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Graduating Student Spotlight, Spring Class of 2021

Class of 2021 Spring-Graduating Student Spotlight


We've asked our graduates to share a bit about their time as an SNS student. Their responses and photos will be posted on our Twitter and Instagram feed throughout April and May. In case you missed your loved one's post, scroll down below to view it.


Jacqueline Hernandez Contreras, Cell & Molecular Biology B.S.

Jacqueline Hernandez Contreras, a UC Merced Natural Sciences Class of 2021 senior studying biological sciences with a cell and molecular emphasis if given the chance would tell her freshman self to not be afraid and to be bold. Be true to yourself and opportunities will come your way! Congratulations to Jacqueline and the Class of 2021! 

Cynthia Sabazali, Human Biology B.S.

Cynthia Sabazali, a fourth year human biolgy student and future SNS alumnus when asked what research means to her said "Research is a way to quench your curiosity. If there’s anything I’m wondering about, I can look at relevant research from others who previously had the same question, it’s a way I have been able to expand my knowledge from courses to delve into deeper concepts." Congrats Cynthia! 


Jackie Shay, PhD in Quantitative and Systems Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Jackie Shay, a PhD student in Quantitative and Systems Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and future UC Merced SNS alumnus when asked what her favorite course was at UC Merced said "QSB 290 because it was a great way to start the QSB program. I learned about what it means to study systems and was introduced to both seminal and breaking research in the field, paving the way for my ideas and creativity." Congrats Jackie and the Class of 2021! 

Joseph Cueto, Chemical Sciences B.S.


Joseph Cueto, a Natural Sciences Class of 2021 senior studying Chemical sciences with a Chemistry emphasis when asked what his favorite course was at UC Merced said "CHEM 001 because Mark (Vidensek) made the course very interesting to learn about." Congrats Joseph and the Class of 2021! 

Sierrastarr Roberts, Human Biology B.S.


Sierrastarr Roberts, a fourth year human biology student when asked what research means to her said "Research to me means the possibility of actively finding solutions to some of the the problems and curiosities of how this world works.” Congrats Sierrastarr! 

Lek Wei Seow, Cell and Molecular Biology, B.S.


Lek Wei Seow, a SNS Class of 2021 senior studying Biological Sciences with a Cell and Molecular Emphasis, if given the chance would tell her freshman, "don't be afraid to seek out opportunities on campus. If you are willing to step out your comfort zone. There are way more unique opportunities waiting for you." Congratulations to Lek Wei and the Class of 2021! 

Luis Vargas-Marquina, Human Biology B.S.


Future SNS Class of 2021 Human Biology graduate, Luis Vargas-Marquina’s favorite course at UC Merced was, "Bio 110:The Cell with Professor Marcos Garcia-Ojeda. This class challenged me and consistently made me think about the world around me after every lecture and class activity. Professor Garcia-Ojeda implemented Team-Based learning into the class curriculum, and it was a great interactive way of learning new material and working out solutions as a team. That semester I was in a group with my friends, and we all supported each other in that class. Professors Garcia-Ojeda's office hours were always packed with students. He was a very welcoming professor who always made sure you left understanding the material. The biological principles and the study techniques I adopted from this class, I was able to use in my future classes." Congratulations Luis and the Class of 2021! 

Michael Grey, Human Biology B.S.


When asked what advice 4th year soon-to-be Human Biology graduate Michael Grey would lend to his freshman self he said "Listen to your heart and follow YOUR passions, values, and beliefs. Learn, live, love, and grow." Congratulations Michael and the Class of 2021! 

Amandeep Sandhu, Human Biology B.S.


When asked what does research means to you, Class of 2021 4th year Human Biology student Amandeep Sandhu stated "Research to me means figuring out a solution or answer to a question that will better mankind. It is proving or disproving points so that as a whole humans can progress and do better as we learn more. Research is also about sharing and collaborating for a common goal, which is what helps us stay on the same page about facts that are discovered over time." Congratulations Amandeep and the Class of 2021! 

Allen Kalampukattussery, Human Biology B.S.


Human Biology grad and soon-to-be Class of 2021 alumnus, Allen Kalampukattussery when asked about his favorite course at UCM said, "Bio 124- Microbial Evolution was my favorite class as I was able to develop great understanding of how to read primarily literature. In addition, I grew to appreciate(and grow wary) how our choices in use of medicine affects antimicrobial resistance in pathogens." Congratulations Allen and the Class of 2021! #2021grad #ucmnatsci