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January 13, 2012


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Alumni Association Events

D.C. Dinner with Chancellor – Jan. 23

Orange County Happy Hour – Jan. 24

SJV UC Alumni Network Educators
      Reception – Jan. 26

Bay Area Happy Hour - Feb. 1

Alumni Highlight

Campus Finds Talented Staff
in its Alumni Pool

Ivan Noe

Ivan Noe


Since opening to freshman in 2005, UC Merced has produced more than 1,000 alumni. Some students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees. Others have entered the workforce near and far. But there’s a small population that has remained in Merced and has chosen to work at their alma mater.

“Some students are just too good to let go,” said Todd Van Zandt, Information Technology’s instructional and student services manager, about the students who started working for UC Merced while enrolled and then were hired as full-time employees after graduation.

“We hire them on as students and see their skills, initiative and work ethic firsthand,” Van Zandt said. “If they show an interest in staying, the university benefits from a seamless transition, and the employees provide us with the kind of perspective that only UC Merced alumni can have.”

Annie Hsu, William Ngo, John Lara and Ivan Noe are all examples of those “must-have” alumni, some of whom Van Zandt personally recruited to stay at the UC after they graduated.


Impact: Students Put New Twist on Water Conservation Contest
Impact video
View on YouTube


Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out what’s happening on campus now.


MTS Lecture Series

Psychological Sciences Talk Series

Energy Speaker Series

"An Evening of Song with Jenni” – Jan. 21

Soprano Jenni Samuelson returns to UC Merced for "An Evening of Song with Jenni."

The show begins 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium.

The concert will feature pianist Dennis Brown, as well as special guests Geoffrey Mulder on violin, John Albano on guitar, Stephen Mouillesseaux, a tenor, and Jessica Spencer, a soprano.

The program will be wildly varied and will include musical theater selections by Rodgers and Hart, medleys from Gershwin’s folk-opera "Porgy and Bess" and Bernstein’s "West Side Story," special arrangements of contemporary favorites including “What a Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” as well as several comedic pieces.

Tickets are on sale now.

Human Rights Film Series

The sixth annual UC Merced Human Rights Film series will present a different documentary every Friday in February. All films will begin at 7 p.m. in COB 105. They are free and open to the public.

University Friends Circle
– Feb. 7

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet at 5:30p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Branding Iron Restaurant. Steve Roussos, director of the Alliance for Community Research and Development, and UC Merced faculty members will present on community engaged scholarship.

The cost is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP for the event by Feb. 2, email ufc@ucmerced.edu or call 209-384-8811.

The UFC's mission is to inspire and maintain strong relationships between the UC Merced community and the communities of the San Joaquin Valley through activities that promote social and intellectual interaction, programs of service and fundraising initiatives that support UC Merced scholarships.


For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, UC Merced’s annual giving society, contact Lisa McMullen at 209-228-4202.


Total amount of awards in December:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011:




Campus Sees Another Boost in Applications

More than 15,000 undergraduate students applied to UC Merced for Fall 2012, up nearly 10 percent from 2011.


UC Merced continues to see growing interest from prospective students, as witnessed by a 9.9 percent rise in applications over the 2011 academic year.

The campus received 15,054 undergraduate applications for Fall 2012, up from 13,701 in Fall 2011. Freshman applicants totaled 12,838, which represents 11.3 percent more than last fall.

“An increase in applications points to the campus’ growing popularity,” said J. Michael Thompson, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management. “It is a direct reflection of the strong value placed on a UC Merced education and the development of our academic programs, hands‐on research opportunities and a growing array of student activities and amenities.”

UC Merced was the only campus in the system to see an increase in transfer applications.
[Read more]

Campus to Grow Footprint in 2012

UC Merced CampusUC Merced's bond with the San Joaquin Valley continued to strengthen in 2011.

Last year, UC Merced's ongoing research endeavors produced new knowledge that serves the San Joaquin Valley's community and economy, while the university's burgeoning athletics program became another source of pride for the community.

Additionally, the campus' continued development serves as major source of economic investment during a difficult economy.

"UC Merced was built on the promise to improve lives and bring economic prosperity to the San Joaquin Valley," Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. "Despite unprecedented economic challenges, this young and innovative campus has made substantial progress toward these goals, and it is poised to continue on this path through 2012."'

With nearly 5,200 students, the campus' footprint is growing to accommodate more students and provide additional services. The campus has three construction projects under way and another major one set to begin next year.

Innovative Research Highlights Solar Symposium

Solar Symposium

Sarah Kurtz of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory speaks at the UC Solar Research Symposium.


From improving the performance and efficiency of solar cells to using solar technology to speed up fruit drying, a wide array of topics were covered by distinguished scientists at the UC Solar Research Symposium at UC Merced on Dec. 9.

Hosted by the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), the symposium featured an illustrious list of speakers that included researchers from all five of the UC campuses that comprise UC Solar — Merced, Berkeley, Davis, San Diego and Santa Barbara — as well as other top solar scientists.

The well-attended symposium, held in the California Room, was designed to promote public knowledge regarding present and future UC Solar research initiatives and to examine the current state of the solar energy industry in California and beyond.


Study: Sugarcane Ethanol Production Causes Air Pollution

Burning sugarcane

A UC Merced study shows the burning of sugarcane crops prior to harvest for ethanol production can cause significant air pollution.


The burning of sugarcane fields prior to harvest for ethanol production can create air pollution that detracts from the biofuel’s overall sustainability, according to research published recently by a team of researchers led by UC Merced scientists.

UC Merced graduate student Chi-Chung Tsao was the lead author on the paper and was aided in the study by UC Merced professors Elliott Campbell and Yihsu Chen. The study — published online last month in the Nature Climate Change journal — focused on Brazil, the world’s top producer of sugarcane ethanol and a possible source for U.S. imports of the alternative fuel.

“There is a big strategic decision our country and others are making, in whether to develop a domestic biofuels industry or import relatively inexpensive biofuels from developing countries,” Campbell said. “Our study shows that importing biofuels could result in human health and environmental problems in the regions where they are cultivated.”
[Read more]

Natural Sciences Dean Earns Two Prestigious Appointments

Juan C. MezaDean of Natural Sciences Juan C. Meza received two prestigious appointments late last year. Meza was appointed by Under Secretary for Science Steven E. Koonin to serve as a member on the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. Meza will provide expertise in the field of computational mathematics and applications.

He has also been elected to serve as a board member for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). The Board of Directors provides governance and leadership to the organization and contributes to their fundraising efforts.


Graduate Student's Research Rocks Around the Body's Clock

Roger Tseng

Roger Tseng, now in his second year of the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate program, studies the circadian rhythms of cyanobacteria, which are believed to be one of the Earth’s oldest organisms.


Roger Tseng was an undergraduate student studying molecular biology and biochemistry when he got his first opportunity to do research at UC Merced, working with Professor Benoit Dayrat researching the evolution of mollusks. Tseng found the hands-on lab experience unique and exciting.

“My research background helped me home in on what I wanted to study — protein,” Tseng said.

Now a graduate student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology (QSB) program, Tseng is part of a research team led by Professor Andy LiWang. The group is studying how three proteins interact to guide the circadian rhythms of cyanobacteria, which are believed to be one of the Earth’s oldest organisms.



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