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March 13, 2009


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View a collage of campus photos


“Transitions: Portraits of UC Merced Founding Students” March 19 – June 18

An exhibition of photography by Roger J. Wyan will be on display at the Kolligian Library March 19 through June 18. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information: Roger Wyan at (209) 383-0171.

Merced Symphony to Perform on Campus – March 21

Arts UC Merced Presents … will sponsor the spring concert of the Merced Symphony. Titled “Masterworks,” the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 21 inside the Lakireddy Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for UC Merced students and $25 for all others. For more information, contact Gail Benedict at (209) 228-4566.

Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series – March 21

UC Merced professors are participating in The Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture series, which kicked off its sixth year at the Challenger Learning Center in Atwater. The lecture series aims to open up scientific and engineering topics to the general public through accessible lectures and opportunities for discussion with leading researchers. All lectures begin at 10 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month at the Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater.

March 21, School of Engineering professor Wolfgang Rogge will discuss “Elucidating the Oxidative State of the Atmosphere Over Antarctica.”

University Friends Circle Lunch – March 25

“What’s that stuff, and how does it work?”

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet at 11:30 a.m. March 25 at the Merced Golf & Country Club. Christopher Viney, vice provost for undergraduate education and engineering professor, will explain the many lessons that nature uses to teach engineers how to make better materials and devices, as long as they ask the right questions. Find out how curiosity about some of nature’s strangest, most disgusting and annoying phenomena can guide the progress of human technology.

The UFC provides a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty, and their partners, to engage in open discussion with members of the surrounding communities. For information or to RSVP for the lunch, contact Special Events at (209) 228-7787. The cost, including lunch, is $15.

MTS Lecture Series – April 2

The Mind, Technology and Society Lecture Series, made possible by a generous gift from the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, brings experts in cognitive science, computer science and philosophy from around the globe to UC Merced.

Upcoming speakers:
April 2 - Stacy Marsella, University of Southern California, ISI
April 9 - Dorrit Billman, Stanford University, ISLE, PARC, NASA
April 16 - Jeff Sherman, UC Davis

Talks are held on Thursdays at 3 p.m. in Room 120 of the Classroom & Office Building. For information, contact Evan Heit or visit http://cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

Willie Brown Lecture – April 6

Willie Brown will deliver a public lecture at UC Merced on Monday, April 6. Titled, “The Life and Times of Willie L. Brown,” the lecture will be a frank discussion of Brown’s career as an attorney, member of the state legislature, California’s longest-serving Assembly speaker and mayor of San Francisco. Brown is visiting campus at the request of visiting professor Mark Harris, who teaches classes in management. Brown is expected to be on campus from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. More details will follow as the event draws near. For information contact Mark Harris.

Research Week: April 7-9

Research Week kicks off Tuesday, April 7, with the annual student poster competition at 10 a.m. in the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center.

On April 9, the Vital and Alice Pellissier Family Distinguished Speaker Series will bring its third guest to campus, biologist Tyrone Hayes. A professor at UC Berkeley, Hayes’ public lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the Lakireddy Auditorium. For information, visit the Research Week site.


March 27: Cesar Chavez Day - UC Merced closed


As we gear up to Commencement on May 16, when UC Merced’s first full class of seniors will graduate, the Office of Communications is highlighting members of the Class of 2009 on the event’s Web site. Check the site often for more student profiles, in addition to other event-related updates.

First UC Merced Students Admitted to Medical School

Jason Castillo

Janice Gatzke

Seniors Jason Castillo and Janice Gatzke are UC Merced’s first students to be accepted into medical school.

So far, Castillo has received acceptance letters from UC San Francisco and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Gatzke was accepted to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Florida.

Many medical schools begin to notify students of their acceptance in March and some as late as May.


Total amount of proposals in February:

Total amount of awards in February:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009:



UC Merced, Berkeley to Offer Extension Courses

Fresno Center WestOld meets new this summer when UC Berkeley Extension, the first extension program in the University of California system, begins offering professional development courses at UC Merced’s Fresno Center.

The collaboration was announced during a press conference in Fresno on Feb. 25, when Chancellors Robert J. Birgeneau and Steve Kang signed a memorandum of understanding between the campuses.

Summer offerings at UC Merced’s Fresno Center will include professional courses, such as project management, counseling, computer systems and programming, solar energy and digital publishing. Additional courses will be added in the fall.

The partnership pairs the University of California’s original campus with the system’s newest research university to meet the educational needs of San Joaquin Valley residents, whether they are interested in advancing professionally, looking to start a new career or learning a new skill.

Science & Engineering Building Receives LEED Gold Certification

Science & Engineering BuildingThe Science & Engineering Building, completed in January 2006, was awarded LEED "Gold" certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for excellence in environmentally responsible design, construction and operation. The 174,000-square-foot building is home to laboratories, classrooms and office space for faculty and students whose work often requires highly sophisticated equipment, facilities and support services.

This marks the fourth time since 2007 that a UC Merced building achieved exemplary performance in water and energy usage, natural lighting, air quality, waste diversion and recycling, the use of locally supplied and/or recycled building materials and other factors evaluated under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.


UC Merced Professor Co-Author of Diabetes and Obesity Report Presented to State Lawmakers

Rudy OrtizHealth and medical professionals have cited sobering statistics in recent years about the ever-increasing waistline of adults and children in the United States and the long-term impact carrying that extra weight will have on our collective health and economy.

According to physiology professor Rudy Ortiz, if nothing is done to curtail the increasing rates of obesity in children, they will be the first generation of offspring who do not outlive their parents.

Those are some of the findings included in a report that has been distributed to California law makers. The 42-page Legislative Task Force on Diabetes & Obesity Report to the California Legislature covers the impact obesity and diabetes has on a number of different levels, from personal health to economics. It also includes recommendations on how policies can be implemented to address obesity at home, in the workplace, schools and community.

The report was written by professors M.R.C. Greenwood of UC Davis, Patricia B. Crawford of UC Berkeley and Ortiz, a physiologist who also teaches a nutrition course at UC Merced.

Risky Business: Psychologist Studies Why Teens Do What They Do

Anna SongTeenagers often make decisions that leave adults shaking their heads. Choices regarding smoking, drug use, drinking and sexual activity can – and often do – carry long-term consequences that aren’t always positive.

Figuring out why youth and adolescents choose to engage in high-risk behavior keeps health psychologist Anna V. Song quite busy these days.

A recent study published in the March 2009 edition of the American Journal of Public Health shows the results of Song’s research on teens and tobacco when she worked at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UC San Francisco.

“Contrary to the stereotype of the brash, non-thinking teen, young people do care about the risks and benefits associated to smoking,” Song said. “The difference between those who light up and those who don’t is how they weigh the risks versus benefits.”

She joined the Psychological Sciences faculty at UC Merced in Fall 2008.


Grad Student Explores Interest in Sea Mammals at UC Merced

Jose Pablo Vazquez-MedinaJose Pablo Vazquez-Medina had two passions growing up: the ocean and its inhabitants and learning.

“I always liked the sea,” said Vazquez-Medina, a Mexican native who grew up in San Luis Potosi. “I was especially fascinated with how sea animals are adapted to their environment. I wondered why marine mammals could dive and hold their breath for long periods of time and people couldn’t do the same.”

Now, as a doctoral student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology program in UC Merced’s School of Natural Sciences, Vazquez-Medina spends his time learning about the physiology of mammals, specifically Northern elephant seals.


WANTED: UC Merced Alumni Profiles

As we prepare to bid farewell to the Class of 2009, we want to ensure we don’t lose touch with our valued alumni. Throughout the year, a variety of campus initiatives seek input and contributions from UC Merced graduates. We want to hear how you are progressing as a UC Merced alumnus. For instance, the School of Natural Sciences is looking to highlight alums in its newsletter. Also, the Office of Communications is always in search of alumni who are proud to share their present endeavors with the university community. If you are interested in being highlighted in one of our communications pieces, you are encouraged to contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Martinez Madril at (209) 228-2586.

UC Alumni Spring Reception – April 21

Chancellor Steve Kang is delighted to welcome all UC alumni to the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network Spring Reception on Tuesday, April 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Spring Reception recognizes UC alumni and will honor the UC Merced Class of 2009. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will benefit the Class of 2009 Class Gift. For more information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Martinez Madril at (209) 228-ALUM.

If you’d like to learn more about SJV UC Alumni Network events, please complete a contact form.


The UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees will meet on campus June 9 and 10. Trustees and diplomats are invited to attend a special dinner on June 9, followed by morning meetings on June 10.

More information will be mailed and posted to trustees.ucmerced.edu.

Hotel Options:

Courtyard by Marriott
(209) 725-1221
Rate: $124/ night


Hampton Inn
(209) 386-1210
Rate: $84/night + tax – Single
$94/night + tax - Suite

Holiday Inn Express
Opens in late April 2009
(209) 756-3470
Rate: $79/night +tax

Hooper House Bear Creek Inn
(209) 723-3991


Author Kim Stanley Robinson to Speak at Spring Reception – April 30

Chancellor's Associates members are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Spring Reception on Thursday, April 30 at 6 p.m. at the Chancellor’s residence. The evening will feature a special presentation by award-winning science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. He is one of the most accomplished and popular writers working in science fiction today and was named a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment" in 2008. He is best known for his Mars trilogy, “Red Mars,” “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars,” which were critically acclaimed bestsellers in the 1990s. Invitations will be mailed soon.

For more information, contact (209) 228-RSVP or specialevents@ucmerced.edu.


It’s with deep appreciation and gratitude that we extend the membership of renewing Chancellor’s Associates donors to Doris Gonella and Lawrence Blazina, Dennis and Novie Heppner, Ralph Temple Jr. and Carole Whitehill, Kenneth and Betty Robbins, Richard and Mary Miller and new member Stephanie Vasilovich.

Chancellor's Associates are a diverse group sharing a common dedication to UC Merced. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.


We want to hear from you. Do you have a question or comment about your UC Merced Update? Is there a campus-related topic or issue you’d like us to address? Or would you like to unsubscribe? Please contact Brenda Ortiz or call (209) 228-4203 with your questions, feedback and requests.

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