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UCDC to Greet UC Merced Students

November 21, 2006

UCDC to Greet UC Merced StudentsUCDC to Greet UC Merced Students

For the first time, UC Merced is sending students to UCDC, a UC-sponsored semester-long academic and internship program in the nation’s capitol.

Mehrdad Rasolipour and Vera Diaz will arrive just as the political landscape in Washington, D.C., is changing from red to blue, and they’ll spend the spring semester living and studying at the UCDC Center, six blocks from the White House.

They’ll also intern with prestigious and influential organizations in D.C. – perhaps the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution or the White House. They’ll each write a research paper and receive 12 units after successfully completing the semester.

Rasolipour, 23, a senior psychology major from Irvine, hopes to work at the Department of Justice or the Supreme Court in preparation for his goal, a top-tier law school.

The UCDC program will be a spectacular finish to my undergraduate career, said Rasolipour, who visited the capitol when a friend attended UCDC a couple years ago.

The competition for UCDC was especially tough this year, because UC Merced partnered with UC Berkeley, which has the oldest and most established UCDC program. Berkeley reserved just two of its 30 slots for UC Merced students this year.

But organizers are preparing UC Merced’s own program to begin as soon as Fall 2007. UC Merced UCDC representative Professor Gregg Herken, who would like to go to the UCDC Center in 2008 to work on-site for a semester, said UC Merced’s program will someday accommodate as many students as Berkeley’s.

To be considered for the program, applicants must have two letters of recommendation, a 3.0 GPA, be a junior or senior, submit a writing sample and interview with Herken. Applications for Fall 2007 are due by Feb. 28. For more information about the program, visit The program costs about $3,000 more than a regular semester here, but that includes the cost of a trip home during the semester. Financial aid can be used.

I think more students are going to get very excited about this. It’s one of the best-kept secrets on campus, Herken said. I think everyone should take advantage of the opportunity.