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A Time to Celebrate

May 10, 2017

As the academic year comes to an end, we look to celebrate the success of another year. On May 1, 2017, we recognized the dedication and accomplishment of graduating undergraduate students at the school’s outstanding student award reception. This annual award ceremony began back in 2009 to recognize the contributions of the school’s graduating students. Fourteen students were nominated by the faculty in all undergraduate majors for their strong academic success and involvement in research. The ceremony was also a time to acknowledge the contributions of those individuals that paved the way for our student’s success which include the faculty, parents, family, and staff. During her remarks, Assistant Dean for Student Support, Angie Salinas told students to, “[T]ake a few moments during commencement to acknowledge all your sacrifices and hard work and as you walk across the stage know that many of us will be in the crowd cheering you on!”

The recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Award in the School of Natural Sciences:

  • Amy Bower, Applied Mathematics
  • Jacob Navarrete, Applied Mathematics
  • Sebastian Rodriquez, Applied Mathematics
  • Jourjuna Alkhouri, Biological Sciences
  • Anh Diep, Biological Sciences
  • Guillermo Najarro, Biological Sciences
  • Austin Perry, Biological Sciences
  • Tiffany Nguyen, Biological Sciences
  • Jordan Larson, Chemical Sciences
  • Marcos Lucero, Chemical Sciences
  • Aaron Stacy, Chemical Sciences
  • Avery Knizek, Earth System Science
  • Amanda Tse, Earth System Science
  • Kyle Kabasares, Physics
2017 Outstanding Student Awards

Many of the graduate programs held end of year receptions this week that recognized and awarded the outstanding contributions of graduate students. The Molecular Cell Biology faculty recognized Portia Mira as Outstanding Graduate Student 2016-2017. Portia is a QSB PhD student working with Prof. Miriam Barlow on researching antibiotics.

QSB Graduate Student


With the 2017 commencement ceremony scheduled for this weekend this signals a transition for many of our students to pursue new paths. Many have career opportunities waiting for them and others will continue their academic journey into graduate programs or professional programs. A number of undergraduates will continue to PhD and Masters programs in chemistry, epidemiology, immunology, and physics at institutions across California and the nation. Other students like Omar Eloustaz, Bob Amidon, and Rebecca Shieh are headed off to dental, pharmacy, and veterinary schools. Many of these students attributed their success at UC Merced to the dedicated faculty they interacted with in the classroom, the opportunity to conduct research, and their co-curricular involvement outside of their classroom.

In April 2017, the Academic Senate announced the recipients of its annual Senate Awards and we would like to recognize Professor Linda Hirst for her Distinction in Research award and Professor Fred Wolf for his Distinguished Early Career Research award. Additionally, Continuing Lecturer in Biology, Dr. Kamal Dulai was recognized for the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching for a Non Senate Lecturer award. You can see all the award recipients on the Academic Senate website:

Professor Linda Hirst
Professor Fred Wolf
Continuing Lecturer Kamal Dulai