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February 17, 2012


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Alumni Return to Campus to Recruit
Alumni return for Career and Internship Fair

Janene Gonzalez, ’11, Bethany Robinson, ’11, Uday Bali, ’08, and Preet Sandhu, ’10.

Alumni who know firsthand the value of a UC Merced education were back on campus Feb. 9 for the Career and Internship Fair. Janene Gonzalez, ’11, from Frito-Lay; Bethany Robinson, ’11, from E&J Gallo Winery; and Uday Bali, ’08, and Preet Sandhu, ’10, from the Bali Learning Center; were among representatives from 41 employers ranging from small businesses and Fortune 100 companies to national laboratories and government agencies. The fair was a success with 465 students in attendance.
[more alumni news]

Alumni Highlight

Alum Finds New Career in Military Research

Scott Seronello

Scott Seronello


As a chemistry teacher at Golden Valley High School in 2004, Scott Seronello frequently told his students to keep working at their education and never give up their dreams. Then his students asked why he hadn’t done that himself.

So he applied to UC Merced to pursue his dream of earning a Ph.D., which he did in 2010. From there, Seronello’s path took an unexpected turn — toward military research in the U.S. Army.

Working with Professor Jinah Choi at UC Merced, Seronello studied the hepatitis C virus and its interactions with ethanol. Results from their work have been published in the journals PLOS One, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
[Read more]


Impact: Community-Engaged Research Benefits Valley
Impact video
View on YouTube


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


Frontiers Lecture Series

MTS Lecture Series

Psychological Sciences Talk Series

Energy Speaker Series

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.

Feb. 17 – This is My Land … Hebron (2010, 70 minutes)

Featuring interviews with both Israelis and Palestinians living in Hebron, as well as activists on both sides, members of the Israeli parliament and prominent Ha’aretz journalists, the film lifts the lid on Hebron as it is today – a city fraught with violence and hate. Hebron is the largest city in the occupied West Bank, home to 160,000 Palestinians. It is also home to one of the first Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the only one right in the heart of a Palestinian city.

Feb. 24 – The Price of Sex (2010, 73 minutes)

Special event: Meet filmmaker Mimi Chakarova

This is an intimate and revealing documentary about young Eastern European women who have been drawn into a world of sex trafficking and abuse. It is a story told by the young women who refused to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Emmy-nominated photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.

University Friends Circle Inter-Campus Gathering – March 27

“UC Merced: Green from the Ground Up”

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 27, on campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the program, lunch and campus tours are 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “UC Merced: Green from the Ground Up” will feature presentations by Chancellor Dorothy Leland, Associate Chancellor and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor Janet Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Lawrence, engineering Professor Christopher Viney and Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute Roger Bales.

The cost is $45. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP for the event by March 15, email ufc@ucmerced.edu or contact Kathleen Zizza at 209-722-0594.

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 January:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2011 to Jan. 31, 2012:




Major Construction Under Way

Science and Engineering Building 2

Planned Science and Engineering Building 2 (rendering)


UC Merced is entering a significant new phase of construction, the likes of which the campus has not seen since before it opened in 2005.

The construction projects will add nearly 270,000 gross square feet in the next two years, which will increase the campus’ physical space by about 25 percent.

The additions will add critically needed academic, recreation and residential housing space that will allow the university to accommodate its growing population.

UC Research Resource Center to Serve San Joaquin Valley

An innovative community-university partnership to empower San Joaquin Valley residents to analyze and communicate their most pressing challenges launched in Fresno this month.

The Participatory Action Research Resource Center (PARRC) will strengthen residents' skills in using research to improve their lives. It will also promote research collaborations between the University of California and other higher education institutions and communities.

UC Merced Professor Robin DeLugan, UC Davis Professor Jonathan London and Rey León, director of the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement Project (Valley LEAP), are collaborating to establish and grow the center.
[Read more]

UC Merced Receives National Award

Solar Symposium

UC Merced remains focused on its goal to establish student learning outcomes across all undergraduate programs.


UC Merced has been awarded the 2012 Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes.

“The CHEA award affirms UC Merced’s mission as a student-centered research university by formally recognizing the exceptional commitment of faculty, administrators and staff to the shared goal of advancing our students’ academic success,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley. “The concept of learning outcomes is embedded in the campus’ culture, and it’s an honor for UC Merced to receive this national recognition.”
[Read more]

Campus' Math Course Launches UC Online Program

Math student

UC Merced is the first campus to offer a course through the UC's online instruction program.


A UC Merced calculus course marks the first class to be offered through the University of California's online instruction project, with several more courses to be rolled out in early April.

The program's inaugural course, which began this semester, is a preparatory calculus class taught by instructors Lei Yue and Maria Albert. It blends online coursework with weekly two-hour discussion sessions. The format enables students to work at their own pace, focusing on the areas in which they need the most practice and moving quickly through material they are grasping easily, Yue said.

UC's online instruction program is a systemwide effort that aims to explore and develop the use of online education in UC's undergraduate curriculum. Through the program, UC faculty will offer high-enrollment, lower-division gateway courses for full course credit — first to UC students at their home campuses, then to non-UC students for transferrable credit, and ultimately, to students at other UC campuses.


Solar Concentrators Improved by Physics Team

Solar researchers

UC Merced researchers have redesigned luminescent solar concentrators to be more efficient at sending sunlight to solar cells.

The advancement could be an important breakthrough for solar energy harvesting, said physics Professor Sayantani Ghosh, who led the project. [Read more]

Dean Featured in National Geographic Film

Mark Aldenderfer and Pete Athans climbing

Dean Mark Aldenderfer will return to the Upper Mustang regional of Nepal this summer to continue his research.


Mark Aldenderfer, dean of UC Merced's School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, was featured in a National Geographic documentary that showcases his research into an ancient civilization in Nepal.

The hourlong film, "Cave People of the Himalaya," debuted Feb. 15 on PBS. It follows Aldenderfer and world-renowned Mt. Everest climber Pete Athans as they explore the cave tombs in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal. The film also focused on a previously unknown death ritual.

"The stories of other cultures in other times is endlessly fascinating," Aldenderfer said. "But beyond this, I hope that films such as this remind us of our common humanity and that the present time in which we live is composed of multiple stories, each of which is important in its own right."
[more/including online preview link]

Computer Scientist Earns NSF Research Award

Ming-Hsuan YangEngineering Professor Ming-Hsuan Yang has been named a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to further his work on improving visual tracking abilities in machines.

The award will provide Yang, a computer scientist, with research funding of $473,797 over five years. Yang’s research will focus on developing computer algorithms that can efficiently and effectively empower machines with object tracking, detection and recognition capabilities similar to human cognition, all with the use of only a single camera.

While humans can effortlessly locate moving objects in different environments, visual tracking remains one of the most important and challenging problems in computer vision. Yang’s algorithms would help machines handle scenarios in which the objects they are designed to track drift, disappear and reappear, or are obscured by other objects.


Graduate Student Focuses Research on Infectious Disease

Mufadhal Al-Kuhlani

Mufadhal Al-Kuhlani, a graduate student with the Quantitative and Systems Biology group, is set to graduate this year.


Mufadhal Al-Kuhlani came to UC Merced to help reduce the threat of harmful diseases through innovative research.

Al-Kuhlani is studying immunology within the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate program. He's working with Professor David Ojcius to better understand chlamydia.

More than 1.2 million cases of the disease were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009. Chlamydia represents the world's leading cause of preventable blindness and is a common cause of respiratory and sexually-transmitted infections in humans.

"It touches so many lives; a lot of people get infected," Al-Kuhlani said. "It's preventable and treatable. There are many cases that shouldn't happen in the first place."
[Read more]



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