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December 18, 2009


News Blog


The Office of Alumni Affairs wishes UC Merced’s Golden Bobcat alumni and campus friends a happy holiday season.

Thank you to all of the San Joaquin Valley UC alumni and UC Merced alumni who supported the Fifth Annual Fall Finals Week Study Break. Stress Fest provided snacks to more than 375 UC Merced students who were studying hard for their finals. Special thanks to Patti Kishi, MaryAnn Reynolds, Ruth Fromson, Anne Mahacek, Carolyn Vara, Richard and Susan Mahacek, David Glasgow, Penelope Simonsen and Roger Wood for donating goodies and their time. If you are interested in participating in the Spring Finals Week Study Break, contact Stefani Madril.

Stay tuned for the Class of 2010 gift announcement!

Little Lake Park Amphitheater Update

The grass continues to grow and the Little Lake Park Amphitheater is almost finished.  More than 370 bricks will be laid in the amphitheater in January. Keep your eyes out for information about the ribbon cutting planned for Bobcat Day 2010.

For information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril.


University Friends Circle Lunch – Jan. 5

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Merced Golf and Country Club, 6333 North Golf Road.  Maxwell Norton, UC Cooperative Extension's grapes and tree crops farm advisor, will be the guest speaker.

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. The cost is $20, and includes lunch. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP: Christine Howe, (209) 228-4190.

Arts UC Merced Presents … An Evening of Song with Jenni – Jan. 23

The evening of music begins 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium on campus. Performers include soprano Jenni Samuelson, pianist Stephen Thomas and guitarist John Albano. The program will include songs by Rossini, de Falla, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and a special set of original lullabies by Jeff Langley and Amanda McTigue.

For ticket information: arts.ucmerced.edu.

MTS Lecture Series – Jan. 27

The Mind, Technology, and Society (MTS) lecture series will begin the spring semester with a talk by UC Merced philosophy professor Jeffrey Yoshimi. Sponsored by the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, the talks are free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. Jan. 21 in KL 232.

For information: jyoshimi@ucmerced.edu or cogsci.ucmerced.edu.


Chancellor’s Associates Inspired by Roots of Peace Founder Heidi Kühn

Chancellor's Associates who attended the Holiday Reception on Dec. 3 had the honor of meeting Chancellor’s Associates Scholar Heidi Kühn, who is regarded as a visionary leader for her inspirational work transforming toxic minefields into bountiful agricultural fields.

Kühn shared her extraordinary experiences and inspired Chancellor’s Associates to think about how they can make an impact on the world.

As a memento of the evening, Chancellor’s Associates received a signed copy of “Blue Planet Run,” which provides a stunning look at the water problems facing humanity and how powerful partnerships can change the world.

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


Total amount of awards in October:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2009 to November 30, 2009:



UC Merced has its First Natural Reserve Site

Yosemite Field StationUC Merced’s Yosemite Field Station, part of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), is now part of the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS).

With its inclusion, the Yosemite Field Station joins a system of 36 NRS sites that encompasses about 135,000 acres of protected natural land. The sites are available for university-level instruction, research and public outreach.

SNRI Director Roger Bales said the field station’s addition to the NRS “will strengthen UC research in this critically important region.”

“The addition to the UC Natural Reserve signifies our strong commitment as a campus, and as part of the UC system, to develop a sustainable presence in the central Sierra Nevada," Bales said.

Opened in 2006, the Yosemite Field Station is located in the village of Wawona inside Yosemite National Park. The facility provides research access to multiple habitats in the central and southern Sierra. It includes classroom, office and work space, as well as overnight accommodations for up to 30 people. Throughout the year, the station hosts research scientists and students from high school to the graduate level, with the near-capacity summer users reflecting a vibrant community of researchers and undergraduate assistants.

Campus Gives Back

Staff Assembly food driveDespite the sluggish economy, UC Merced students, faculty and staff are giving back to the community in a variety of ways this holiday season.

UC Merced’s Staff Assembly and the MEChA and Circle K clubs held canned food drives and will deliver the food to local food pantries and shelters for the holidays.

The Office of Student Life is holding a toy drive to gather gifts for the Boys and Girls Club of Merced County, while Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity collected toys for the Merced County Rescue Mission.

“We believe in the development of civically engaged students and the development of students as active members of the community,” said Jim Greenwood, student life coordinator for clubs and organizations. “Regardless of your faith, the holiday season brings out the spirit of giving and provides an opportunity to give and share some of the blessings we have received.”

The campus’ Rotaract club has been busy organizing a book drive for the homeless shelter and the Boys and Girls Club, making the holidays special for two local families, feeding the homeless and much more.

The campus police department’s UC Mentoring Program came up with its own plan this season: Send a holiday wish to a soldier overseas. Children at Alicia Reyes Elementary School in Merced, along with their UC Merced student mentors, made handmade Christmas cards for military men and women serving in Iraq.

“It is amazing to see students come together, especially at the end of the semester when money is tight, to dig a little deeper and share the love they have for others," Greenwood added.

UC Seeks $913 Million Increase in State Funding

The UC Board of Regents approved a system-wide budget plan that seeks an additional $913 million in state funding and also incorporates two student fee increases – measures that together are designed to help bridge a severe budget shortfall brought on by the state fiscal crisis.

See entire story on UC Newsroom.

Continuing Education Courses in Fresno

Enrollment for spring 2010 extension courses offered by UC Merced and UC Berkeley Extension in Fresno has begun. The semester begins in January.

Spring offerings include professional courses, such as fundamentals of leadership, developmental psychology, drug treatment counseling for women, psychology of weight reduction, essentials of human resources, introduction to marketing, paralegal studies, project management, advanced computer systems and programming, sustainability studies, and preparation for the California contractor’s exam.

For information, visit www.unex.berkeley.edu/merced or call (559) 241-7512.


Professors Receive UC Cancer Research Coordinating Committee Grant

Michael Cleary
Jinah Choi

School of Natural Sciences professors Michael Cleary and Jinah Choi have each received $50,000 research grants from the UC Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The CRCC’s mission is to support promising new directions of research into all aspects of cancer, including its origin, prevention and cure. The CRCC awards grants to new faculty to initiate cancer research projects, to established investigators in areas of research other than cancer to initiate cancer research projects and to established investigators to initiate studies in new areas.

Grant Helps Professor’s Research in Cellular Biological Transport System

Ajay GopinathanSchool of Natural Sciences professor Ajay Gopinathan’s research involves understanding how material and information is transported within a living cell in a directed, regulated and timely fashion.

He compares the cell to a busy city, with distinct units performing specific functions. The nucleus, which is the seat of power and houses the cell’s genetic information, acts as city hall and the library. In the cell, tiny motors function as delivery trucks, moving cargo between the organelles along an interconnected network of filaments – the cytoskeleton – the cellular equivalent of a network of roads and highways.

Gopinathan is learning even more about how transport on that dynamic network functions thanks to a prestigious award he received this year from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Gopinathan received the foundation’s 21st Century Science Initiative, a five-year $301,702 grant.

His project, “Biological Transport in Complex and Dynamic Environments,” will use methods from theoretical physics to understand how transport is affected by the proteins that control the dynamics of the cytoskeletal network.


Students Shine in EPICS Program

EPICA bright idea to create a new lighting system for a gem and mineral museum helped an Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) team win first place for their presentation.

Each semester, EPICS teams work with a local non-profit group to solve an engineering-related problem for the organization. At the end of the semester, each team must give a 12-minute presentation that describes their work.

This semester’s presentations took place on Dec. 10 and a panel of judges selected the top three winners. The team that worked with the California State Mining Mineral Museum in Mariposa earned first place and an additional $1,000 to add to their project’s budget next semester. The students designed and installed a Hybrid Solar Natural Daylight System.

Team Get S.E.T. earned second place and $500 for its work with the Merced County Office of Education for designing science curriculum for K-12 students. Coming in third was the Castle Science and Technology team, which designed and built an interactive nanotechnology exhibit for middle school students that will eventually be displayed in Atwater.

The EPICS program gives students an opportunity to earn academic credit, gain real world engineering experience and develop a host of skills that will serve them well in their future careers – all while helping a community organization.

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