UC Merced Update masthead

September 22, 2010


News Blog
Give us your feedback – reader survey


Save the Date:
Homecoming 2010 – Oct. 16

UC Merced alumni should plan to attend the Career Services Workshop and Alumni Association meeting at homecoming 2010 on Oct. 16.

Not local? Don’t worry! Live webinar access will be available for alumni from around the world to join in on the events.  If you are interested in hosting a webinar party with alumni from your area, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril at -209-228-2586.

Stay Connected – Update Your Contact Info

Have you moved or changed contact information? Update your information now at http://alumni.ucmerced.edu/alumni/update-contact-information

Alumni Highlights

Matt Siordia, ’09

Major: Economics

Minor: Psychology

Hometown: San Fernando

While at UC Merced, alumnus Matt Siordia had a busy schedule, including working as a research assistant for economics Professor Alex Whalley for more than a year. According to Siordia, it was the time spent studying abroad in China between his junior and senior year that helped guide him to focus on international relations as it relates to economics.

He is attending UC Diego and pursuing a master's degree in pacific international affairs..
[Read more]


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


View details of MTS Lecture Series, Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture series, Energy Speaker Series and Psychological Sciences Colloquium.

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.

Merced Symphony Fall Concert – Nov. 6

Celebrate Frederic Chopin's 200th birth year with his technically demanding but expressive Piano Concerto No. 2, and the return of pianist Natsuki Fukasawa at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium. Henrik Jul Hansen leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, "Pathetique." He calls it "one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. "

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. Check-in 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.


Collegiate Alumni Foundation Awards First Scholarship

Collegiate Alumni Foundation

From the moment students step foot on campus, they are taught the importance of giving back – both monetarily and by donating their time.

One such way is through the Collegiate Alumni Foundation (CAF), a student-led organization promoting philanthropy and a lasting culture of university pride.

The endowment is managed by a group of students – the CAF student trustees – dedicated to instilling philanthropic and leadership values in UC Merced's student body. When students make a pledge to the Alumni Association and become a collegiate member, half of their $10 pledge goes into the endowment.

This year, the student trustees were able to award their first scholarship from the endowment, initially funded by Comcast Cable, to molecular biology major Cynthia Dumas, of Los Banos.

Chancellor's Annual Report now Online

The Chancellor's Annual Report 2009-10 is now available exclusively online at ar.ucmerced.edu. View a message from the chancellor, private giving financials and the Honor Roll of Donors.


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 August:

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



UC Merced Partners with UC Davis to Train Medical Students for Valley

Medical students trainingUC Merced announced last week its partnership with UC Davis to begin training medical students in the San Joaquin Valley.

The first cohort of six medical students will enter the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME) in Fall 2011. Clinical rotations in the Valley set to begin at partner institutions in 2013, according to program leaders.

Campus leaders presented the details of the program to the UC Board of Regents last week.

"This is such an innovative way to approach a problem and such a collaborative way," Regent Sherry Lansing said.
[Read more]

Chancellor Kang to Step Down Next Year

Chancellor Steve Kang has announced his decision to step down as chancellor on June 30, 2011 to return to teaching and research as a member of the University of California faculty. The UC Office of the President will begin a nationwide search for his successor this fall.

Kang, 65, has served as UC Merced chancellor since March 2007. He will continue in his current position throughout the search process. UC Merced opened in September 2005.

"It has been a singular honor and the highlight of my administrative career to serve as chancellor of the newest University of California campus during its critical development years," Kang said. "Despite extremely challenging economic conditions, we have managed to establish a very strong foundation, attract top-level faculty and staff, and provide an innovative learning environment for our rapidly growing student body.
[Read more]

Research Operations Continue to Grow

ResearchUC Merced’s research expenditures increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2009-10 despite a challenging economic landscape.

According to numbers released earlier this month by the campus’ Business and Financial Services, research expenditures — the amount of money spent on UC Merced research, including graduate student salaries and benefits along with supplies and equipment for research projects — surpassed $14.1 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year, the highest total in the campus’ history and nearly a 10 percent increase over the $12.9 million in expenditures in 2008-09.

Expenditures are the most relevant measurement of a research university’s production, said Vice Chancellor for Research Sam Traina, as they represent money being spent on current projects and being fed back into the economy.

Assemblyman Praises Campus for Leadership in Sustainability

Assemblymember Pedro Nava, Heather Poiry and Assemblymember Cathleen GalgianiAssemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, chair of the Select Committee on California's Green Economy, was on campus last week for a hearing on green technology and the potential for job creation.

Nava lauded UC Merced for taking a leadership role in both the research that will lead to green jobs and in using sustainable practices to guide the construction of its buildings. Nava heard from Campus Architect Tom Lollini, associate vice chancellor for design and construction, and UC Merced graduate student Heather Poiry.

Lollini spoke about the campus’ design and how sustainability will be incorporated in all facets of the future campus and surrounding community. Poiry, who is working on solar technology with Professor Roland Winston, is in the process of starting her own local company based on her team’s research.

Nava said he was encouraged by the testimony of Poiry and others that manufacturing jobs can indeed be created in California, and that solar, biodiesel and other green technology could be the fields in which that happens.

ECEC Celebrates Second Year with Expanded Playground and Garden

ECEC expanded playground with garden for childrenUC Merced’s Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) has started its second program year with a playground expansion, including the Michelle Obama Garden for Young Children.  The preschool-aged “Bobcat kittens” are enjoying their new playhouse and have been exploring what they want to plant for a winter harvest. Since the ECEC practices continuity of care, in which a teacher moves with a group of children from one age group to the next, several of the teachers are preparing to change classrooms.

While the center’s open classrooms are full, only half of the available classroom space is being used. The center is enrolling infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and community families are always welcome. For more information or to set up a tour, contact the ECEC at 209-228-5437 (209-CAT-KIDS) or e-mail ecec@ucmerced.edu.


Grant to Fund Computational Biology Research by Undergraduates

Mike Colvin

Mike Colvin

Masa Watanabe

Masa Watanabe


UC Merced undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in computational biology will conduct meaning full research under a grant from the National Sciences Foundation.

School of Natural Sciences Director of Student Success Masa Watanabe and Professor Michael Colvin last month were awarded $994,999 from the foundation to support undergraduate research in computational biology. It is the largest award UC Merced has received to support undergraduate research.

"This program gives students a lot of the experiences they might not otherwise get until graduate school," Colvin noted.

Biochemist Awarded Grant for Hepatitis C Research

Jinah ChoiUC Merced biochemistry Professor Jinah Choi is studying the hepatitis C virus and its behavior in hopes of developing a solution to this challenging health problem.

Understanding how the hepatitis C virus leads to liver cancer is crucial in seeking cures for the disease, which affects millions of people across the world.

"It's really exciting that all the pieces are coming together," Choi said. "Whatever we find in the lab has consequences. It has the potential to really impact people."

Choi was recently awarded $304,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services.
[Read more]


Genomics Undergrads Annotate Bacteria for Government Project

As biology Professor Carolin Frank put it, her undergraduate genomics students last year didn't do cook book lab experiments.

Instead of following instructions that will lead to a certain result, the 20 students worked on the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute's project to annotate the genome of a particular bacterium.

Frank was accepted as a faculty collaborator in the “Adopt a Genome Program” late last year, allowing the students to annotate the genome of atopobium parvulum, a bacterium commonly found in a person's mouth.

UC Merced


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.