Friday, July 31, 2009
Talk about landing a great summer gig.
That's what 11 UC Merced undergrad students did when they were selected as interns in UC Merced's Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP).
The students aren't sitting behind desks or pushing papers, either. So far, they led visitors on tours and joined search and rescue missions.
YLP is one of several unique educational programs held at UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI).
“The idea is to give them a wide variety of internship opportunities in the park for both science and non-science students,” said Eric Berlow, director of the Wawona Field Station at SNRI.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Prospective students interested in learning more about the courses offered, meeting some of the instructors and talking to other students can attend an information session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25 at the UC Merced Center, located at 550 E. Shaw Ave. in Fresno. The session is a free.
Fall offerings will include professional courses, such as drug treatment counseling for women, psychology of weight reduction, career opportunities in biotechnology, essentials of human resources, paralegal studies, project management, advanced computer systems and programming, fundamentals of green building, LEED and solar energy.
UC Merced Center in Fresno
Monday, July 27, 2009
“While many universities have been forced to reduce enrollment growth, we are able to maintain our enrollment while continuing to offer students the services, classes and individual attention they need,” said Kevin Browne, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management. “That is something students and their families are finding reassuring in these uncertain times.”
Office of Communications
UC Merced junior Evelyn Hoyo is having quite the summer.
In addition to studying overseas in Japan, Hoyo, an engineering major, is one of eight California college students picked to participate in the 2009 Student Ambassador Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The program gives students at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS) an opportunity to volunteer 100 hours of their time to a USDA agency. An HIS-designated campus is one where Hispanics comprise 25 percent of the total enrollment.
The goals of the student ambassador program are to further students' educational goals, give them professional work experience and let them explore career options within the USDA.
Ambassadors were selected based on their interest in public service, demonstrated leadership and intellectual curiosity of the USDA. During their tenure, they also serve as a resource to other students interested in the the USDA. Upon the program's completion, participating students receive the President's Volunteer Service Award.
Participating students also receive financial sponsorship to attend the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities' (HACU) annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in October.
Research funding is usually a mix of grants and gifts from federal, state and private sources. UC Merced’s sources last year included the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Department of Agriculture and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
The university received 85 awards amounting to $22,827,488. The amount marked a 39 percent increase in research funds compared to the $16.3 million received in 2007-2008. Those funds, received between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, are being used in a number of innovative projects to benefit the state, national and global community.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Now add “entrepreneur” to his list of accolades.
Three months ago, Bali opened his own tutoring company. Bali Learning Center offers individual and group tutoring in all subjects for students from kindergarten through high school. The center will begin SAT exam preparation classes in August.
Bali Learning Center operates out of the First Baptist Church Campus, 500 Buena Vista Dr., Merced. For information: www.balilearning.com or 209-201-6850.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
A total of 85 awards, amounting to $22,827,488, came in between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, approximately 39 percent more than the $16.3 million received in fiscal year 2007-08.
“We are proud of our faculty’s growing success in obtaining grants that are vital to UC Merced’s core mission as a research university,” said Samuel Traina, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. “Research is the cornerstone the University of California and we are pleased that UC Merced continues to garner strong funding.”
UC Merced’s research strengths cover an array of fields, most notably climate change, solar and renewable energy, water quality and resources, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and biomedical topics including stem cell and cancer research.
The $22.8 million in grant and award funds came from a variety of federal, state and private sources including: the National Science Foundation, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and the California Institute for Energy and the Environment.
Donna Birch Trahan
UC Merced Office of Communications
Open Source for America strives to effect change in government to encourage broader support of open source technologies and the open source development community. As a member of the coalition, UC Merced has pledged to support the organization’s mission and its founding principles.
“We are very pleased to welcome UC Merced in joining our cause and look forward to their active involvement in articulating the true value open source delivers to the U.S. government,” said David Thomas, a spokesman for the Open Source for America campaign.
To learn more about Open Source for America, please visit: http://opensourceforamerica.org.
Donna Birch Trahan
UC Merced Office of Communications
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
A team of researchers from University of California campuses in Merced and Santa Cruz hope to change that when it comes to vocabulary. They believe they have created a new approach to assessing vocabulary that not only shows how students improve in their understanding of words, but also helps teachers assess the finer points of comprehension.
The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded $2.3 million to Jack Vevea of UC Merced, and Judith Scott and Susan Flinspach of UC Santa Cruz to develop and examine this new assessment method on a large scale with fourth- and fifth-graders across California.
The main difference between the method currently used in schools and the one proposed by these researchers is that the new method explores various levels of knowledge using words from textbooks and novels that students are likely to encounter in class
Thursday, July 16, 2009
OAKLAND -- An estimated 46,000 University of California students who were awarded state-funded Cal Grants will receive their grants in fall 2009 despite the current state budget impasse, UC President Mark Yudof announced today (July 16).
"Despite the ongoing budget impasse in Sacramento, we need to make sure our Cal Grant recipients receive the funds they have been promised," said Yudof. "These students, all of whom have financial need, rely on Cal Grants to pay for their fees and cover other expenses such as, books and housing. Their ability to enroll at UC should not be endangered by a late state budget."
Yudof said the university, on a temporary basis, will use funds from short-term accounts to cover the estimated $125 million in Cal Grants for fall term with the expectation that state will reimburse the university once the Legislature and governor adopt a final state budget.
He also called on the state to honor its commitment to provide Cal Grant funds that fully cover UC's fees, and warned that financial access to UC for low-income students would be threatened if the state reduces or eliminates funding for the Cal Grants program.
Yudof said the university's decision applies only to Cal Grant awards for fall 2009, and that any future decisions regarding Cal Grants will be made within the context of UC's overall budget situation and state funding for the program.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Field specialists like UC Merced's Maurizio Forte use high-tech instruments and archaeological data to digitally record and preserve buildings, landscapes and artifacts. The end result is a complex representation of history that can stand the test of time.
“A 3-D object in virtual reality can be ‘handled’ in ways the real object cannot," Forte says. "A fragile basket becomes transportable and can be rotated and turned upside down for closer scrutiny without risk of damage. Scientific analysis, like calculating the volume of the basket, becomes precise because all of the data is available in digital format."
Forte, who has digitally preserved ruins in Italy and China, recently brought his research a little closer to home with the help of students in his world heritage class. Together, they visited Fort Ross to record the California state park and potentially create interactive teaching tools for school children.
“Animating the living artifacts creates a different experience," Forte added. "It changes learning from a static or passive experience to an interactive one because they can move the objects, see them in original context and experience how people used specific tools."
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Zi Wang, Christina Nguyen, Nabanita Rashidee and Therese Anderson have all worked as research assistants in the lab of health psychologist Anna Song. Song's area of expertise is risk behaviors in teens, and her main focuses are choices regarding tobacco use and early sexual initiation.
“I chose to do research on sexual initiation in teens because my goal is to go to medical school, and this topic is borderline pediatric medicine; there’s a lot of crossover,” Wang said.
Two years into her college career, Nguyen is hoping to graduate a year early and work on a doctorate in psychology.
“UC Merced is a brand-new university with the latest technologies and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Nguyen. “I have learned so much from doing research with Dr. Song.”
Her focus is on attitudes about the risk of pregnancy among young adults, and how that factors into their behaviors. “What made the research interesting to me,” she said, “was that it was something I have always been curious about. If people didn’t want to risk pregnancy and knew the importance of protection and contraception, why don’t they use it?”
According to Westerling, the Western U.S. is experiencing warmer and drier weather, which has extended the fire season by about two months.
“On the back end of the fire season we can expect it to go longer, as it gets drier. It takes more moisture at the end of the fire season to wet fuels and end the fire danger,” Westerling said during the teleconference. “We can also expect the fire season to start earlier, because of the earlier snow melt and greater evaporation.”
The state will face some severe wildfire risks in the years ahead, Westerling added. “California can expect to see a 100 to 300 percent increase in wildfires in a large part of northern California forests by the end of this century.”
Wednesday’s teleconference was sponsored by the Wilderness Society, whose mission is to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Westerling publishes an annual fire forecast on his lab Web site at: https://wildfire.ucmerced.edu/forecast
UC Merced Office of Communications
Monday, July 6, 2009
The flags, which were first displayed during the campus’ grand opening ceremony and again in May at commencement, represent the university's cultural diversity. They are a symbol of the university's ongoing commitment to building community in the midst of a diverse population.
Past Rotary donations have included boulder benches in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad and tricycles and helmets to UC Merced's new Early Childhood Education Center.
These teachers, fellows in UC Merced's Summer Invitational Institute, will spend four weeks honing their teaching skills sharing best practices with one another.
The institute is sponsored by the UC Merced Writing project, which has been teaching teachers throughout Merced County since 2000.
"If UC Merced's goal was to increase the college-going culture of the San Joaquin Valley, we knew we had to give teachers a way to study the latest research and effective classroom practices," Director Pauline Sahakian said.
This summer, teachers from Atwater, Merced, Los Banos and Winton are participating in the program."These are busy professionals dedicated to improving their own writing skills, as well as their teaching practices," Sahakian said. "Our program gives them the opportunity to improve themselves as teachers and then to pay it forward."
Upon completion of the institute, fellows become Teacher Consultants and serve as Teacher Leaders for the Project throughout the academic year and in future workshops, such as the Saturday Outreach Series.
UC Merced’s robotics team took top honors at last weekend’s RoboCup Rescue Simulation competition in Graz, Austria.
Core developers Ben Balaguer, Derek Burch and Roger Sloan spent long hours developing controls and coding robots to conduct search-and-rescue missions in an urban-disaster simulation. Andreas Kolling also supplied coding. That work paid off when the team took first place in the finals on Sunday.
Headed by Professor Stefano Carpin, UC Merced competed against 10 teams from the following seven countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Iran, China and Austria.