UC Merced students in lecturer Mark T. Harris' public sector management seminar met with state leaders late last month during a field trip to Sacramento. The trip may have opened doors for future students.
The 20 students met with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, visited with the California Assembly's Chief Clerk E. Dotson Wilson and met with staff members at StudentsFirst, a nonprofit student advocacy organization started by Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., chancellor of public schools.
Harris said Wilson was so impressed with the students that he wants to have a UC Merced student intern in his office every year alongside students from UC Davis and California State University, Sacramento.
Harris thanked Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani and her legislative aide Taylor Woolfork ('11) for helping make possible the trip and the group's introduction on the Assembly floor.
"Our campus community should be very proud of our students," Harris said. "They were well prepared, well spoken and reflected the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our campus. Our student delegation left key California decision makers with a very favorable impression of UC Merced."
Portia Mira considers herself lucky. Although the UC Merced senior was taken from her parents and spent five years in foster care, she said she and her sister are much better off than most.
"Most foster kids don't graduate from high school," said Mira, a biological sciences major. "We are fortunate we had great foster parents."
Mira, who was born in Modesto and raised in Merced, has worked hard to get ahead despite her past. She transferred to UC Merced from Merced College in August 2011 after some prompting from her husband, Jairo, who works in Dining Services on campus.
Cognitive science Professor Teenie Matlock has been named the McClatchy Chair in Communications at the University of California, Merced. Matlock’s appointment marks the first time the UC’s newest campus has filled the McClatchy Chair.
The McClatchy Company donated funds to create the endowed chair shortly after purchasing the Merced Sun-Star in 2004. The third-largest newspaper company in the United States, it runs 30 daily newspapers in 15 states. The company has a long history in California, beginning in 1857, after the end of the Gold Rush. In the San Joaquin Valley, McClatchy also owns the Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and Sacramento Bee.
The purpose of the endowment is to acknowledge an outstanding researcher in a media-related field and to support research on communications.
Professor Matlock was identified as the ideal candidate because her research gets at the very heart of communications: how people generate and understand meaning in a real-world context.
The inaugural group of students in the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education said their first year was challenging, but filled with reminders of why they want to serve their communities.
During the past academic year, the students — also known as the "Valley 5" — worked alongside primary care physicians, seeing patients in clinics and hospice. They also learned about health care issues and health care in the Valley, toured portions of the Valley, and took part in conferences and other activities with other medical students at UC Davis.
"On behalf of UC Merced and our partners at UC Davis School of Medicine and UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, congratulations to the 'Valley 5' for completing their first year," Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. "By training doctors who are committed to addressing the healthcare needs of the Valley, UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME is an immediate response to regional physician shortages while we continue with a long-term goal of an independently accredited medical school. We look forward to the sustained success of the 'Valley 5' and their ultimate return as practicing physicians."
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