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November 16, 2012


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Alumni Association Board Call-a-thon — Dec. 1

Members of the UC Merced Alumni Association Board will call fellow alumni on Dec. 1 to introduce themselves and the board, and encourage alumni support for activities. Faculty, staff and community members can also have a board member call them. Fill out the online form and note the board member you’d like to hear from. They’d love to catch up and will be touched that you’re thinking of them, too.

Student Study Kit Fundraiser

Do you know a student who could use a little pick-me-up in preparation for finals in December? The Student Alumni Association is selling student study kits as a fundraiser and overall campus morale booster now through Dec. 5. A $20 student study kit includes cold supplies, snacks, lotion and other goodies to keep your favorite student in good spirits. Learn more.

Alumni Events

Alumni have many opportunities to reconnect with UC Merced each year through on-campus and regional events. View the events calendar.

Alumni Highlight

Work, Play Collide for Alumna

Angela MercadoAngela Mercado, '09, is the definition of a pioneer. A member of UC Merced’s inaugural class, she immersed herself in being a Bobcat from the moment she moved into the residence halls. She served as a UC Merced Ambassador and made the most of being at a research university through active participation in campus workshops and events.

“I was able to get to know the professors and create relationships with them that lasted through my senior year,” she said.

She was also able to land what she considers “a great job” in her chosen field after just a couple of weeks of searching. Now, she’s a preschool assistant teacher, a job made possible by her UC Merced education and her two tours of service in AmeriCorps.

As an AmeriCorps volunteer, she tutored middle school students in the Pico/Union District of Los Angeles and participated in community service projects that supported literacy. And in her current profession, she teaches children through play.

“I am using my B.A. in psychology to understand the way children develop their social, cognitive and behavioral skills in a classroom setting,” she said. “Understanding their developmental stages allows me to create…a safe and engaging classroom.”

It also gives her the ability to ensure learning on multiple levels, such as using the act of serving pizza to teach a math lesson.


Video: Building the Future
Building the Future video
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Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out what’s happening on campus now.

Legacy Circle and Chancellor’s Associates Holiday Reception – Dec. 6

Legacy Circle members and Chancellor's Associates are invited to attend a holiday reception at 6 p.m. Dec. 6. Invitations will be mailed soon. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, call 209-228-4401.

University Friends Circle Holiday Social — Dec. 11

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet for a holiday social from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at the home of Judy and Doug Boyer.

The cost is $20 for members and $25 for guests. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, call 209-384-8811 or email or send an email. The reservation deadline is noon Dec. 6.

The UFC's mission is to inspire and maintain strong relationships between the UC Merced community and the communities of the San Joaquin Valley through activities that promote social and intellectual interaction, programs of service and fundraising initiatives that support UC Merced scholarships.


UC Merced provides unparalleled academic and staff opportunities, as well as opportunities for vendors and contractors who are helping to build the university. Check our online listings often.


Total amount of awards in October:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2012 to Oct. 31, 2012:



Inaugural Managers to Lead New Vernal Pool Reserve

Steve Shackelton

Steve Shackelton


Chris Swarth

Chris Swarth


UC Merced has hired two experienced leaders to help create a natural reserve out of the open land adjacent to campus, and share management duties.

Steve Shackelton, former National Parks Service leader and chief ranger in Yosemite, began work this fall. He will co-manage the planned reserve with Chris Swarth, an ornithologist and wetlands ecologist who spent more than 20 years managing the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Maryland. Swarth begins work in January.

The Sierra Nevada Research Institute oversees the reserve on behalf of the campus, and will take the lead on seeking inclusion in the University of California's Natural Reserve System.

Shackelton and Swarth will expand the reserve's business plan and develop detailed outreach programs so students and community members can have supervised access to the grasslands and the pools that form after winter rains and flourish in the spring, only to dry up as the weather warms.

“Their skills complement each other wonderfully, and will provide the stewardship for these precious vernal pools and the grasslands adjacent to the campus,” SNRI Executive Director David Hosley said of the two men.

In 2001, the vernal pool land was set aside as part of the more than $11 million grant that provided land for the UC Merced campus through the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The preserved land was part of the 7,030-acre Virginia Smith Trust parcel. The grant arrangement included creation of the 5,030-acre conservation preserve of sensitive vernal pool habitat and facilitated creation of a 750-acre UC natural reserve for scientific study in rolling ranchland northeast of the city.

The agreement also triggered the release of $15 million in state-approved habitat acquisition funds from the Wildlife Conservation Board to ensure the conservation of key wetland and vernal pool resources in the surrounding area.

An additional gift of $2 million in 2002, by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, has helped maintain the habitat and will now help with the active management of the land.

New Endowment Supports Transfer Students

student holding laptopStudents transferring to UC Merced from California community colleges can apply for financial support thanks to a new endowed scholarship fund from The Bernard Osher Foundation.

The $500,000 gift to UC Merced provides scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per student to five to 10 transfer students who show the greatest potential to fulfill their educational goals at UC Merced.

The foundation, based in San Francisco, was founded by businessman and community leader Bernard Osher to help improve quality of life by supporting higher education and the arts.
[Read more]

California’s Extreme Weather Different than Hurricane Sandy

View of weather from spaceCalifornia isn’t going to face a superstorm like Hurricane Sandy because the Pacific Ocean is too cold to feed that kind of weather system, but that doesn’t mean California won’t see extreme weather, say UC Merced researchers.

“We can see very big storms, and there are a couple of issues related to climate change to think about,” said Roger Bales, director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. “Most of our biggest storms are snow storms, and a few large storms each year build up snowpack in the mountains. The snowpack is a reservoir, storing water that will be used throughout the year across the state.

“But if you warm the climate,” he said, “those storms become rain events — there’s more immediate runoff, less water storage, and a warm storm will actually melt some of the existing snowpack, leading to more flooding than just from the rain.”
[Read more]

Program Gives Students a Window on the Nano World

Qianting ChenMore than two dozen UC Merced undergraduates spent the summer exploring a tiny but hot topic — materials 100,000 times slimmer than a human hair that are poised to revolutionize sensing, data collection and other technologies.

The 10-week program is part of the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems, or COINS. The center seeks to boost student interest in very small technology by supporting graduate and undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Caltech and UC Merced.

COINS and the UC Merced summer program are both part of a national push to build nanotechnology in the U.S., said UC Merced COINS Coordinator and engineering Professor Valerie Leppert.

“We need more of our youth going into the research and development of emerging technologies like nanoscience,” Leppert said. “The U.S. could fall behind the tech curve unless we have young people involved in these disciplines.”

The realm of nanotechnology is very small — but looms large in projections of where future jobs and resources lie.

According to a National Science Foundation study, the number of nanotech-related jobs is expected to double every three years through 2020.
[Read more]

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