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March 19, 2012


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2012 Class Gift

Members of the Class of 2012 are finalizing their class gift selection this week and will begin raising money March 19. If you're interested in supporting the 2012 Class Gift, visit http://alumni.ucmerced.edu/class-gift to learn more and make a gift in honor of our graduating students. All donors will receive free admission to the April 26 San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network Spring Reception — an annual fundraiser for the class gift.

Commencement Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to assist in planning and executing a memorable commencement ceremony for the Class of 2012. Save the date for May 12 and visit this link to sign up today.

Alumni Highlight

UC Merced Experience Helps Alumnus in HIV Research

Christian AyeniUC Merced alumnus Christian Ayeni, ’10, has moved from being a campus pioneer to pioneering research at Harvard Medical School, where he studies HIV and its initial transmission.

After two years in graduate studies at Harvard, Ayeni said he’s most grateful for the self-sufficiency he learned at UC Merced, where he majored in bioengineering and co-founded the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and founded Bobcat Radio.

“Grad school is all about teaching yourself,” he said. “Much of what you learn is on your own,” adding that the spirit of perseverance is needed in any walk of life.


Impact: Ecologist Simulates Climate Change with Infrared Heaters
Impact video
View on YouTube


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


Energy Speaker Series

Psychological Sciences Talk Series

MTS Lecture Series

Conversations with Entrepreneurs Speaker Series

Bobcat Art Show Opens March 19

The 2012 Bobcat Art Show will open March 19 in the UC Merced Art Gallery (in the Social Sciences and Management Building) and in the Kolligian Library.

A reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 5 in the campus art gallery. The exhibit will run until April 27.

For more information, see the event's website or contact Gail Benedict at arts@ucmerced.edu or 209-228-4566.

University Friends Circle Inter-Campus Gathering – April 10

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet at 11:30 a.m. April 10 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Merced. Loren Gonella, real estate broker and agency owner, will present “What happened in Boomtown?” He will discuss the impact of UC Merced on the local real estate market — yesterday and tomorrow.

The cost is $20 for members, $25 for guests. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, call 209-384-8811 or email ufc@ucmerced.edu. The reservation deadline is noon April 5.

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 February:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012:




Leading Voice of the Armenian Genocide to Receive Spendlove Prize

Peter BalakianPeter Balakian, an award-winning author and a leading voice of Armenian Genocide recognition, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.

UC Merced will award the prize to Balakian during an evening ceremony April 12. The following day at 10 a.m. in the Classroom and Office Building, Room 105, Balakian will give a talk that's open to the public. No RSVP is required.

The Spendlove Prize was established through a generous gift to the university from Sherrie Spendlove in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove. The prize every year honors an individual who exemplifies the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in his or her work.

New Recreation Building 'Topped Out'

Last beam of Student Activities and Athletics CenterThe last beam of UC Merced's Student Activities and Athletics Center was lowered into place on Feb. 23. Faculty, staff, students and community members, including Congressman Dennis Cardoza and Lori Gallo, were able to sign the beam before it was added to the building.

Once completed this summer, the building will provide much-needed recreation space and meetings rooms for students.
[View collage of photos]

UC to Launch YouTube’s First University-Run Original Channel

University of California Television (UCTV) has launched a new YouTube original channel called UCTV Prime. It will represent the first university-run channel to be offered by YouTube. Each week, UCTV Prime will debut 15 minutes of fresh content from throughout the University of California at www.youtube.com/uctvprime and www.uctv.tv/prime.

UCTV Prime’s programming will draw on the tremendous knowledge resources available throughout the 10 UC campuses, five medical schools, three national labs and other affiliated institutions. With documentary miniseries, interviews, commentaries and video shorts each week, UCTV Prime aims to bring to light the innovations, trends, issues and personalities that shape our world.

YouTube users can subscribe to UCTV Prime at www.youtube.com/uctvprime to keep up on the latest programs and browse related playlists populated by content from UCTV’s robust YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/uctv) and other UC YouTube channels.


Professor Contributes to Surgeon General's Report on Youth Smoking

Anna SongCigarette advertising and promotion cause youth to start smoking and facilitate progression to regular use, according a U.S. Surgeon General's Report released this month.

UC Merced Professor Anna V. Song collaborated with other researchers from around the world to contribute to the fifth chapter of the report, "Advertising and Other Promotional Activities Used by the Tobacco Companies to Promote Tobacco Use Among Young People." It’s the first time a UC Merced professor has contributed to a Surgeon General’s report.

The report concludes that even though tobacco companies are restricted from advertising to children, tobacco-marketing activities continue to influence youth to start smoking and continue smoking. The report considers a wide range of information, ranging from the epidemiology of adolescent tobacco use to economics to internal tobacco company documents describing the importance of new smokers.

Newsam Earns NSF CAREER Award

Shawn NewsamMapping what is where on the earth’s surface is currently done primarily through overhead aerial and satellite images. This is useful in many ways but is limited in terms of portraying things like land-use classifications or public sentiment about a given location or landmark.

UC Merced computer scientist Shawn Newsam is aiming to enhance that mapping using georeferenced multimedia — specifically, photos and videos provided voluntarily by users of social media websites like Flickr.

The idea recently earned Newsam the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, which will provide him research funding of $497,208 over five years to pursue the feasibility of using these multimedia collections as volunteered geographic information (VGI) for mapping purposes.
[Read more]

Professor Awarded Collaborative Grant in Solar Energy Conversion

Boaz IlanUC Merced applied math Professor Boaz Ilan is a major contributor to a national research team exploring a novel way to use fractal geometry to improve the production of electricity in solar panels.

Ilan is working with researchers from the University of Denver, the University of Oregon and UC Davis under a grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), America’s second-oldest independent foundation.

The research project, “Fractals as a Promising Geometry for Enhanced Solar Energy Conversion,” is actually fairly simple to explain, Ilan said.

Fractals are naturally repeating patterns found widely in nature — from vast stretches of rugged seacoast to the finest veins in the tiniest of plant leaves.


Physics Grad Student Explores Nanoworld

Andrea RodarteWhen Andrea Rodarte began studying physics, she first wanted to look to the stars for answers. Instead, she's finding them in nanoparticles.

"The people I know who went into astrophysics only get to do an experiment once or twice a year," Rodarte said. "I can come to the lab and do an experiment every day. It's much more hands-on and fun than I thought it'd be."

Rodarte is a third-year UC Merced graduate student studying condensed matter physics with professors Linda Hirst and Sayantani Ghosh. She's planning to graduate in a couple years.

This year, Rodarte published her first paper in Physical Review B, the American Physical Society’s journal devoted to condensed matter and materials physics. Last year, she was given the Margaret Burbidge Award for Best Experimental Research by a Graduate Student by the society’s California-Nevada section.



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