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Evidence-Based Solutions for Central California

Brenda Ortiz

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.

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.”

New Scholarship Pays Homage to Persistence and Research

A generous gift from the grandmother of a UC Merced alumna and current staff member is benefitting two undergraduate students who put the UC Merced Library to good use.

Melissa Becerra, a third-year psychology student, and Nathan Parmeter, who graduates this week, are the first recipients of the Carter Joseph Abrescy and Larry Kranich Library Award for Student Research Excellence.

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.

Alumnae Staff Members Honor Family With Endowed Scholarships

In creating scholarships to help future generations of Bobcats succeed, UC Merced staff members and alumnae Monique de Villa (’16) and Danielle Armedilla (’12) are cementing the legacy they are leaving for campus.  

De Villa and Armedilla were honored for their generous contributions at last month’s scholarship signing ceremony on Bobcat Day — a thank-you tradition that began a few years ago.

Grad Student Awarded Thesis of the Year for Work in Public Health

UC Merced public health graduate student Erendira “Dida” Estrada's master’s thesis, “Development of a participatory health communication intervention: An ecological approach to reducing rural information inequality and health disparities,” was named Thesis of the Year by the Health Communication divisions of the two most prestigious associations in communication — the International Communication Association (ICA) and the National Communication Association (NCA).

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