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April 23, 2010


News Blog


UC Merced alumni and friends:

Class of 2010 Gift: Be a part of the tradition!

UC Merced’s Class of 2010 has selected to raise funds to give a banner to each of the current schools – social sciences, humanities and arts, natural sciences, engineering and graduate division. In addition, a fund will be set up so future schools will receive a banner courtesy of the class. 

The class is extremely grateful for the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network who pledged a significant portion of its spring reception ticket sales towards the class gift.

The Grad Committee suggests a donation of $20.10 to to honor the Class of 2010. Consider making your gift online today. Every dollar counts!

For information, contact alumni@ucmerced.edu.

Bobcat Day

Special thanks to the UC Merced alumni and UC alumni who volunteered at Bobcat Day 2010 on April 17. Our prospective students and their families enjoyed the opportunity to meet you.

Jason Castillo (2009)

Eve Delfin (2006)

Annie Hsu (2007)

Patti Kishi

Anne Mahacek (2009)

Susan Mahacek

Jan Mendenhall

Yaasha Sabba (2009)

Carolyn Vara


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

MTS Lecture Series – April 26

The Mind, Technology, and Society lecture series welcomes University of Cincinnati philosophy Professor Valerie Hardcastle, who will speak April 26. Sponsored by the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, the talks are free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. The lectures take place at 4 p.m.in KL 232.

May 6 – David Kirsh, UC San Diego, cognitive science professor

For information: Jeff Yoshimi or visit cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

Psychological Sciences Talk Series – April 28

An eclectic talk series designed to bring in a variety of approaches and research topics of interest to psychological sciences. Talks begin at noon.

April 28 – Lisa Oakes, UC Davis, Willow Room (COB 322)

May 5 – Fei Xu, UC Berkeley, Willow Room (COB 322)

For information, contact Kristi Imberi-Olivares.

Arts UC Merced Presents … OtherShore Dance Company Debut – May 1

Arts UC Merced Presents … brings to campus OtherShore, an exciting group of dancers from New York who honor diversity through contemporary dance. OtherShore had their world premiere at the Baryshnikov Center in 2008. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. UC Merced students $10; general admission $25. To learn more about OTHERSHORE or purchase tickets online, visit arts.ucmerced.edu.

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

University Friends Circle Lunch – May 4

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4 for a reception and inaugural student awards presentation at the University House. The cost, including lunch, is $20. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP: ufc@ucmerced.edu, (209) 228-4136.

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.

UFC Yosemite Trip – May 14

The University Friends Circle (UFC) has arranged a private behind the scenes tour May 14 by Yosemite’s new head ranger, Charles Cuvelier, of areas not generally open to the general public. The best part is you don’t have to be a UFC member or connected with the university to attend this unique opportunity made possible by a special partnership between UC Merced and Yosemite National Park.

The cost is $40/person and includes transportation, entrance fee, guided tour, boxed lunch and snacks. The bus will depart from Merced at 9 a.m. and return by 5:30 p.m. RSVP for this great adventure now as space is limited. Contact Peggy Biddison at (209) 384-8811 or e-mail peggy.biddison.mb13@statefarm.com. by April 30.

Science and Engineering Lecture Series – May 15

The final Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture for the semester will be given by Professor David Ardell on genomics on May 15. The talk will be held at the Castle Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, in Atwater. The lecture begins at 10 a.m. and is free of charge and open to the public.

For information: Lin Tian.


Spring Reception Features Engineering Professor Christopher Viney– April 29

Chancellor's Associates members, we look forward to seeing you at the Chancellor's Associates Spring Reception next Thursday (April 29) at the Chancellor’s residence. The evening will include an inspiring presentation from Christopher Viney, our first UC Merced faculty member to be named a Chancellor’s Associate Scholar. Professor Viney will discuss his research and involvement mentoring K-12 students. You will all have an opportunity to network with fellow Chancellor’s Associates, Chancellor Kang and Mia Kang and UC Merced staff and faculty.

If you have not already done so, please RSVP to specialevents@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-7787. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.


Total amount of awards in March:

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



Campus’ Weeklong Spotlight on Research Concludes


The latest installment of Research Week is in the books. Spanning a full week for the first time, the celebration of student and faculty research was highlighted by the Research Poster Competition and the Vital and Alice Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series.

And new to the week was the Sigma Xi Spring Symposium, itself in its third year. The symposium, which focused on climate change science and governance, was well attended. So was the Pellissier lecture, given by UC Merced’s Mark Aldenderfer, dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

The graduate Research Poster Competition featured more than 30 entries, while the undergraduate event had more than 20. Justin Matthews took first place in the graduate competition, winning a $1,500 scholarship from Comcast for his poster, entitled “How Agent Placement Can Influence Perceived Boss-Coworker Agreement in Simulated Work Environment.” Jesus Isaac Luna placed second and Heather Thompson third.

The undergraduate competition as won by Christian Ayeni, whose poster was titled “Identification of Small Novel Molecules Which Bind HIV-1 Protease.” Richard Inman placed second and Adam Ossowski third in the undergraduate competition.

Development Plan Honored for Sustainability

LRDPThe UC Merced Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) was named the Outstanding Planning Document of 2009 by the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), a statewide organization focusing on environmental science, regulation and policy.

The LRDP is a guide for future land use patterns and the development of facilities, residence halls, roads, bicycle paths, open space and infrastructure on the UC Merced campus. The plan features a high-density, pedestrian-friendly layout covering 815 acres and serving 25,000 students at its final build-out in 30 years.

"From day one, UC Merced has been committed to becoming a leader in sustainability both in its curriculum and in its own physical development and operations," said Thomas Lollini, FAIA, associate vice chancellor for physical planning, design and construction. "This award serves as further proof of what can be achieved when campus leaders make that kind of across-the-board commitment to excellence."

UC Merced's LRDP, adopted by the UC Board of Regents in March 2009, outlines some ambitious sustainability goals. Chief among them are the requirement that all new buildings be LEED Gold certified or better and the "Triple Zero Commitment" to produce as much energy as is used, eliminate landfill waste and produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020.

It was the second major award for UC Merced's LRDP. Last fall, the university received California's most prestigious environmental honor — the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.

UC Riverside Associate Dean Named Interim Dean of Engineering

Mark MatsumotoMark Matsumoto has been named the interim dean of the UC Merced’s School of Engineering. Matsumoto will serve a one-year term and will take a leave of absence during that time from his duties as professor of environmental engineering and associate dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside.

UC Merced's search for a permanent dean is under way, and an appointment is expected later this year.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Matsumoto to UC Merced,” said Chancellor Steve Kang. “We will benefit enormously from his many years of experience and insights as we continue to expand and enhance our engineering programs to serve the critical needs of the state, the nation and the world.”

Matsumoto replaces Thomas Harmon, who served as acting dean for three months following the resignation in December 2009 of Jeff Wright, who was founding dean of the School of Engineering. Harmon, one of UC Merced’s founding faculty members, will return to his position as professor of engineering.


Cog Sci Professor Appointed to NIH Award Panel

Teenie MatlockUC Merced cognitive science Professor Teenie Matlock has been appointed to a six-year term on the National Institutes of Health's Language and Communication Study Section.

Matlock joins a panel of leading experts in the scientific study of language from some of the world's most renowned universities, including Stanford, Purdue and Columbia. Her appointment is another example of the distinguished faculty members at UC Merced who not only contribute to society through their cutting-edge research, but also give back to the scientific community by ensuring only worthwhile proposals are being funded.

"I'm honored and excited to have been selected as a regular member of the Language and Communication Study Section because I'll have the opportunity to review world-class, cutting-edge research that will have a positive impact on society," Matlock said. "It will be a great learning experience."

Professor Awarded $1 Million to Study Educational Interventions

William ShadishUC Merced psychological sciences Professor William Shadish has received a grant to develop new statistics for measuring the effects of educational interventions on individual students.

Beginning May 1, the research will be funded at $974,523 over three years. The grant is from the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. The research will be headquartered at UC Merced and will include faculty collaborators at Northwestern University and at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

"Usually we study the effects of educational interventions in large experiments with hundreds or even thousands of students," Shadish said. "But those large experiments are not always possible for some kinds of rare or highly variable problems."


Farmdale Students Take Lessons to the Lab

Science lessonFarmdale Elementary School students visited UC Merced earlier this month as part of Research Week.

With the help of UC Merced graduate students, the children conducted science experiments late last year and made posters to explain the results. The winning posters were on display during Research Week, and the students came out to tour the campus.

Graduate student David Gravano organized the collaboration with the elementary school. He felt inspired to give back to the community after hearing first lady Michelle Obama's call to action during last year’s commencement ceremony. Gravano, the community outreach officer with the Graduate Students Association, created the Scientists of Tomorrow Educational Partnership (STEP).

"You don't want the university to be an island," Gravano explained. "I wanted to do my part to increase outreach."

He helped organize twenty five graduate students, who volunteered two times a week for three hours to teach science to about 100 children at Farmdale Elementary School in South Merced.

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