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Perseverance, Leadership Key Themes of Campus’ Spring Commencement

UC Merced’s exuberant spring graduates got the chance to demonstrate their gratitude during the 13th Spring Commencement ceremonies this weekend as many of them paused to thank the faculty members and loved ones who helped them through their college journeys.

During the two ceremonies, UC Merced graduated more than 1,200 students, conferring 1,151 bachelor’s degrees, 18 master’s degrees and a record 49 doctoral degrees.

Campus Conferring its Highest Number of Doctorates at Commencement

This weekend, 1,250 UC Merced undergraduate and graduate students, including 52 doctoral candidates — the most in the campus’s 12-year history — are expected to cross the commencement stage and embark on the next chapter of their lives.

“Commencement is the culmination of years of determination and is an exciting time for graduates and their families,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “We are thrilled to celebrate the courage, commitment and spirit of UC Merced students.”

Professor’s Fellowship Allows Renewed Focus on Sociology of Race in South Africa

Professor Whitney Pirtle recently became the first researcher to win the prestigious Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship while employed at UC Merced — a grant that will help her finish writing a book and move her closer to gaining tenure.

“It’s a really big honor,” Pirtle said. “It comes at a great time in my career.”

Shakespeare’s ‘Dream’ Delights Yosemite Visitors for Earth Day Weekend

“April ... hath put a spirit of youth in everything,” Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 98. He might as well have been writing about this year’s Shakespeare in Yosemite production.

With Friday’s premiere — attended by high school students from Mariposa and several children of park employees and El Portal residents and performed by a troupe of players ranging from those experienced and trained in Shakespeare to brand-new actors — the 420-year-old “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” seemed new again.

Applied Math Grad Student Committed to Central Valley Roots

When Mario Banuelos was 12, his mother took him into the fields to tie grape vines.

The labor was tough and the wages were meager. After just one day on the job, Banuelos knew that his path in life would be different. He worked even harder in school and earned nearly straight As. His efforts paid off when he was selected for the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars program.

Researchers Examine Barriers to Organ Donation and Possible Remedies

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, and about once every hour, someone on the list is removed — either because they died while waiting or grew too ill for surgery.

The number of Americans on the waiting list totals more than 114,000 as of this writing, and about 30,000 transplants will be performed this year. In part, that’s because there are not enough organ donors.

Campus’s First Student Fulbright Scholar Heads to El Salvador for Research

UC Merced graduate student Danielle Bermudez will spend the next 10 months in El Salvador, conducting research and serving as a cultural ambassador for the campus as a Fulbright U.S. Student Researcher.

She is the campus’s first student winner of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. There are other types of Fulbright grants, but this one is specific to students.

Feeling a Little Puckish? Get Thee to Yosemite for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Desperate lovers, a fairy king and queen, a woman with a donkey’s head and a scamp with Cupid’s arrow in flower form are taking over Yosemite National Park on Earth Day weekend.
Highlighting UC Merced’s special partnership with Yosemite, Shakespeare in Yosemite enters its second year with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” adapted and directed by UC Merced Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw and Professor Paul Prescott from the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K.

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