Friday, August 28, 2009
“I didn’t think about going to college,” said Martinez, who grew up in East Los Angeles. “I didn’t even think that I could.”
A friend, however, thought otherwise and suggested enrolling in community college. A year after he graduated from Garfield High School, Martinez enrolled at East Los Angeles Community College. While there, he read a book, "Einstein for Beginners," that changed his life and put him on a path to higher education.
Martinez is now pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at UC Merced. He’s also one of two students to receive the university’s Faculty Mentor Program Fellowship (FMP) for the 2009-10 school year.
The fellowship helps recipients acquire and develop advanced research skills while working under a faculty member’s guidance.
Martinez's mentor is professor Raymond Chiao, an award-winning atomic, molecular and optical physicist with joint appointments in the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences.
“UC Merced has really allowed me to spread my wings,” Martinez said. "Working with my professors (has) opened my mind and has given me the confidence I need to become a physicist.”
Up until now, most new students were introduced to the UC Merced Library by way of their Writing 1 courses and live instruction by library staff. With increasing enrollment each year, librarians realized that in-person instruction wouldn’t be sustainable, and they were compelled to come up with an alternative.
After hearing about a successful iPod Touch library orientation created by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, they were inspired to begin looking into producing an iPod library tour for UC Merced students.
Librarians developed video content and prepared a storyboard for the project. Video production was completed almost entirely by library student assistants.
The video tour directs students through the library’s book stacks, self-checkout stations, study rooms and offices.
Monday, August 24, 2009
As UC Merced prepares for the first day of classes, tomorrow, Aug. 25, it's clear the newest campus in the University of California system of research universities is thriving.
"As we celebrate our fifth birthday, we are proud of the growing contribution UC Merced is making to the region, state and world," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "We are a thriving research university with a future-focused, student-centered learning environment ideally suited to today's students."
Of the 3,200 students expected on campus this year, officials estimate about 1,000 are freshmen and about 230 are graduate students. About 1,200 of those students will live on campus in residence halls and suites.
One on-campus resident is Ronald Magpantay, 17, of Norwalk. The incoming freshman, who is still mulling over his choice of majors, is one of UC Merced's Regents' Scholars. Regents' scholarships are the highest award UC students can receive. Recipients are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and exceptional promise.
Magpantay was valedictorian of his high school and a standout player on the varsity tennis team. He says he chose UC Merced for the chance to be part of something different.
"I liked the fact that it's a new campus; it gives students lots of opportunities to start new programs," he said.
For more information on what's new at UC Merced this semester, including new faculty and other developments, click here: http://bit.ly/499uM9
According to Leslie Santos, director of housing and residence life, about 75 percent of on-campus students moved into residence halls and suites on Friday.
"I think this was our smoothest move-in day to date," she said. "We had lines from time to time, but for the most part, everything flowed easily and efficiently."
Though classes won’t begin until Tuesday, the students now on campus have plenty to keep them occupied over the weekend.
"There won’t be a dull moment," Santos said.
Today is a big day for incoming students. Convocation, the annual “welcome back” celebration for students, will take place at 1 p.m. in the Lakireddy Auditorium. After new students cross Scholars Lane Bridge, everyone will proceed to the auditorium, where Chancellor Steve Kang will deliver his annual State of the University address, and the student government and Graduate Student Association presidents will deliver welcoming remarks. An ice cream social will follow the event.
Aside from classes starting on Tuesday, that is also the official Welcome Week kickoff. The Office of Student Life organizes a series of events every year to welcome students back each fall, and also to introduce them to campus life and opportunities for involvement.
This year's main event will feature cast members from MTV's "The Real World: Brooklyn and Hawaii." Ruthie, JD and Katelynn will host a roundtable discussion on LGBT culture and confront issues of tolerance. The discussion will be from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Lakireddy Auditorium.
On Thursday, there will be a campus-wide block party in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad from 5 to 8 p.m. Students will enjoy a barbecue dinner and musical entertainment from Centrevol and other popular local bands.
View Welcome Week activities.
Even before graduating, the two knew they would apply to graduate schools. But first, they wanted gain more research experience. Both worked successfully with UC Merced professors in their laboratories and gained valuable hands-on experience. Seeking additional research opportunities would prove even more beneficial.
The biological sciences graduates applied for the National Institutes of Health’s Postbaccalaureate Intramural Training Award (ITRA) program. Both were selected.
The ITRA provides opportunities for recent college graduates planning to attend graduate or medical school to spend up to two years engaged in biomedical research at the NIH. Trainees work directly with some of the world’s leading scientists in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. According to the NIH, the IRTA program is highly competitive. Less than 10 percent of applicants were selected in the past year.
Kellom, from Livermore, will spend the next two years working in the National Institute on Aging’s brain physiology and metabolism section. Swendsen, of El Cerrito, is researching migraines and their connection with mood and anxiety disorders.Read More.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Phillips and a group of researchers are defining some of the first tools for studying these proteins – often referred to as unstructured proteins. Existing tools for analyzing molecular dynamic trajectories are not well suited to processes such as protein folding, which is why Phillips gravitated to this area of research.
“Though scientists have been trying to figure out unstructured proteins for decades, they are still a great mystery for biologists,” Phillips said.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
That statistic, reported in Fall 2008, is largely due to the efforts of UC Merced’s Center for Educational Partnerships. Established in 2002, CEP is a comprehensive student academic preparation and educational partnership with the goal of effecting long-range improvement in the education of San Joaquin Valley students. CEP’s ultimate goal has been to increase the number of area students eligible to attend institutions of higher education.
MERCED, Calif. – Researchers at UC Merced and sister campuses Berkeley and Santa Barbara have received a five-year $2.25 million grant that will fund a new solar energy research program.
California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (CAST) is one of 37 multicampus research programs and initiatives that received funding from the UC Office of the President. CAST will serve as a platform for a variety of solar energy projects.
Professor Roland Winston, a founding faculty member who is a presidential endowed chair in the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences, will serve as director.
Winston invented the field of non-imaging optics and has received numerous awards for his research in this area and its applications to the solar energy field.
Some of the broad categories CAST researchers will cover include development of novel photovoltaic devices, which convert sunlight into electricity, and thermal energy for cooling of buildings, industry and other applications.
“UC Merced’s location in the San Joaquin Valley provides many ideal settings for the development and utilization of solar energy,” Winston said. “Solar energy is, by far, the most abundant of all renewable energy resources and development of technologies to harness and use that resource is an important topic for California and the world.”
Donna Birch Trahan
Office of Communications
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The event is part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Initiative director Juan Sepulveda and Merced College President Benjamin T. Duran are hosting the event.
The community conversations will allow participants to voice their opinions on how Latino education attainment can and should be improved, and what the White House Initiative should be doing to accomplish those goals. Information gleaned from both sessions will be recorded and collected to be used as the foundation for a new presidential executive order that will govern the White House Initiative.
RSVPs are required by Wednesday, Aug. 19, to participate in the forum, which is hosted by Merced College. Contact Stacey Kellner at 209-384-6100 or email@example.com, to reserve a space at the session of your preference. For information on the event: Glorimar M. Nosal, 202-401-0078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those are just a few examples of the work students in UC Merced's Yosemite Leadership Program and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) did this summer. On Friday, Aug. 14, students from both programs will discuss their experiences and give presentations on their research during the Sierra Nevada Research Institute's Student Symposium 2009.
The event, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will be held in the East Auditorium, Yosemite Valley. It is free and open to the public.
Donna Birch Trahan
UC Merced Office of Communications
Monday, August 10, 2009
The group that toured UC Merced looked like typical students visiting campus for the first time. But they weren’t here to enjoy the scenery. There were here to learn more about renewable power.
Twenty-six students from seven universities in California and Denmark came to UC Merced as part of the 2009 LoCal Renewable Energy Summer Research Program. The program, now in its second year, was developed to allow students to collaborate on and study renewable energy solutions in an interdisciplinary format.
The four-week intensive program, which started July 27 and continues through Aug. 21, allows participants to see state-of-the-art, industrial-scale renewable energy systems up close. This year’s focus is on solar, geothermal, wind and biofuel energy sources.
UC Merced’s participation in the LoCal program highlights another example of how as the first American research university of the 21st century, UC Merced is collaborating with other institutions, researchers and resources to collectively find solutions that will benefit not only the San Joaquin Valley and California but the world.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
When Asmeret Asefaw Berhe started college, her initial goal was to become a doctor.
But over time, she diverted her attention to research, focusing on the applied aspects of natural science. She left medicine behind and chose another career that is a bit more “grounded.”
She is a soil scientist.
Berhe joined UC Merced’s School of Natural Sciences earlier this year and teaches soil science courses and conducts research relating to terrestrial biogeochemistry.
At UC Merced, Berhe’s research aims to understand how changing environmental conditions affect vital soil processes.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Committees forming include: communications, fundraising, interest groups, membership, programs and scholarships. Individuals interested in learning more about UFC can contact Christine Howe at (209) 228-4138.
UFC was formed to foster collaboration between the campus and the community and help new faculty, staff and their families become familiar with the Merced area.
With more than 130 members on its roster, UFC is off to a strong start. Events have been well-attended with topics including “The Central Valley: The Valley of the World,” presented by Jan Goggans, UC Merced assistant professor of literature; “The Current Status of the State of California,” presented by state Sen. Jeff Denham; “Today’s Economy Plain and Simple: How We Got Here and Where We’re Going,” presented by Shawn Kantor, UC Merced professor of economics; and “Yosemite - Its Wonders Revealed,” presented by Steve Shackelton, chief ranger for Yosemite National Park.
Five prominent community leaders have been elected to the UFC Board of Directors. Founding directors are Jennifer West, president; Gaye Riggs, first vice president; Christine Long, second vice president; Carole Whitehill, treasurer; and Christie Hendricks, secretary.
Office of Communications
Twenty-six students from universities in Denmark and California are in Merced today and Tuesday for the LoCal Renewable Energy Research Program, an intensive four-week program that covers renewable energy technology, policy and entrepreneurship.
The group will visit research centers and renewable energy projects throughout Northern California. The scholars will hear about solar, geothermal, biomass and wind energy resources.
During their stop at UC Merced, the scholars will hear presentations on our campus' efforts in sustainability and renewable energy. Today, the group is at the campus' Castle facility. On Tuesday, they will spend the day at the main campus for more presentations and a campus tour.
Six UC Merced students participated in last year's program and visited Denmark to learn about that country's use of wind power as a renewable energy source. Denmark is known for its innovations in wind-generated energy.
Donna Birch Trahan
Office of Communications