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Graduate Students

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.

Grad Student Researches Biology Behind Political Views

If you’ve ever wondered why people stand where they do on the political spectrum, science might have at least part of the answer: People can be biologically predisposed to certain feelings toward politics and society.

A new paper lead-authored by UC Merced graduate student Chelsea Coe indicates that physiological factors can predict how someone will react when presented with political scenarios — an idea that demonstrates an emerging area of study, the intersection of biology and politics.

Conference Boosts Students’ Leadership Skills, Confidence

UC Merced students had the chance to gain knowledge and leadership skills for their personal and academic careers at the 2017 Leadership Conference, hosted by the campus’s Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center on Sept. 23.

Now in its 11th year, the annual conference was redesigned to help facilitate deep transformational learning to increasing student leadership on campus and beyond.

Fall Grads Get a Commencement Ceremony All Their Own

Beginning this year, UC Merced’s fall graduates will have an earlier occasion to celebrate their outstanding accomplishments.

UC Merced is launching a new tradition with its first Fall Commencement. The intimate ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 in the Art Kamangar Center at the historic Merced Theatre downtown, will include all the pomp and circumstance at spring commencement — caps and gowns, full regalia and crossing the stage in front of friends and family.

Publishing Research a Rite of Passage for Grad Students

Like anyone starting a Ph.D. program, Anna Ankirskaia had her doubts.

But, like anyone who ultimately completes their Ph.D., Ankirskaia had to conduct her own research and get it published. With support from Professor Patricia LiWang in the Quantitative and Systems Biology (QSB) program, she’s made it happen, publishing twice in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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.

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