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School of Natural Sciences

Campus Voices: Serving Community Brings Benefits to Students

When it came time to apply for college, so many of us scrambled to compile those lists of community service hours to bolster our resumes. Was there enough? Could I explain in my personal statement what this service meant to me? 

From the time we’re young, this idea is engrained in our heads that volunteering is important. There’s probably thousands of variations that we have heard at one time or another of why you have to give back to your community and the impact that service has, but the question remained, why?

NASA Interns Return With New Prospects, Realized Dreams

Zach Petrek, a second-year doctoral student in chemistry and chemical biology, can usually be found running experiments in the laboratory of his advisor, Professor Tao Ye. But this summer, he did something different — he went to NASA.

Petrek was one of seven UC Merced students to intern at NASA over the summer, an opportunity provided through MACES, the Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing.

NSF Grants Will Help Unravel Mysteries of Sea Stars, Jellyfish

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Professor Michael Dawson $900,000 to study some rather mysterious marine phenomena.

Dawson received $700,000 — part of a three-year, $1.2 million grant awarded to Dawson and collaborators at UC Santa Cruz, the University of Georgia and Cornell University — to investigate the repercussions of the 2013 outbreak of sea star wasting disease (SSWD), a marine pandemic that killed 90 percent of ochre sea stars along North America’s Pacific coast.

Mathematicians Making Strides Toward Lifelike Animations

Imagine going to see the latest Pixar movie. You’re sitting in the theater enjoying the film, when you begin to notice the astounding level of detail in the animation. On screen, water is rippling and leaves are flittering with an almost uncanny realism. It’s art imitating life with incredible verisimilitude, and it makes you wonder how the animators are able to pull off such lifelike effects.

Math Professor Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Professor Noemi Petra is UC Merced’s newest recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award, which the NSF describes as its “most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their organizations.”

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