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Meet the Team

Tracy Smith

Director of Undergraduate Research

Tracy Smith is the Director of Undergraduate Research. She founded HOUR in 2017 under the guidance and support of Denis Wirtz, Vice Provost for Research. Tracy began her career at Hopkins in 2011 in the Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT), moving into the Provost Office with Denis Wirtz in early 2014. In her role supporting Vice Provost for Research Wirtz, Tracy was given administration of the PURA program, established in 1993. HOUR grew from this program and the needs of undergraduates highlighted within.

Tracy received her BS in Business Administration specializing in Management from Nichols College in Dudley, MA. A passionate advocate for undergraduates, Tracy thrives in the role of supporting undergraduates and creating initiatives and opportunities to foster the undergraduate research community at Hopkins.

Deborah Buffalin

Program Manager

Deborah Buffalin joined the staff of HOUR in January 2020 as the office scaled up its resources and outreach on the Homewood campus. Deborah was a founding staff member of the JHU Digital Media Center, serving as office administrator and circulation manager for 18 years. As the supervisor of the cadre of students who ran the lab from noon-midnight every day, Deborah has been an integral part of the lives of thousands of students on the Homewood campus. At HOUR, Deborah supports Tracy in the team’s effort to provide quality resources and programming to students and prospective mentors.

Deborah earned a BA in architecture at Carnegie Mellon and has worked as an urban planner, community-based non-profit executive, and grant writer, but her favorite job is whatever she’s doing right now.

Taskin Forkan

Student Assistant, Class of 2021 Emeritus

Taskin Forkan is a senior majoring in neuroscience and psychology. Taskin joined the HOUR staff as a freshman during its inaugural year.  Taskin has excelled at managing the HOUR website layout and design, creating graphics for logos used on social media, promotional items, and the website. Taskin has provided personal insight as to undergraduate student needs, interests, and roadblocks allowing HOUR to target interactions more effectively with our limited staffing.

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