UC Merced Update masthead

Welcome UC Merced Supporters

September 22, 2009


Library Exhibits Showcase Central Valley Culture

Hobos to Street People Exhibit

“Celebrating the Central Valley,” a series of events focused on Central Valley arts and culture that took place last week in the UC Merced Library, feature two ongoing art exhibits. “From Hobos to Street People: Artists Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to Present" will be on display in the second floor of the library through Oct. 25. “Okie Poet Laureate: Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel" will be on display in the third floor through Dec. 19. Both exhibits are open and free to the public during regular library hours. For more information: (209) 658-7146.

Lecture: Stopping Military Torture In the Americas – Sept. 24

Carlos Mauricio, an agriculture professor from El Salvador who was kidnapped and tortured by that country’s military, will discuss his ordeal and humanitarian activism here in Merced at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24. The event will take place at Merced College’s Lesher Room 11. There will be a 7 p.m. reception preceding the talk.

The UC Merced Center for Research in the Humanities and Arts and Amnesty International at UC Merced are among the co-sponsors of the event.

For information: rdelugan@ucmerced.edu.

MTS Lecture Series – Sept. 24

Economist W. Brian Arthur to Discuss ‘Nature of Technology’

UC Merced will host an evening with internationally renowned economist W. Brian Arthur on Sept. 24. Arthur, external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and visiting researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center's Intelligent Systems Lab, will discuss his new book, "The Nature of Technology: What it is and how it Evolves." Arthur will speak at 5:30 p.m. in Classroom & Office Building Room 116. A reception will follow the lecture.

Arthur's lecture is part of the Mind, Technology and Society lecture series, which is funded by a generous gift from the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation. MTS talks typically occur at 2:30 p.m. in the Chancellor’s Conference Room (KL 232).

Other upcoming talks in the series:

Sept. 28 – Bob Dougherty, Stanford University

Oct. 5 – David Ardell, UC Merced

Oct. 12 – Dan Russell, Google

Oct. 19 – Tony Westerling, UC Merced

The talks are free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. For information: ckello@ucmerced.edu or cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

Arts UC Merced Presents …

UC Merced lecturer and renowned soprano Lorraine Walsh will perform in “En Soiree” Sept. 26 at the Lakireddy Auditorium at UC Merced. Walsh will sing love songs and operatic arias and duets. Daniel Lockert will accompany her on piano, and she will be joined by other guest performers. Tickets are $10 for students; $20 for general admission.

The 2009-10 season for Arts UC Merced Presents… officially begins Oct. 1 with a reception hosted by Chancellor Steve and Mia Kang at the University House. The event will last from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and feature special guest Tina Ramirez, founder of “Ballet Hispanico,” the leading Hispanic dance company in the U.S. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $25 for UC Merced students.

For information on both events: arts.ucmerced.edu.

Ma Kelley Shoot-Out Benefits UC Merced Athletics – Oct. 2

The 13th Annual Ma Kelley Shoot-out will be Oct. 2 at Stevinson Ranch Golf Course in Stevinson. Proceeds of the golf tournament, live auction and raffle benefit the UC Merced Athletics program. The $150 fee includes range balls, lunch, golf, cart and dinner. Tournament is a 3-person scramble, play will be in groups of six. Not a golfer?  Dinner and live auction only $35.

For Tournament Sponsorship Information or Tournament Entry Form, contact Recreation & Athletics at (209) 228-7732.

University Friends Circle Lunch – October 6

“Student Life: Capturing the Excitement of a New School Year”

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 6 at UC Merced for lunch and a VIP tour of campus. UFC president Jennifer West will give an update followed by a presentation on student life by Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Kevin Browne.

The UFC was formed to provide a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty and their families to engage in open discussion and interact with members of the surrounding communities. For information or to RSVP for the lunch: Christine Howe, (209) 228-4190. The cost is $25, including lunch and campus tour.

Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series – Oct. 17

Two UC Merced professors will be the featured speakers at the Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series events. On Oct. 17, School of Natural Sciences professor Andres Aguilar will discuss “Genetic Insights into the Conservation of California’s Biodiversity in a Changing Environments.” On Nov. 14, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts professor Robin DeLugan will present “Academic Frontiers: How Anthropology Studies Science.” Both lectures start at 10 a.m. at the Castle Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater. The events are free and open to the public.


Save the Date: UC Merced’s First Homecoming – Oct. 24

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch up with classmates and take part in various social activities, finalizing the UC Merced Alumni Association constitution, valuable Career Services workshops for recent grads and much more. Check your UC Merced e-mail for more information to follow.

Alumni Association Constitution

Are you interested in helping finalize the UC Merced Alumni Association constitution? Students and alumni have the opportunity to serve on the committee that will shape the direction of the association for years to come.

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


Fresno Regional Reception – Sept. 24

Join us as we launch the first regional Chancellor's Associates event in Fresno at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30. The reception will be graciously hosted by Baker, Manock and Jensen. For information: specialevents@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-RSVP.

Save the Date: Heidi Kuhn to Speak at Holiday Reception – Dec. 3

Chancellor's Associates members are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Dec. 3 at UC Merced. The evening will feature a special presentation by Roots of Peace founder Heidi Kuhn. Roots of Peace is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to turning fields of land mines into productive agricultural use. Formal invitations will be mailed soon. For information: specialevents@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-RSVP.


It’s with deep appreciation and gratitude that we renew the memberships of Chancellor’s Associates donors Fred and Mitzie Ruiz, Sheila Wishek, Karen and Russell Merritt and Gene Dunmire, and Chancellor’s Pioneer Josh Bolin. We graciously welcome new members Marie Moran, Teenie Matlock and Paul Maglio, Karen Dunn-Haley and Stephen Haley, Richard and Althea Johanson, Economic Development Corporation of Mariposa and Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc., and Chancellor’s Pioneer Yaasha Sabbaghian.

Chancellor's Associates are a diverse group sharing a common dedication to UC Merced. Chancellor’s Associate members are invited to take part in many exciting events happening on campus. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.



Anthropologist to Take Over as Dean in School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Mark S. AldenderferChancellor Steve Kang announced last week that a new dean for the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) has been appointed.

Anthropological archaeologist Mark S. Aldenderfer of the University of Arizona will take over the position on Jan. 1, 2010. Aldenderfer’s appointment marks the end of an exhaustive administrative search since Founding Dean Kenji Hakuta left in 2006.

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Aldenderfer to the UC Merced family,” Kang said. “It is my belief that he has both the skills and vision required to lead the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as our university grows in the coming years.”

Aldenderfer is best known for his study of the transition from hunting and gathering to pastoralism in highland Peru. Most recently, he has conducted archaeological research in Tibet and is the editor of “Current Anthropology,” one of the field’s most prestigious academic journals. He has been a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona since 2005.

Aldenderfer has administrative experience in mathematics and information technology, making him a prime pick to lead a school as diverse as SSHA. Aldenderfer is also no stranger to the UC system, spending 15 years in both faculty and administrative roles at UC Santa Barbara.

UC Merced to Lead Multicampus Solar Energy Research Program

Solar energy researchResearchers at UC Merced, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara received a five-year $2.25 million grant that will fund a new multicampus solar energy research program.

California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (CAST) is one of 37 multicampus research programs and initiatives that received funding from the UC Office of the President. CAST will serve as a platform for a variety of solar energy projects.

UC Merced professor Roland Winston will serve as CAST’s director. Winston invented the field of nonimaging optics and has received numerous awards for his research and its applications to solar energy. He is a presidential endowed chair in the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences.

Some of the broad categories CAST researchers will cover include development of photovoltaic devices, which convert sunlight into electricity, and thermal energy for cooling of buildings, industry and other applications.

“Solar energy is, by far, the most abundant of all renewable energy resources and development of technologies to harness and use that resource is an important topic for California and the world,” Winston said.
[Read more]

Sun Shines on UC Merced’s New Solar Field

Solar field installationUC Merced is a step closer to producing solar energy that will provide electricity to the growing campus.

Construction is well under way on an 8.5-acre, 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic array – also known as a solar field. Work on the project started about a month ago and this week, crews began delivering and installing the first of 4,800 solar panels will collect sunlight and convert it into energy.

The field is southeast of the Science and Engineering Building on campus-owned land. When the system is up and running, it will produce about two-thirds of the campus’ electricity on a summer afternoon and 20 percent of its annual electricity needs, according to UC Merced’s John Elliott, assistant director of energy and sustainability. Construction is expected to be completed this fall.

Creation of the solar field is part of UC Merced’s plan to generate renewable power, one of the goals listed in the campus’ Climate Action Plan, a blueprint outlining the university's plan to achieve climate sustainability. The plan outlines goals to save as much energy as possible, generate as much renewable power that is used and offset greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020.

UC Merced Awards $28M in Gift Aid for 2009-10

About 75 percent of UC Merced undergraduates students – 2,230 – have received a total of $28,216,197 in grants and scholarships this year, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has reported. These awards represent money that students do not have to repay.

“In response to the current economic situation, UC Merced continues to make attending affordable to eligible students,” said Kevin Browne, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management. “Concern over expenses is the worst possible reason not to attend a UC. If a student meets UC admission requirements he or she deserves to be here, and we can help.”

Gift aid comes from a variety of sources, including both public and private entities. It can be used to pay a variety of school-related expenses, depending on the requirements set forth by the agency offering the scholarship or grant.

For instance, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers competitive awards for students who wish to study abroad. Five UC Merced students were the first in school history to receive the prestigious awards. The five students — who are going to Egypt, South Korea, Spain and Turkey — received a total of $19,000 to help them cover the costs of spending a semester or year in a foreign country.

There are also a variety of qualification factors that determine which students get which awards. Though many scholarships and grants are need-based, that’s not true for all.


NSF Grant Funds Human Gesturing Research

Marcelo Kallman


Teenie Matlock


Computer scientist Marcelo Kallman and cognitive scientist Teenie Matlock have received almost a half-million dollars from the National Science Foundation’s Human-Centered Computing Program to study human gesturing. This research award will fund two graduate students – David Huang (computer science) and Stephanie Huette (cognitive science) – for three years.

Kallman and Matlock, both founding faculty, say what’s most exciting about the grant is that it funds research activity instead of purchasing equipment.

The goal of the duo’s research project is to develop new techniques for producing realistic and parameterized human-like gestures based on data collected from people in real life.

“The first step for us is to understand how people interact with each other when gesturing, which will then enable us to accurately demonstrate that interaction in the virtual world,” Kallman said.

Anthropologist Publishes Book on Yosemite Indians

Kathleen HullKathleen Hull, assistant professor of anthropology, has a book due out in stores later this month. Pestilence and Persistence: Yosemite Indian Demography and Culture in Colonial California examines how the introduction of lethal infectious diseases affected Native American communities in colonial times.

Published by the University of California Press, the hardcover book suggests that disease alone was not enough to unravel the fabric of hunting and gathering societies. Instead, Yosemite Indians and other groups showed remarkable resilience in the face of disease, and it was other factors that often led to dire cultural consequences.

Grant Funds Professor’s Study of Hawaiian Music

Kevin FellezsKevin Fellezs, assistant professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, has received more than $9,000 from the Pacific Rim Research Program to fund his continuing research into ki ho’alu (Hawaiian slack key guitar).

In his research, Fellezs investigates the relationship between Hawaiian diasporic identity and ki ho’alu in California, Hawaii and Japan to see how Hawaiian identity travels along with Hawaiian music.


Research Experience Helps UC Merced Alums Land NIH Jobs

NIH Postbaccalaureate Intramural Training AwardWell before they graduated last spring with bachelor’s degrees from UC Merced, Haruka Swendsen and Matthew Kellom had a career plan.

The two knew they would apply to graduate school. But first, they wanted gain more research experience. Both worked successfully with UC Merced professors in their laboratories and gained valuable hands-on experience. Seeking additional research opportunities would prove even more beneficial.

The biological sciences graduates applied for the National Institutes of Health’s Postbaccalaureate Intramural Training Award (ITRA) program. Both were selected.

The ITRA provides opportunities for recent college graduates planning to attend graduate or medical school to spend up to two years engaged in biomedical research at the NIH. Trainees work directly with some of the world’s leading scientists in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. According to the NIH, the IRTA program is highly competitive. Less than 10 percent of applicants were selected in the past year.


Chancellor’s Annual Report Goes Green

Chancellor's Annual ReportUC Merced has taken another step toward becoming the greenest campus in the United States. The Chancellor's Annual Report 2008-09 is now available exclusively online at ar.ucmerced.edu. It's another way the university is reducing its impact on the environment and cutting costs in tough financial times.


UC Merced logo


We want to hear from you. Do you have a question or comment about your UC Merced Update? Is there a campus-related topic or issue you’d like us to address? Or would you like to unsubscribe? Please contact Brenda Ortiz or call (209) 228-4203 with your questions, feedback and requests.