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February 19, 2010


News Blog


The UC Merced Alumni Association finalized its constitution in October and is ready to begin drafting its bylaws. The goal is to send a draft of the bylaws for alumni to review in early April and to approve them at the association’s next meeting April 17 (Bobcat Day 2010). More information will follow. If you would like to help, contact Stefani Madril.

For all the latest UC Merced news and to reconnect with fellow UC Merced alumni, join the UC Merced Alumni Association fan page on Facebook and UC Merced Alumni’s LinkedIn Group.


Center for Research in the Humanities and Arts – Feb. 19

The Center for Research in the Humanities and Arts is helping to sponsor the fourth annual Human Rights Film Series. “Veiled Voices” will be shown at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in COB 116. The filmmaker, Bridget Maher, will also be on hand.

Feb. 23 – The Brown Bag Lunch Series welcomes UC Merced professor ShiPu Wang, who will lecture at noon in the Willow Room, COB 322 on “By Proxy of Their Black Heroes: Critiquing America in the Paintings of Eitaro Ishigaki and Hideo Noda.”

March 3 – UC Merced professor Gregg Herken will lecture at noon in the Willow Room on "The Georgetown Set: How the Cold War was Won BEFORE Ronald Reagan."

For information visit the center's event listings.

Arts UC Merced Presents … Bobcat Family Art Show

The fourth annual UC Merced Bobcat Family Art Show runs through mid-April. Paintings, sculptures, mixed media pieces, photographs and digital media art by UC Merced students, faculty, staff and their immediate families will be exhibited in the Kolligian Library.

For information, contact Gail Benedict at (209) 228-4566.

MTS Lecture Series – Feb. 25

The Mind, Technology, and Society (MTS) welcomes Subrata Dasgupta, director of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Sponsored by the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, the talks are free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 25 in KL 232.

Upcoming lectures:

11 a.m. Feb. 26 – Stacy Marsella, University of Southern California, computer science (cosponsored by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)

4 p.m. March 4 – Stephen Stich, Rutgers, philosophy and cognitive science

4 p.m. March 11 – Michael Mozer, University of Colorado, computer science and Institute of Cognitive Science

For information: jyoshimi@ucmerced.edu or visit cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

Science and Engineering Lecture Series – Feb. 27

The spring semester program of the Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture series will begin Feb. 27 with a presentation by Professor Michael Sprague on computer simulation. The talk, entitled “Computer Simulations vs. The Real World,” will be held at the Castle Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, in Atwater.

The lectures, scheduled once a month through May, begin at 10 a.m. and are free of charge and open to the public. Future lectures include: Christopher Ferri on nanotechnology (March 20), Jay Sharping on optical communication or biophotonics (April 17) and David Ardell on genomics (May 15).

For information: Lin Tian.

University Friends Circle Lunch – March 2

“The Water Crisis: Where are we headed?”

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 2 at the Merced Golf and Country Club, 6333 N. Golf Road. UC Merced graduate student Ryan Lucas will be the guest speaker with a presentation entitled, “The Water Crisis: Where are we headed?”

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. The cost, including lunch, is $20. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP: Christine Howe, (209) 228-4190.

Psychological Sciences Talk Series – March 10

The UC Merced Psychological Talk Series, designed to bring a variety of approaches and research topics of interest to psychological sciences, will present a lecture by professors Robin DeLugan and Simón Weffer on March 3 in COB 263. A time has not yet been set.

Other events include UC Berkeley professor Silvia Bunge speaking March 10 in COB 263 on “Fluid Reasoning: Neural mechanics, development and training” and California State University, San Francisco, professor Jae Paik speaking March 17 in COB 263.


Total amount of awards in January:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010:



Stimulus to Fund New Solar Energy Tracking System

Solar arraySchool of Engineering professor Alberto Cerpa recently received a $568,202 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a system that will measure and track the amount of solar irradiance (sunlight) collected by panels on the ground, which will make it easier for energy producers to determine the most optimal opportunities to use solar.

The three-year grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is for the project "MRI: Development of ASSIST: Affordable System for Solar Irradiance Sensing and Tracking." Cerpa is developing the system with help from professors Carlos Coimbra and Qinghua Guo.

"We are excited that the National Science Foundation has funded this innovative project," said Samuel J. Traina, vice chancellor for research. "Professor Cerpa's proposal shows great promise and this grant will help him and his colleagues develop a much-needed solution that will greatly advance the field of solar energy."

UC Merced’s Facebook Page Keeps Everyone Connected

Patricia DuganFor students like Patricia Dugan, there’s no better way to learn about a school’s culture than by checking out its Facebook page. For alumni like José Palma, it’s a way to know what’s happening even while he’s thousands of miles away. For San Joaquin Valley residents, it’s an easy way to hear news about the UC community.

UC Merced’s Facebook page boasts more than 2,000 fans and continues to grow. The university is working to grow the number of followers and encourages everyone to suggest their friends become fans of the UC Merced page.

The page is among the social network sites administered by the Office of Communications, which wants to foster an engaged place for discussions and keep people informed about what’s happening on campus. Monday through Friday, there’s a question of the day meant to spark discussions about life, academics and the community. Stories about the university are also posted, allowing people to share their thoughts and encourage their fellow students.

Find Out What’s Happening on Campus

Events CalendarHave you wondered how to stay informed about events taking place at UC Merced? From lectures and seminars to performing arts and sporting events, the campus’ new online Events Calendar provides a one stop resource for a comprehensive list of events.

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

President Yudof Reports on Budget Advocacy Progress

Read about UC-wide efforts to advocate for increased state funding, including two rallies in Sacramento this spring, which UC President Mark Yudof and other UC leaders plan to attend.


Professor’s Award will Further Biofuels Research

Elliott CampbellUC Merced engineering professor Elliott Campbell has received the National Science Foundation's prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, becoming the third UC Merced professor in four years to claim the honor.

Campbell, who joins former awardees Monica Medina (2007) and Kevin Mitchell (2008), will receive $407,588 over five years to study the capacity of abandoned agricultural lands to generate crops used to produce biofuels.

The mass production of biofuels is a major key toward eliminating the world's dependence on fossil fuels, but a number of factors have stood in the way.

Among them are arguments against using productive agricultural lands for fuel instead of food and the cutting of natural forests for the purpose of growing crops to turn into fuel.


Guidebook to Demonstrate Teaching Techniques for Student Success

CRTE groupWith the help of a $295,484 grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), teams of UC Merced graduate students will develop innovative curriculum that addresses the needs of undergraduates, especially first-generation college students.

The Center for Research on Teaching Excellence is launching a two-year program that will explore solutions to problems often confronted by students who are the first ones in their immediate family to attend a university. More than half of UC Merced’s undergraduate students are first-generation college students. It’s also a demographic growing exponentially at other research university campuses.

"There are so many creative ideas and useful instructional techniques graduate student instructors and faculty members have developed in response to our students’ needs," said Anne Zanzucchi, the Center’s guidebook and assessment coordinator. "The program is an effective way to capture and publish a lot of interesting teaching techniques that otherwise might be ephemeral."


Chancellor's Associates Spring Reception April 29

Chancellor's Associates members, please plan to attend the Chancellor's Associates Spring Reception Thursday, April 29, at the Chancellor’s residence. It will provide an opportunity to network with fellow Chancellor’s Associates members, Chancellor and Mia Kang and UC Merced staff and faculty. Invitations will be mailed out in the next few weeks.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.

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