UC Merced Update masthead

January 18, 2011


News Blog


Alumni Highlights
Alumnus Continues Connecting, Learning as Congressional Staffer in DC

AlumniJosh Franco (’07) is exactly where he planned to be. Every step leading to his current job as a senior legislative assistant for U.S. Congressman John Garamendi has been carefully taken by Franco with his gifts for connecting with others and for absorbing and sharing information in mind. And one of those steps included his choice of UC Merced for his undergraduate education.

Franco, who is from Bellflower in Southern California, specifically wanted to get involved with establishing UC Merced’s student government, and that’s just what he did, serving as the first president of the Associated Students of UC Merced. He majored in social, behavioral and cognitive sciences with an emphasis in public policy.

“I wanted a multidisciplinary approach to better understand policy, politics, government and governance,” he explained.

UC Merced met his expectations. He said the campus and the local and regional community prepared him by challenging his assumptions about people, places and ideas, encouraging collaboration, cooperation and creativity, and fostering an insatiable appetite for information and knowledge.
[Read more]

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

Psychological Sciences Talk Series – Jan. 19

An eclectic talk series designed to bring in a variety of approaches and research topics of interest to psychological sciences. Talks begin at noon in the Willow Room (COB 322)

Jan. 19 – Dr. Richard Ivry, UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology

Feb. 2 – Dr. Fei Xu, UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology

Feb. 9 – Dr. John Capitan, CSU Fresno, Department of Public Health

Feb. 16 – Kristi Olivares and Kandace Grote, UC Merced, Psychology (graduate student presentations)

Feb. 23 – Dr. Qing Zhou, UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology

For information, contact Professor Michael Hoyt.

University Friends Circle – Feb. 1

Field research in Tibet presented by Dean Mark Aldenderfer

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Merced. Mark Aldenderfer, dean of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, will share his ongoing field research in Tibet. The cost, including lunch, is $20. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, send an e-mail to smarquez2@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-4190.

The UFC provides a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty, and their families, to engage in open discussion and interact with members of the surrounding communities.


Total amount of awards in December:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010:



Campus Prepares for Ongoing Demand and Growth

UC MercedUC Merced is preparing for what will likely be another remarkable year in its development.

This year, the campus will appoint new leadership, open additional buildings, increase enrollment and hire more faculty members.

"UC Merced continues to gain momentum as it heads into the middle of its sixth academic year," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "The passing year was filled with many achievements that have positioned the campus to be a leader in the Valley in numerous ways."

Despite unprecedented budget challenges, UC Merced has continued to grow. Student enrollment is at 4,381, a 28 percent increase over last year, and economic investment has topped $1.1 billion statewide.

UC Merced has received more than 13,000 undergraduate applications for Fall 2011, a nearly 11 percent increase over last year. The campus’ growth rates are among the highest in the 10-campus UC system, according to data released today by the UC Office of the President. System-wide, total freshman and transfer applications increased 6.1 percent.

Gov. Brown's Proposed Budget Includes $500 Million Cut to University of California

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a balanced, deficit-closing 2011-12 state budget Jan. 10 that relies on painful cuts in state services including a $500 million reduction in support for the University of California.

The 16.4 percent drop in state general fund support for UC would result in a historic shift in how California's public research university is funded. "The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians," said UC President Mark G. Yudof, calling it a sad day for California.
[Read more]


Campus Names Director of Government Relations

Corinne LuceroCorinne Lucero, who advocated at the federal level on behalf of UC Merced has been appointed the campus' director of governmental relations.

Lucero served from 2007 to early this year as the federal director of government relations. Since February, she has been director of correspondence and communications liaison for Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek.

"With an extensive understanding of UC Merced, its needs and its future, Cori also has strong relationships with local elected officials and state legislators," said David Hosley, interim vice chancellor for University Relations...."


Leadership Gift Will Support Stem Cell Research Facility


Photograph: Trevor P. Hirst


As respected leaders in California, Edward and Jeanne Kashian have helped build the foundation of the first research university of the 21st century through their roles as founding UC Merced Foundation trustee and diplomat, respectively, and by providing critical support to develop the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library.

With their recent $100,000 gift to name the Ed and Jeanne Kashian Microscopy Room, the Kashians will further assist the university by providing much-needed funding to purchase of highly specialized instruments to be used in the UC Merced Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry.

The Ed and Jeanne Kashian Microscopy Room will be an auxiliary room to the Foundry and will allow associated research to take place on site.

Violence Prevention Program Gets a Boost from Verizon

Verizon presents a very large check donationA grant from the Verizon Foundation will enable UC Merced’s Violence Prevention Program — founded last year — to enhance its existing efforts with new messaging strategies, incorporating both social media and an interactive Web component.

The funding will provide the campus with resources to develop, launch and maintain a multimedia campaign to raise awareness, educate the campus community on appropriate behaviors and healthy relationships, link students to resources and ultimately prevent violence.


Wireless Sensors Could Improve HVAC Efficiency

Alberto Cerpa
View the video

UC Merced engineering Professor Alberto Cerpa, whose research focuses primarily on sensor networks and their various potential applications, is devising a system that uses wireless sensors and tiny cameras to provide real-time feedback regarding the current occupancy of rooms and hallways within a building.

That technology, combined with Cerpa’s computer algorithms that accumulate occupancy data and thereby create prediction models of future occupancy, could be used increase the efficiency of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

HVAC uses up more energy at a greater cost than any other factor within a building, Cerpa said, but systems do not take advantage of technology that could make them much more efficient.

Greenhouse Gases Impact Marine Life

Michael BemanA study by UC Merced marine biologist Michael Beman shows the prolonged, extensive emission of greenhouse gases over the next several decades could have significant impacts on ocean life.

Increases in carbon dioxide emissions — exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities — are making ocean water more acidic, and Beman’s study shows that the increased acidity will fundamentally alter the way nitrogen cycles throughout the sea.

Because nitrogen is an important nutrient for all organisms, this could ultimately have significant impacts for all forms of marine life.

“There is growing concern about this issue because human activities are modifying ocean pH so rapidly,” Beman said. “While we do not know what the full effects of changing the nitrogen cycle will be, we performed experiments all over the world and believe that these changes will be global in extent.”
[Read more]


Grad Student Researches Environmental Effects of Erosion

Erin StacyFrom an early age, Erin Stacy has been interested in how humans affect the environment. The environmental systems doctoral student is putting her passion to use researching the effects of fire and erosion on the ecosystem.

Her primary focus is to better refine carbon models in order to predict the ecosystem’s response to carbon dioxide. In order to do this, Stacy is studying soil samples from prescribed burns and archived samples from the 2002 Gondola fire near South Lake Tahoe.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, she studied ancient horse teeth from Kazakhstan and Mongolia to learn more about the climate and environment when the animals were alive.

UC Merced

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