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Grad Division Growing by Leaps and Bounds

June 15, 2007

From new students and programs to a new office location and staff member, the UC Merced Graduate Division is continuing to expand and enhance its offerings.

Graduate students are a tremendous benefit to our campus,” said Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Callale Cierra. “They bring teaching and research assistance, external funding resources, new perspectives and prestige.”

In the fall, Cierra expects to have about 50 new graduate students – including 14 international graduate students – bringing the total graduate enrollment to 123.

UC Merced now offers nine individually tailored graduate programs, including two new emphases: Biological Engineering and Small-scale Technologies, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Both were added in the spring.

The division also has a new office on the second floor of the Kolligian Library, a location that’s more visible and accessible to students and faculty. With the hiring of Jesus Cisneros – who received a Master’s degree from UC Merced in May – as graduate diversity and retention coordinator, Cierra is looking to strengthen and expand graduate services and increase support of graduate education.

In the coming year the division aims to inform UC Merced sophomores and juniors about graduate programs offered here. Cierra said it’s a new trend in graduate education to keep the brightest undergraduate students on campus through conferral of their Ph.D., rather than sending them to continue their education elsewhere.

Cierra wants students to start thinking about graduate studies in advance, so they’re prepared when they enter their senior year. She encourages them to take the GRE and collect letters of recommendations early and to use the Internet to seek out the best graduate program and environment for their success.

She hopes they’ll ultimately choose to apply to UC Merced’s graduate studies program.

It is about finding the best fit in terms of style and research focus,” Cierra said. “Graduate students are finding that UC Merced’s intimate campus lends for better opportunities to work alongside world-class faculty and perform groundbreaking research that crosses a wide array of disciplines.”
For more information on the Graduate Studies Division, call (209) 228-4723 or e-mail