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August 25, 2010


News Blog

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Stay Connected – E-mail Forwarding For Life

Are you taking advantage of e-mail forwarding for life? Maintain access to your UC Merced e-mail address by updating your information on the UC Merced Portal. For instructions, visit alumni.ucmerced.edu and click on Alumni Benefits.

For information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril at (209) 228-2586.

Update Your Contact Information

In order to continue receiving invitations to special events and alumni activities, be sure to keep your contact information updated. Update here

Alumni Highlights

Ana VazquezAna Vazquez, ’09

Major: Psychology

Minor: Spanish

Hometown: Perris

Ana Vazquez is pursuing a masters degree in social work at the University of Southern California. She provides crisis intervention, case management and individual short-term counseling as an intern at Valley Community Clinic in the Behavioral Health Service Department. [Read more]


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

University Friends Circle –
Oct. 5

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at UC Merced. Chancellor Steve Kang will give a campus update followed by a presentation on student life by Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies. The cost, including lunch, is $20. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, send an e-mail to ufc@ucmerced.edu or call 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.

Arts UC Merced Presents … “Love Letters,” starring Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross – Oct. 9

Arts UC Merced Presents welcomes "Family Ties" stars Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross, who will perform in “Love Letters,” by A. R. Gurney, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in The Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium.

General admission is $25. Gold Circle seating is $75 and includes premiere reserved seating and admission to the “After Glow Reception” following the performance. Purchase tickets online at arts.ucmerced.edu.

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

14th Annual Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out – Oct. 29

Enjoy a friendly game of golf on one of California’s top-ranked courses, Stevinson Ranch, while benefiting UC Merced Athletics and Recreation. Registration for the 14th annual Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out begins at 11 a.m. Oct. 29.

For information, contact George Kelley at 209-664-6400.

Opera-Related Art on Display

A pair of unique art exhibits will be on display in UC Merced’s Kolligian Library through August and into September.

UC Merced’s Artist in Residence, Dipu Gupta, is displaying a series of photographs of sets he’s designed for opera and theater companies. Gupta has designed scenery for the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Pacific, Berkshire Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, GEVA Theater Company, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Rep, the Julliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Gotham Chamber Opera, and two productions for Opera Africa in Johannesburg. The photos will be on display through Sept. 15.

Also on display at the library, through Sept. 30, are costumes designed by UC Merced Professor Dunya Ramicova for Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms. The exhibit includes costumes from productions at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in April 2009 and at the Sydney Festival in January 2010, as well as original costume renderings and production photographs.


Legacy Circle Dinner Provides Insight into Campus’ Research Efforts

Legacy Circle dinner

UC Merced’s Legacy Circle members, dedicated supporters of the university, enjoyed an evening of intrigue and excitement at the annual dinner held in their honor Aug. 20. Guests learned about research experiments conducted in the labs of professors Kara McCloskey and Eric Menke. They also had the opportunity to look in microscopes and see the research materials up close.


Save the Date: Chancellor’s Associates Holiday Reception – Dec. 2

Chancellor's Associates members are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Dec. 2 at UC Merced. For information, e-mail specialevents@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-RSVP.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.


Total amount of awards in July:

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



Campus Begins New Chapter

View "move in day" photo collage

UC Merced welcomed more than 1,500 resident students during move-in day. The campus will have a total enrollment that exceeds 4,000 students. Click to view photo collage.


If last weekend’s excitement is any indication of the months ahead, UC Merced’s sixth year promises to be another significant one for the young campus.

Administrators, staff, faculty, community members and continuing students worked together to move in more than 1,500 resident students, including 370 into the newest on-campus housing complex, The Summits. They gave directions, answered questions and welcomed students and their families.

An estimated 4,000 students began classes this week, taught by 130 faculty members, up from 120 a year ago, and 100 lecturers, an increase from 73 a year ago. There is no better measure of our annual progress as an institution of higher learning than the number of students who apply for admission (another record this year) and ultimately choose UC Merced over other campuses (also a record).

Having focused the initial years on building a solid foundation, attracting strong faculty and staff, growing the student body, establishing baseline programs and operations, and securing the necessary permits to expand physically, the campus can now start refining, enhancing and strengthening those building blocks into true pillars of excellence in the great University of California tradition.

The university has already accomplished so much in its brief history, and it is ready to begin a new chapter.

Hirleman Named New Dean of Engineering

E. Daniel HirlemanE. Daniel Hirleman, head of Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering, has been named the new dean of UC Merced’s School of Engineering, effective Oct. 1.

Hirleman will take over for Mark Matsumoto, who has served as interim dean since April.

“We are exceedingly pleased to bring in Dr. Hirleman as our new dean of Engineering,” said Chancellor Steve Kang. “His track record exhibits the kind of interdisciplinary focus and entrepreneurialism that is so needed at a growing university, and he will truly be an asset to our engineering faculty and students.”
[Read more]

Health Disparity Center Delivers Books to Planada

Book drive

Steve Roussos, Trevor Hirst and Rafael Maravilla show some of the books they delivered to Planada's community center.


Members of UC Merced's Center of Excellence for the Study of Health Disparities in Rural and Ethnic Underserved Populations delivered two carloads of books to Planada last month.

During a tour of rural Merced County, the center learned a half-filled bookcase in El Centro, Planada's community center, represented the town's only public library. The case included an Encyclopedia Brittanica from 1985.

The center began a book drive and received donations from the campus community and local residents. After less than a month, they already filled two cars with more than 800 reference books, novels and children’s books.

Rafael Maravilla is one of ten undergraduates doing research for the center. A Planada native, he helped deliver the books.

"It's a wonderful feeling. It gives people hope. My neighbors are going to have a lot more books," he told ABC30, which did a story about the drive.

Maravilla is doing research on community cohesion with sociologist Simón Weffer. They are studying Planada and South Merced.


Professor's Book Focuses on Iconic Great Depression Photographer

Jan GoggansUC Merced literature Professor Jan Goggans' book published this summer chronicles the lives and work of iconic Great Depression photographer Dorothea Lange and her husband Paul Taylor.

"California on the Breadlines: Dorothea Lange, Paul Taylor and the Making of a New Deal Narrative" combines historical contextualization, biography and delves into some of the big issues of the time, water and agriculture. The book, published by University of California Press, is an example of the university's contribution to better understanding a part of nation's history and culture.

Watch a video of Goggans talking about her book.

Lange's photos, depicting the plight of migrant workers in California, are a form of protest literature and can be read in the same sort of way as text, Goggans explained.

Professor Awarded Grant to Further Obesity Research

Rudy OrtizBiology Professor Rudy Ortiz has been given the National Institutes of Health's Independent Scientist Career Development Award, which will allow him to focus on his innovative research into obesity.

The $414,720 grant, spread throughout four years, will allow Ortiz to spend more time conducting research into obesity by reducing some of his teaching and administrative duties.

"To get more time to focus on my research is huge," Ortiz said. "It gives me a great advantage because of the release-time it affords me to concentrate on my research."

Ortiz is studying how elephant seals are able to fast for several months by relying on their fat reserves and how they can experience apnea without harming their health.

Chin Earns UCSD’s California Sea Grant

Wei-Chun ChinUC Merced engineering Professor Wei-Chun Chin was one of 17 researchers to receive a California Sea Grant award in July. Chin, who received the California Sea Grant for the first time, will use the award to study the physiology of toxin-producing marine algae — in particular, the intracellular chemical signaling processes that trigger toxin release.

“In animal cells, calcium ions trigger the release of hormones,” Chin explains. “I want to verify if the same signaling mechanism occurs in harmful algae.”

The California Sea Grant program sponsors marine research, extension services and education activities to support the management, conservation and enhancement of those resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

It was a busy summer for Chin, who also had a research paper he co-authored — “A New Role for Bicarbonate in Mucus Formation” — published in “The American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology” and featured on MDLinx.com in August.


Creating Algae Biofuel Through Wastewater

Patrick WileyPatrick Wiley has moved from a career treating wastewater to finding out what can be done with it — or in this case, grown in it — to help the environment.

Wiley, a 31-year-old environmental systems graduate student at UC Merced, is working on finding better, more efficient ways to grow and harvest algae in wastewater, algae that can then be used to create biofuel.

Algae grow naturally in wastewater, and the carbon dioxide captured by the algae during photosynthesis can be harvested for use in biofuels. While algae-based fuel might not emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than petroleum fuels, those emissions are offset because the carbon dioxide was initially taken from the atmosphere by way of the algae.
[Read more]

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