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Helping Undergraduates Answer the Eternal Question...Now What?

“How can I transfer my love of chemistry to a satisfying career?”

“I’m a biology major, but I don’t want to be a doctor. What are my options?”

“What exactly can I DO with my applied math degree?”

These are the questions we are answering in Experience By Degrees, a professional seminar series for undergraduate students in the School of Natural Sciences that launched this Spring.  In collaboration with the Office of Leadership, Service and Career, the School of Natural Sciences brings alumni professionals in various positions in the sciences to speak with undergraduates about their experiences. 


Experience by Degrees programming, spearheaded and championed by Dean Dumont, has had an incredible impact on our student population’s interest in Natural Sciences career pathways and options. Already, we have seen several students take an interest in alternative careers that fully utilize their Natural Sciences Degree. The program will undoubtedly impact our students’ eagerness for student success and will help retain UC Merced students to help find real-world solutions to mid-21st-century problems. This program is another great example of Bobcats helping Bobcats, and continues the spirit of cooperation that UC Merced is well known for nationwide.”  - Robert Goodman, Lead STEM Career Specialist,  Undergraduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Specialist – Office of Leadership, Service, Career


Over the course of three months, Experience by Degrees hosted more than 100 undergraduate students. The third installment was held on April 21, 2018, during Bobcat Day, which allowed not only prospective students, but also their families to attend. One of the families in attendance on April 21 claimed, “This is extremely helpful, as we (Mother, Father), are both from the IT industry and are unaware of the industry of ESS. This allowed us to better understand what our son will be going into for his major and career choice.”


The spring, the panelists included:

  • Katharine Cook (2015, Biology), Science Aide: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Chris Curtis (2011, ESS), Staff Hydrogeologist: Luhdorff & Scalmanini Consulting Engineers

  • Betsy Dumont, Dean of School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced

  • Jared Petker (Physics, 2010), Lead Software Engineer, Confident Cannabis

  • Isidro Ramirez (Biology), Manager, Pediatrics Service Line, MPH Grand Canyon University

  • Danielle Teodoro (Chemistry, 2014), Manager, Research Associate III, Impossible Foods

  • Katie Teresi (Applied Math, 2015), Mathematics Teacher at Los Banos High School, Chief Marketing Officer, BEAT

  • Cameron Zuber, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced County, UC Davis Alumnus


The Experience by Degrees Professional Seminar Series will continue in the Fall.  For more information, or if you are a UC Merced Alumnus or Alumna and would like to share your experiences, please contact Robert Goodman at