Verenize Arceo of Winton has represented UC Merced at the state Capitol, but her most recent achievement is closer to home.
The history major is among the 20 graduates in the Class of 2018 honored as Outstanding Students, an award bestowed by each school and presented at a reception hosted by their respective deans. To be considered, students must be eligible to graduate, have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher and demonstrate leadership qualities and interest in research, community and campus engagement.
Arceo, who was nominated by her history professors, participated in the 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Institute hosted by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center. She was also a UROC-H scholar funded by the Andrew Mellon Grant for research in the humanities, and she worked with the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning’s SATAL Program. In the spring, Arceo was invited to Sacramento to showcase her work in uncovering a missing part of Merced County’s history – a Chinese community that was among its earliest settlers but is absent from history books.
Being named an Outstanding Student within the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA), she said, is even more meaningful.
Other SSHA honorees:
· Katrina B. Argamosa, global arts studies
· Natalie Frost, management and business economics
· Simerpreet Kaur, psychology
· Monica Perales, English
School of Engineering
One of the School of Engineering’s Outstanding Student honorees was also a student speaker at this year’s commencement. Eliezar Vigdorchik of Redwood City, a mechanical engineering major, worked in both the Thermal and Electrochemical Energy Lab (TEEL) and the Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation (MESA) lab. He spent a year in the Society of Automotive Engineers and was a tutor in the Math Center.
Other engineering award winners:
· Mathew Nakaki, bioengineering
· Avery Berchek, computer science and engineering
· Armando Montanez, computer science and engineering
· Morgan Cooney, environmental engineering
· Lawrence Anderson, materials science and engineering
· Zhi Lu, mechanical engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Not many biology majors can boast viral recipes featured on Buzzfeed and Yahoo Food, but Merced’s Julia Alvarez can. She started as a business major with a small business selling baked goods — the recipes for which were shared widely online — before switching majors to biology. She’s looking forward to staying on at UC Merced, working with Professor Kirk Jensen in the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate group.
Other Natural Sciences honorees:
· Josue Ramirez Bonilla, applied mathematics
· Luis Davila, Earth systems sciences
· Pablo Juarez, biological sciences
· Michael Spaeth, biological sciences
· Sandeep Sanghera, chemical sciences
· Kenny Veliz, biological sciences
· De Zhen Zhou, physics
Berhe Selected by National Academies to Serve as “New Voice” for Science
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine selected Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe to serve as an inaugural member of the Academies’ newest initiative — New Voices in Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, New Voices seeks to build a “national network of exceptional young leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to leadership and serving the SEM community through science policy, communication, education, outreach, international or interdisciplinary engagement, leadership development and other activities.”
Berhe was selected from a competitive field of several hundred candidates to serve as part of the very first 18-member New Voices peer group, which includes distinguished early-career SEM leaders from a variety of disciplines. Berhe joins the group as a soil biogeochemist whose research focuses on how changing environmental conditions affect vital soil processes. Her on-campus affiliations include the Life and Environmental Sciences Unit in the School of Natural Sciences, the nationally-ranked Environmental Systems Graduate Group and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute.
New Voices group members will work together to develop new ways to communicate science to address pressing challenges on the national and global stage.
“The program is motivated by the need to communicate science to broad audiences and promote scientists' engagement with policy makers, the public and other scientists,” Berhe said.
UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the campus’s Public Relations team. To contact the team, email PR@ucmerced.edu.