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Welcome to this edition of UC Merced Update, providing you with an inside look at recent campus news and developments.


October 19, 2007



On Oct. 17, the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees and Diplomats met at the recently opened Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. Trustees engaged in Focus Area, committee and full board meetings, as well as a private tour of the Gallo Center. After an evening reception, some members enjoyed a performance by the Manhattan Transfer.



Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception – Save the Date

Chancellor’s Associates members, please save the evening of Friday, Dec. 7, for the annual Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception.  A formal invitation will be mailed out in the next few weeks. 

There is still time to join the Chancellor’s Associates and attend the reception. Your annual gift of $1,000 or more will help support UC Merced's greatest needs, and will secure your place in this premier group of individuals who are committed to the success of UC Merced.

UC Merced has made significant progress in a short period of time, thanks to the support of our donors. Please join Chancellor Steve Kang in ensuring the continued growth and success of UC Merced by becoming a Chancellor's Associate today.

For more information or to join today, please contact Victor Mitre director of annual giving programs at (209) 228-4297.



UC Merced Fall Enrollment Jumps Sharply

The numbers are in. As the university’s third academic year begins, 45 percent more students have enrolled compared to last fall. Enrollment numbers exceeded predictions for the first time in our history this fall – 1,871 students are pursuing their dreams at UC Merced. More Info

$4.6 Million Project Will Investigate Snowline Systems in Sierra

Roger Bales

Roger Bales

Martha Conklin

Martha Conklin


There’s a lot going on at the snowline in the Sierra Nevada, and it’s all connected: snow, groundwater, soils, rocks and plants all interact to form a complex system that is vulnerable to the Earth’s changing climate.

A new, $4.6 million grant awarded to the University of California, Merced, from the National Science Foundation will fund interdisciplinary studies of this system, sometimes known among scientists as the “critical zone.”

Professors Roger Bales and Martha Conklin of UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute and School of Engineering will lead a team of researchers from UC campuses in Berkeley, Irvine, Davis and Santa Barbara, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station – all with different interests and areas of expertise in the critical zone. More Info


Chancellor Wins Award for Hosting Peace Exhibit

Mia Kang, Lawrence Carter, and Steve Kang

Chancellor Steve Kang and his wife, Mia, are shown with Dean Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel.


Lawrence Carter, dean of Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, visited UC Merced on Oct. 10 to bestow Chancellor Steve Kang with the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize.

Carter created “Gandhi, King, Ikeda: Building a Legacy of Peace,” a peace exhibit that has traveled to various college campuses throughout the nation. Kang sponsored the display of a miniature version of the exhibit in UC Merced’s Kolligian Library earlier this month.



View photos of Tuolumne Hall

Tuolumne Hall, the first phase of the Sierra Terraces, opened this semester. View photos



Showpiece Cognitive Science Facility Funded by NSF

Marcelo Kallmann

Marcelo Kallmann

Shawn Newsam

Shawn Newsam

Teenie Matlock

Teenie Matlock


Professors Marcelo Kallmann and Shawn Newsam have teamed up with Professor Teenie Matlock and won a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation program to build a Cognitive Sensorium and Visualization Facility. The facility will house eye-tracking equipment, a full-body motion capture system and data gloves for real-time body and hand motion capture, and 3-D projection capability with active stereo eye wear, along with a 7-by-15-foot “Power Wall” screen. Everything will be integrated – the immersive environment projected on the screen, the eye tracking, and the motion capture – so that the researchers can use the data they gather to see how it all fits together.

New Grant Supports Hands-on Nanotechnology Course

Jennifer Lu

Jennifer Lu

Valeria Leppert

Valerie Leppert

Michelle Khine

Michelle Khine


Professor Jennifer Lu has a new NSF grant, along with professors Valerie Leppert and Michelle Khine, to provide equipment and other support for a course to be taught to 15 UC Merced sophomores in Fall 2008. The students will learn to make carbon nanotube sensors, tackle questions about the problems and limitations of their product, and work to broaden its applications and improve its design.

Lu has assembled 13 industry experts to serve on the UC Merced Nanotechology Education Advisory Board, including leaders from Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national labs, IBM, Honeywell, NASA, and the Naval Research Laboratory. They advised and endorsed her proposal, and some will guest lecture for the course.



Student Mentor Finds There’s No Place Like Home

Claudia Zepeda

Claudia Zepeda


Claudia Zepeda is giving back to the community she grew up in the best way she knows how – mentoring students about what it takes to get accepted into college.

Zepeda, a junior psychology major and the first in her family to attend college, grew up in the small town of San Joaquin in Fresno County and attended Tranquility High School. She remembers hearing about the new UC being built in the Central Valley. She visited the campus when it was still piles of dirt and cows and instantly knew it was the best option for her. More Info



UC Merced Receives Boost to Improve Access to Health Care

Group at $1 million donation announcement

Partners gathered following the announcement of $1 million in donations to help UC Merced arrange a telemedicine program – a step that will contribute to medical education plans.


UC Merced received nearly $1 million to establish a telehealth network in the Valley that will improve access to health care and connect underserved communities with advanced communications services while providing a fundamental building block for a medical school at UC Merced.

Funding for the project includes $500,000 from AT&T; $200,000 from the California Emerging Technology Fund and $250,000 from the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.

More than 100 sites in the Valley from Stockton to Bakersfield and surrounding foothill communities are being considered as eHealth centers. From that number, four sites will be selected.

Lakireddys Host Chancellor Kang

View photos of Lakireddy dinner in honor of Chancellor Kang

Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy and Vijaya Lakireddy hosted a dinner in honor of Chancellor Kang at their home on Sept. 15. Members of the community enjoyed the evening and embraced the opportunity to get to know the chancellor better. The Lakireddy family’s contribution to name the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium has already made a significant impact in the lives of students, staff and the community. View photos



Research Meets Policy in Next Frontiers Lecture Oct. 20

We see scientists and mathematicians on TV and in the movies solving puzzles, playing with numbers, testing soil at far away places and even catching criminals, but what do these kinds of professionals do in real life? How do they contribute, and are they really integrated into the framework of today's society? Find out at the October installment of the Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Atwater. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, Mayya Tokman, a professor in the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced, will share insights into her research as well as her experience in Washington, D.C., as a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Challenger Center is at 3460 N. Challenger Way, near UC Merced's Castle facility.

MTS Lecture Series Focuses on Motion

This fall’s Mind, Technology and Society Talk lecture series takes place at 6 p.m. Thursdays in Room 116 of UC Merced’s Classroom Building. Topics to be covered include motion perception, motor control, motion path planning, navigation, hand movement, motion sensing, virtual characters and video games.

MTS is sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program and Computer Science & Engineering. The series’ goal is to encourage interdisciplinary research and provide a forum to learn about cutting-edge research in other areas or campuses.

Upcoming schedule:
Oct. 25 – Ralph Freeman, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley
Nov. 1 – Roland Winston, UC Merced
Nov. 13 – Phil Wolff, Emory

For information on the series, contact Teenie Matlock.

Nov. 3 Festival Aims to Unify Campus, Community

More than 2,000 people of all shapes, colors and sizes will take over the UC Merced campus Nov. 3 for the first-ever UnityFest. UnityFest is a joint university-community festival that aims to celebrate the diverse cultures of the Merced area with a full day of ethnic cuisine, performances, educational presentations and kid-friendly activities.

The festival, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is collaboration among UC Merced’s Office of Student Life, and local nonprofit organizations Healthy House and Community Partnership Alliance. It will feature information booths and activities from more than 50 nonprofit organizations and dozens of campus clubs, faculty and employees. The event and on-campus parking will be free to the public, and free transportation will be available from downtown Merced to the university campus. For information, contact Jim Greenwood at (209) 228-2582.

Public Invited to Scholarship Luncheon Celebrating
Chancellor Steve Kang’s Inauguration, Nov. 6

Steve Kang

Chancellor Steve Kang


Four days of celebrations and academic events will surround the Nov. 6 ceremony inaugurating Steve Kang as UC Merced’s second chancellor.

Members of the community who want to help celebrate the inauguration of the new chancellor can do so while helping to make a difference for UC Merced students.

A celebratory scholarship fundraising luncheon will be at noon Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. Those who wish to be among the 500 attendees can purchase tickets at $50 each. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Chancellor’s Scholarship Fund at UC Merced.

Some donors are purchasing entire tables at the event and donating tickets to UC Merced students who may benefit the most from the opportunity to rub shoulders with others in attendance.

While the inauguration itself is limited to invited guests because of limited seating, this luncheon and several other educational events during inauguration week are open to the public. Details on inauguration events are available at http://inauguration.ucmerced.edu/.

To purchase tickets, contact (209) 228-RSVP. To sponsor a table for the luncheon, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.

“Facing the Future: Portraits of UC Merced’s Founding Students”

Bushra Islam,
Photo©2007 Roger J. Wyan


Oct. 17 - Nov. 30

An exhibition of photography by Roger J. Wyan will be on display at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center from Oct. 17 - Nov. 30. The opening reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the Arts Center, 646 W. Main St., in downtown Merced. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Other events:

Nov. 12: Veterans Day (UC Merced closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $2,651,487
• Total amount of awards this month:  $1,484,674
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to August 30, 2007: $3,663,611


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