennifer loves to spend time with her family, cook, travel, and serve as a musician at her church.


Marisa Lester, M.S.
Assistant Program Director, Undergraduate Biology Research Program

Picture of Marisa LesterMarisa came to the University of Arizona in 2009 as a transfer student from Yavapai College. She holds two degrees from the University of Arizona, a bachelor’s in agricultural technology management and education and a master’s in agricultural education. Since graduating Marisa has worked as an academic advisor in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department and currently serves as Assistant Program Director for UBRP. Marisa enjoys working in the academic setting, especially working with college students. In her spare time, she enjoys playing strategy and video games, the outdoors, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog.


Vince Leon
Accountant, Undergraduate Biology Research Program and Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Biology

Vince LeonVince Leon is the UBRP accountant and payroll representative.  Vince has been a part of the University of Arizona community for over 30 years where he started as a student.  In February 2013, he transferred to the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  During his time at the University of Arizona, he has been the lead on different accounting systems at the University from beta tester to instructor. During his spare time, Vince enjoys spending time with his family, working out, reading, camping and bike riding.



Carol Bender
University Distinguished Outreach Professor

Carol BenderCarol came to the University of Arizona in 1988 and served as Director of UBRP and its affiliate programs from 1989-2017. She has watched UBRP grow from its promising beginning of 19 students and 13 faculty members in 1988 to its current size of 92 students and more than 250 faculty members.  Carol also spearheaded UA’s Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open! (BRAVO!) Program, through which experienced UBRP students participated in research abroad in 34 countries. Laboratories in both the developing and developed world were included in the project. In 2015, Carol launched the Prozkoumat! Program to support students doing parasitology research in Czech.  In addition to program planning, proposal development, and project administration, Carol enjoys travel and has visited several of the BRAVO! sites. She participated in the 1997 Fulbright-sponsored International Education Administrators Program in Japan and the 2011 Fullbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar in India.  In 2015 she was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.