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April 15, 2011


News Blog


San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network Reception – May 11

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. May 11 in the Bobcat Lair. 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

Sustainability Research Opportunities Abound for 2010 Grad

Andrea MercadoAndrea Mercado has a knack for finding opportunity. She left her hometown of Lake Arrowhead in Southern California for college in Seattle, but a year later, her horizons opened up in a different direction.

“I transferred to UC Merced my sophomore year because of the research opportunities, the small size of the school and the amazing financial aid,” Mercado said.

Mercado, a 2010 graduate, majored in applied mathematics with an emphasis in engineering mechanics and a writing minor. But that’s only the start of Mercado’s accomplishments at UC Merced. She also served in the ASUCM Senate and helped found the UC Merced chapter of Lambda Alliance, an organization that helps to represent the interests of LGBT students and faculty on college campuses nationwide.

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!


Marine Research Exhibit – April 15

Arts UC Merced Presents ...
Merced Symphony Spring Concert – April 16

The Merced Symphony will perform its spring concert at 7:30 p.m. April 16 in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium. A pre-concert reception begins at 6:30 p.m.

Henrik Jul Hansen leads the orchestra in Arriaga’s “Los Esclavos Felices,” Granados’ "Intermezzo from Goyescas," Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade Melancolique,” Bartok’s “Six Romanian Folk Dances,” Hadyn’s, “Concerto in D” and Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8'” in G major, op. 88."

Tickets can be purchased online at arts.ucmerced.edu. [For more information, contact the Merced Symphony Association at 209-383-3277 or at www.mercedsymphony.org.]

University Friends Circle –
May 3

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 3 at the University House in Merced. UFC President Peggy Biddison will present this year’s scholarship awards.

The cost, including lunch, is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. 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.

Annual Bobcat Family Art Show

This sixth annual UC Merced Bobcat Family Art Show will run through May 6 in the Kolligian Library. Painting, drawing, sculpture, digital media and other visual arts by UC Merced students, faculty and staff and their immediate families will be displayed throughout the library. For more information, visit arts.ucmerced.edu, or contact Gail Benedict at 209-228-4566.


Total amount of awards in March:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011:



Campus Buzzing with Events

The weather is starting to warm up and there’s a lot going on around the UC Merced campus. The month of April will highlight the university’s research, its commitment to sharing new knowledge and its role in recognizing those who have made a difference in the world.

Research Week — April 18-22

Dan Hirleman

Dan Hirleman


The campus’ 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 competition will be held April 19, as will the annual Vital and Alice Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring Dean of Engineering Dan Hirleman. [Contact the Office of Research for more information.]

Cruz Reynoso to Receive Spendlove Prize— April 21

Cruz ReynosoFormer California Supreme Court Justice and civil rights lawyer Cruz Reynoso has been named the 2011 recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.

UC Merced will award the prize to Reynoso during a 5:30 p.m. ceremony Thursday, April 21, in the Kolligian Library, Room 355. Guests must RSVP by calling 209-228-7787 or by emailing specialevents@ucmerced.edu. The following day, Reynoso will give an oral history at 3:30 p.m. in COB 105.

Chancellor’s Associates Spring Reception — April 28

Steve and Mia KangChancellor's Associates are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates spring reception April 28 at the Chancellor’s residence. This event will prove to be truly special, as this will be Chancellor Steve 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.

This is only a handful of the events happening on campus in the coming weeks. Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out more.

SBDC Helps Central Valley Businesses Grow

Construction began on Caseys' new plantMid Valley Foods, formerly E & E Meats, was started in 1979 by Earl Casey. The company sells wholesale processed and packaged meat to grocery stores, restaurants and delicatessens. In 2000, Les and Cheri Casey purchased the business from Les’ father. The couple incorporated the business, then modernized and expanded sales and distribution at their Riverbank facility. In 2008, the Caseys began exploring the possibility of building a new plant that would nearly triple the company’s capacity and increase employees.

The couple found the process slow and frustrating, so they turned to the Alliance Small Business Development Center in Modesto for assistance. After exhausting a number of options, they purchased property in Oakdale.


Alumni-Founded GiveVote Foundation Makes First Grant

GiveVote membersThe GiveVote Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit started by a group of UC Merced alumni who were inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2009 commencement address, is making strides forward, having awarded its first grant and obtained 501(c)(3) federal nonprofit status in the past year.

GiveVote’s nonprofit standing means it’s officially registered as a charitable organization with the federal government, and contributions to the foundation are tax deductible. Also last year, GiveVote awarded its first grant to the campus' emergency fund for students.

More than half of the UC Merced student population consists of low-income, first-generation students, and those students sometimes find themselves in emergency situations with no assistance available. The UC Merced Student Emergency Grant Program offers them the means to stay in school when a crisis arises.


Medina Awarded Prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship

Mónica MedinaMarine biologist Mónica Medina was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship earlier this month, joining a diverse group of 180 scholars, artists and scientists to receive the fellowship this year out of nearly 3,000 applicants.

Medina, a professor in the UC Merced School of Natural Sciences, is one of just three in the field of organismic biology and ecology to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011, the 87th year of the competition for the United States and Canada. The fellows were chosen based on prior achievement and exceptional promise."I am deeply touched by the recognition," said Medina, the first UC Merced professor to receive the fellowship. "The Guggenheim is a fellowship of long tradition, and many of its fellows have moved on to do really great things. I feel extremely fortunate to have been invited to be one of them."

Diverse Physics Group Lands Major Awards

Linda Hirst

Linda Hirst


UC Merced’s physics group is defying the odds while also earning major research grants.

Women make up 14 percent of physics faculty at U.S. degree-granting institutions, according to a 2010 survey by the American Institute of Physics. At UC Merced, three of the eight professors are women, or more than a third. Also, one of the two lecturers is a woman.

Rachel Ivie, who tracks hiring trends in physics departments for the institute, said UC Merced is doing better than a lot other campuses in terms of hiring a diverse physics faculty. She noted 10 percent of university physics departments in the United States don’t have any women.


Volleyball Team Proves it’s Ready for NAIA

Women's volleyball club teamIf there was any question whether UC Merced was ready to take its sports teams to a higher competitive level, the women’s volleyball club team has proved it this year.

When senior Kayla Taylor first joined the team as a freshman, in the club’s second year, the Bobcats struggled to win even a single game of any of their matches. In this season’s opening game, though, UC Merced beat UC Davis’ club team in convincing fashion.

“From then on, we realized what a serious team we’d turned out to be,” said Taylor, now the club’s president. “It was a little shocking to us. It used to be a struggle to win any games, and now we’re taking some matches easily.”

Two Students Honored for Research Posters by UC LEADS

Two UC Merced students were among eight Outstanding Poster winners at the University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) Research and Leadership Symposium 2011.

Juan Lopez Arriaza, an undergraduate student in applied mathematics, was one winner. His academic mentor at UC Merced was Professor Teamrat Ghezzehi. His summer mentor at UC Santa Cruz was Marc Mangel.

Biology student Desiree Sigala, also an undergraduate, was UC Merced’s other winner. Her mentor was Maria Pallavicini, and her summer mentor at UC Davis was Kimber Stanhope.

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