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March 18, 2011


News Blog


San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network Reception – March 29

Connect with fellow University of California alumni from Stockton to Bakersfield at the annual San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network reception 5:30 p.m. March 29. The evening will include an update on the launch of UC Merced’s intercollegiate sports program.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. Proceeds will benefit UC Merced’s Class of 2011 Gift. For more information, contact specialevents@ucmerced.edu or 209-228-RSVP.

Class of 2011 Gift: Be a part of the tradition

UC Merced’s Class of 2011 has selected to raise funds for student scholarships.

The Grad Committee asks UC Merced alumni and friends to make a donation to honor the Class of 2011. Consider making your gift online today. Every dollar counts! For information, contact alumni@ucmerced.edu.

Alumni Highlights

UC Merced Options Set Engineering Alumnus on the Right Path

Matt Nelson

Unlike many other schools, UC Merced allows freshman students to enter with a major of “engineering – undeclared.” For Matt Nelson, now looking back on his freshman year more than five years later, the option proved a distinct advantage.

“I honestly had no idea what I would be doing now when I started school at UC Merced,” Nelson said.

Although he didn’t know at first what kind of engineer he wanted to be, Nelson was sure he’d landed in the right spot. Having already been in the first groups of students in new schools during elementary and middle school, he was happy to continue the experience of being a pioneer as a member of the founding class.

“I had already seen firsthand what being that first group of students allowed you to do in terms of being involved with your school,” Nelson said. “I was very eager to repeat that process.”
[Read more]

Stay Connected – Update Your Contact Info

Have you moved or changed contact information? Update your information now.


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

Annual Bobcat Family Art Show

The sixth annual Bobcat Family Art Show, which highlights the artistic talents of UC Merced's campus community, is open to the public. This year’s exhibit features art throughout every floor of the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library. Entries include life-size sculpture, mixed media, painting and drawing, along with digital submissions that can be viewed on the digital display in the first floor lobby. For information, contact 209-228-4408.

University Friends Circle –
April 5

“Aging Successfully: The Promise and Limitations of Today’s Biomedical Sciences” presented by health psychologist Sally Shumaker

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet 5:30 p.m. April 5 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Merced. Sally Shumaker, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine, will present “Aging Successfully: The Promise and Limitations of Today’s Biomedical Sciences.”

The cost, including hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, 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.

Research Week Set for April

UC Merced’s annual Research Week is set for April 18 to 22. This year’s Research Week will feature a Sierra Nevada Research Institute symposium on April 18, organized by Professor Roger Bales, as well as the annual Sigma Xi Symposium on April 21. The topic for the Sigma Xi event will be “The Language of Dynamics.”

The poster student competition will be held April 19, as will the annual Vital and Alice Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring Dean of Engineering Dan Hirleman. Events are free of charge and open to the public.

Contact the Office of Research for more information.


Frontiers Lecture Series

Energy Speaker Series

Psychological Sciences Talk Series


Spring Reception – April 28

Chancellor's Associates are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates spring reception on April 28 at the Chancellor’s residence. This event will prove to be truly special as this will be Chancellor Kang and Mia Kang’s farewell Chancellor’s Associates event. For information, contact specialevents@ucmerced.edu or 209-228-RSVP.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Lisa McMullen at 209-228-4202.


Total amount of awards in February:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2010 to Feb. 28, 2011:



Student Safe at Home as Quake Strikes Japan

Fred Knutson was the only UC Merced student studying in Japan this semester, spending time in the coastal city of Sendai while learning Japanese and immersing himself in the culture. Knutson, who has several family members of at least partial Japanese descent, has made many trips there for fun, as well.

Last Thursday, March 3, Knutson returned from Japan to the United States for an extended break, as did most UC students who were studying there. His time at home was supposed to last just 18 days, but it couldn’t have been timed much better.

Knutson missed the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 — the largest recorded quake in the country’s history — and all of its aftershocks and the ensuing tsunami. The buildings he lived in survived, but the earthquake and tsunami left hundreds dead or injured.

Snowpack Measurements Made Easier

Snowpack measurementsMore than half of the water used in California for farming and drinking and other everyday uses comes by way of runoff from the Sierra Nevada, and gauging the amount of snow there and predicting how much runoff there will be is an annual rite that has a major trickledown effect of its own.

Currently, water managers physically measure the snow depth at a series of index sites, and they compare the results to those from past years to predict water availability and thus determine how much water will be allocated to farmers and communities. The data are limited and the predictions can have a high uncertainty, which leads to costly inefficiencies in the process.

UC Alumni and Friends Converge on Capitol

UC Day supporters

Shavone Charles, Lamar Williams, Chancellor Steve Kang and Regent Fred Ruiz


UC Merced students, alumni and supporters joined Chancellor Kang and delegates from sister campuses in Sacramento on UC Day, March 1, to advocate on behalf of the “University for, by and of California.” Members of campus leadership, undergraduate and graduate students, UC Merced Foundation Board Trustees and UC Regent Fred Ruiz broke into teams and met with the 12 San Joaquin Valley legislators and their staff to discuss the importance of UC to the region and our state. UC Merced later hosted a reception near the Capitol. President Mark Yudof stopped in to thank our delegates for their hard work and to share his support for UC Merced’s continued success.
[Read more about UC Day systemwide.]


Community Support Equips Lab with Cutting-Edge Tools

Stem cell foundry
View the Video!

UC Merced unveiled its Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry, made possible by the support of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the local community.

UC Merced last month celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry, made possible through the support of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the support of the community.

The foundry's construction was funded in 2008 by a $4.36 million grant from CIRM.

The campus worked with a group of dedicated community members to raise $195,000 in contributions to support the instrumentation that will be used inside the facility. Ed and Jeanne Kashian, of Fresno, gave the largest single donation of $100,000. In the past year, the Hard Hats and Heroes Committee helped organize three informational events on campus to raise the funds and awareness about the stem cell research program. Committee members included:


Political Science Professors' Productivity Leads System

Political science professors at UC Merced on average publish papers in leading journals and books with top university presses at the fastest rate in the system.

According to a study produced last fall by political science Professor Thomas G. Hansford, UC Merced faculty members have the highest mean rate of publication.

"We're fostering a culture of research first and research excellence," Hansford said. "We're small but we're a very research-active faculty. It's something undergraduates interested in conducting research should take into account."

One of the hallmarks of a UC Merced education is the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research alongside innovative faculty members in an interdisciplinary setting.
[Read more]

Lectures Bring Science to the Community

Christopher Viney and Lin Tian

Christopher Viney and Lin Tian


It was 2003, a full two years before the UC Merced campus began its first academic year, when the seeds were first planted for what would become the Frontiers of Science and Technology lecture series.

Founding faculty member Christopher Viney helped forge the connection between UC Merced, the Castle Science and Technology Center, the Challenger Learning Center, the Castle Air Museum and the local chapter of the California Air Force Association. Edie Magerkurth of the Air Force Association and Jay Hawkes of the Castle Science and Technology Center were looking for speakers to celebrate “A Century of Powered Flight” in 2004, and Viney saw a chance to help entrench UC Merced into the community.


Student Volunteers Gain Insight into Patient Care

Amber Parkinson and Randell Rueda

Amber Parkinson and Randell Rueda

View the Video

During a typical day at the Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department (ED), nurses, doctors and support staff swiftly move through the halls of the 27-room facility. Patients register and are assessed and treated for everything from fractures and lacerations to possible cardiac arrest or stroke.

But another group of individuals are working hard behind the scenes.

With an average of 60,000 patient visits per year, UC Merced student volunteers play a huge role in the ED, assisting physicians and staff to make sure things run smoothly. [more]

Taking Basketball to the Next Level

Aki ChambersJunior Aki Chambers played intramural basketball as a freshman, then started the men’s club team with fellow student Daniel Castillo. This fall, he’ll likely become part of the first UC Merced basketball team to compete at the intercollegiate level in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

UC Merced’s application to the NAIA is currently under review and is expected to be approved at the association’s national convention in mid-April. Chambers recently answered a few questions for the UC Merced Office of Communications.

UC Merced

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