Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope that you had a wonderful summer and are enjoying the lead into the fall. There is a special magic in the air when students return to campus after the summer - the thrilling anticipation of learning new things and meeting new people, the bustle of students and faculty going to and from classes, and the fun of participating in all kinds of academic and social activities right here on campus. Welcome to the new academic year!
Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been busy this summer and there is much to celebrate. 289 School of Natural Sciences undergraduates, 4 M.S., and 22 Ph.D. students became proud UC Merced alumni, our graduate programs achieved national rankings, faculty members secured prestigious grants for research and teaching and published in top-notch scientific journals, and our excellent staff members kept it all running like clockwork. In an historic moment for the campus, July 1 marked the formal establishment of five School of Natural Sciences academic departments led by Department Chairs: Applied Mathematics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Life and Environmental Sciences, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Physics.
This issue of STEM and LEAF includes a closer look at several School of Natural Sciences highlights, with a focus on our impact both within and well-beyond out local community. I hope you enjoy it.
With best regards,