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Research Week Expands its Reach

April 1, 2010

Quick Facts
  • UC Merced’s Research Week grows again, now expanding to fill a
    full five-day period with some events open to the public and others
    geared toward segments of the campus community.
  • The Research Poster Competition returns, as does the Vital and
    Alice Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring UC
    Merced’s own Mark Aldenderfer.
  • The Sigma Xi Spring Symposium, focusing on climate change
    science and governance, makes its Research Week debut.

April 1, 2010

Sigma Xi Spring Symposium, focusing on climate change science
and governance, joins popular traditions like the research poster
contest and Pellissier speaker series

MERCED — What began three years ago as Research Day and
then grew into a multiple-day event has reached a new benchmark
this year. April 12 through 16 will be
at the University of California, Merced, marking the first
time the annual celebration of faculty and student research has
stretched over an entire week.

Research Week’s traditional mainstay events — the

Research Poster Competition
and the

Vital and Alice Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series

return again this year. And they are joined for the first time by
what is becoming an established tradition of its own, the

Sigma Xi Spring Symposium
. All three events are open to the public.

“UC Merced is quickly becoming known for its groundbreaking
researchin a number of
areas and disciplines,” said Sam Traina, vice chancellor for
research. “Research Week is our chance to celebrate that research
and for the general public to learn about the amazing work being
done by our students and faculty.”

Students presenting their research poster at Research Week
Research Week is an opportunity
for students to put their fascinating research on display for
judges, the campus community and the public.

The April 13 poster contest is a showcase for student research,
with monetary prizes for those deemed to have created the best
posters depicting their research — including a $1,500
scholarship for the graduate contest winner, courtesy of Comcast.
The undergraduate poster session begins at 10 a.m. and the graduate
session at 1 p.m.

The Pellissier speaker series, made possible by a generous
donation from the

Pellissier family
, draws its speaker from campus for the first

Mark Aldenderfer
, the new dean of UC Merced’s School of Social
Sciences, Humanities and Arts, will lend his expertise in
archaeology as this year’s speaker.

Aldenderfer’s lecture, which explores how our species evolved to
live the “high life” using human genetics, cognitive science,
glaciology, paleoclimatology and ecology, will begin at 6 p.m.
April 13.

Photo of Mark Aldenderfer, UC Merced's dean of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
This year, the Vital and Alice
Pellissier Distinguished Speaker Series will feature Mark
Aldenderfer, UC Merced’s dean of Social Sciences, Humanities and

“The story of how humans evolved to live in the world’s high
plateaus is one that can’t be told through archaeology alone,”
Aldenderfer said. “It’s through interdisciplinary research that we
can answer some of nature’s toughest questions, including what it
took for our ancestors to finally live the high life.”

The Sigma Xi Spring Symposium, hosted by UC Merced Professor

Anthony Westerling
, will focus on one of the more hotly debated
subjects of our generation: Global Change Science and Governance.

The symposium’s speakers — distinguished scientists

Richard Somerville

Catherine Gautier-Downes

Steven Schneider
— will touch on various aspects of global
climate change, from the latest research available on the subject
to the reluctance of the public and the media to buy into the
science of it. The symposium, which runs from 1:45 to 5 p.m. April
15, will include brief question-and-answer segments with each speaker.

“Global climate change is one of the most important scientific
topics of our time,” Westerling said. “This illustrious group of
speakers will inform and educate our audience while challenging
their assumptions about what climate change is and what it means
for the future of our planet.”

Research Week also has a number of events geared specifically
toward the campus community or segments of it. These include a
workshop on how to find research funding, a research-themed movie
night and a presentation about the research opportunities available
at the university’s Yosemite Field Station.

A complete schedule of events, including dates, times and
locations, can be found


James Leonard