Breadcrumb

Past STEM Peer Mentors

 

 

Previous STEM Peer Mentors

2018- 2019

 

Alina Santos

Alina Santos, Cell Molecular and Developmental Biology,  Transferred: Foothill College

I attended Foothill Community College in northern California when I graduated high school to begin my undergraduate education in Biology. During my enrollment there, I worked at Target as a Customer Service Representative in addition to becoming a private tutor in various levels of math, biology, and chemistry. While taking classes and working part-time, I volunteered at a local free clinic and medical-surgical nursing unit to continue expanding my clinical experience as well as solidifying my interest in the medical field. I am deeply appreciative of these opportunities as they have allowed me to interact with a variety of patients on a personal level and introduced me to different perspectives of those in healthcare professions. Upon transferring to UCR, I fell in love with studying biochemistry and cell signaling pathways. I knew I wanted to participate in a lab that utilized these fields for medicinal purposes. Currently, I am actively involved in Dr. McCole’s biomedical research lab, where we are examining the intestinal epithelial barrier in mice and biopsies from human patients. The barrier permeability to electrolytes and macromolecules is through the tight junctions connecting adjacent cells. Specifically, the McCole team is interested in the regulation and expression of gene PTPN2, as it has demonstrated significance in inducing intestinal barrier defects when introduced to certain cytokines. In addition to research, I help represent the university at official functions and events as a CNAS Science Ambassador as well as a STEM Peer Mentor. I am also involved on campus in student organizations such as CampMED, Flying Samaritans, and the American Red Cross Riverside Chapter. On the weekends, I volunteer at Loma Linda University Medical Center in the Emergency Department. Ultimately, I hope to integrate these experiences on and off campus in order to become a well-rounded physician. Outside of academics, I love to read, run, dance, and hike in my spare time. Since moving to southern California, I am still learning and exploring new places. I am also a huge coffee addict, so you will most likely find me at The Coffee Bean during various times of the day. Don’t hesitate to say hello!

 

Derek Deng

Derek Deng, Biology

I started my undergraduate career studying Biology at UCR right after I graduated from high school. Being very curious about what the university had to offer for me, I decided to try out various organizations on campus such as Circle K and Flying Samaritans. It was not until the end of my first year that I found out that I would be getting the chance to participate in an all expenses paid research program here at UCR. Through the program, I was able to learn much about protists and how they thrived in their microcosms based on various conditions. Throughout my years at UCR, I have been involved in various organizations like the Student Alumni Association as Vice President of Marketing, Mini Medical School as the Director of Training, and a member of STEM Pathways where I was able to get a STEM Pathway Grant to further my research. In the future, I plan to apply to medical school and take a gap year to prepare myself mentally. Please let me know if you see me around and say hi!
 

Duane Kim

Duane Kim, Biology, Transferred from: Golden West College

My college experience started at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach where I had a great experience academically and professionally.  During the 5 years I attended, I wasn’t able to get heavily involved on campus due to the fact that I was working roughly 75 hours a week at my parent’s business.  However, I did get a chance to work on campus as an employee of the Financial Aid department which allowed me to learn an enormous amount of useful information while also developing professional work skills.  Once I transferred to UCR, I decided to become heavily involved and make the most of my time at the campus. I was lucky enough to get a summer internship for research at Prof. Quinn McFrederick’s lab in the Entomology Dept. through the STEM program which helped me start my journey at UCR off on the right foot.  In my lab, I got to work with a variety of bees and help pursue research pertaining to gut microbes and their effects on individual bees and the hive as a whole. I decided to stay involved in the research lab during the school year while also getting involved in many different clubs and organizations on campus to help make me a competitive applicant for medical school.  Other campus involvements include: STEM Pathway Peer Mentor, Supplemental Instruction Leader for Genetics, Inter-Organizational Representative for Phi Delta Epsilon, Vice Chair of the Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Committee, Patient Intake Member for Riverside Free Clinic, Emergency Dept. Volunteer Trainer and Volunteer at Loma Linda, and UCR CNAS Science Ambassador.  Outside of school I like to do a variety of activities such as swimming at the beach, hiking, and discovering new places to eat at. If you ever have questions on how to get involved on campus, tips for the pre-med field, or just want to talk, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to assist!
 

Georgette Sabbah

Georgette Sabbah, Chemistry

After graduating from Redlands East Valley High School in 2014, I was accepted into UC Riverside as a Regent Scholar. Upon entering UCR as a first-generation chemistry major, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that were available to undergraduate students. As a result, I began researching in Dr. Julian’s Analytical Chemistry lab as a sophomore studying the influence of isomerization on crystallin proteins in the eye lens and how this modification promotes the pathogenesis of age-related diseases. I have had the privilege of working with the Dr. Julian team for the past two years and becoming the co-author of a publication that can be found in the Journal of Proteome Research. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a participant in the MSRIP-UC Leads summer research program which gave me the opportunity to work on a second publication with the Dr. Julian team and present my work at a research symposium. I will continue presenting my work at research symposia with the MSRIP-UC LEADS program during my senior year.  Besides research, I am heavily involved in on-campus activities. As a supplemental instructor for courses such as calculus, chemistry, and biology, I review major concepts discussed in lecture during weekly sessions that I facilitate. Furthermore, I have had the privilege of assisting the university as a host during official functions as a CNAS ambassador and STEM Peer Mentor. Additionally, volunteering for Redlands Community Hospital’s Labor and Delivery department has inspired me to point my career path towards the medical field. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, hiking, and trying new restaurants. If you ever have questions on how to get involved on campus or just want to talk, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to assist!
 

Lindsey Bustos

Lindsey Bustos, Neuroscience, Transferred from: Riverside City College

After graduating high school from Redlands East Valley, I was not admitted to a four-year institution. I decided to attend Riverside City College after being accepted into their honors program, despite still living in the Redlands area. During my enrollment there, I worked as a sales associate at Best Buy and later as a dog bather for Furry Face. I always had an interest in STEM and pursued my prerequisites to transfer as a STEM major at RCC. I became more interested in the field of medicine while attending RCC and decided to enroll in their Emergency Medical Technician program. I was able to learn more about the human body and eventually decided on the path to medical school. I was especially intrigued in the brain and applied to transfer as a neuroscience major. I applied to a handful of UC’s and Cal States and received admission to all of them. The choice to come to UCR was an easy one because I did not want to move away from my friends, family, and dogs. It was also the best decision financially because I could continue to work as an EMT at Riverside AMR and live at home without paying rent. Upon transferring I was able to participate in the RISE summer bridge to research program in which I was placed into a lab. This program further developed my professional skills, acquainted me with the campus, and helped me make several new friends. As a part of Dr. Talbot’s Cell Biology and Neuroscience lab, I assisted in her research of electronic cigarettes. I studied the cytotoxic effects of menthol on human lung epithelial cells. I was able to present my findings multiple times at different symposiums. It also led me to become involved with the clearing the air group which helps keep UCR smoke free. I am also involved with intramural sports on campus for which I play indoor and outdoor soccer. I have had great success at UCR which lead to becoming a CNAS Science Ambassador where I am able to represent the university at official school functions and mentor younger girls to maintain interest in STEM. The STEM connections program has been a vital resource in my success as well. I took advantage of the Health Professions Advising Center since I knew I wanted to go into medicine. With the advice of the assistant director there I was able to find my future career in podiatry and will be attending Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA beginning in August. Outside of school, I enjoy singing and dancing but I am not very good at either. I also love to eat which I am good at.

 

Ruchittrani Hapuarachchi

Ruchittrani Hapuarachchi, Biology/Statistics Minor, Transferred: Santa Monica College

After graduating from high school, I decided to go to community college because one, I did not feel prepared enough for a four-year university and two, I was not ready to take on the financial burden that a university brings. I spent five years at Santa Monica College continuing my studies while working part-time in order to save for university. My involvement in Santa Monica College included becoming a president’s ambassador and participating in Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Pre-Health Association.  I graduated from Santa Monica College with an A.A degree in Science with honors. I started my UCR undergraduate career in the summer of 2016 as one of the Summer Bridge to Research student. I was placed into Dr. David Reznick’s lab in the Biology Dept. where we looked at the evolutionary traits of the Trinidadian guppies with regards to predation. I fell in love with the lab and continued in the lab since the summer. Besides research, my other campus involvements include Mini Medical School, American Red Cross UCR chapter and Medical Scholars Program. I am also part of the Health Scholar program at Riverside Community Hospital. After graduating from UCR, I plan on going to PA school. In my free time, I like to eat, sleep and watch Korean dramas.

 

Rosa McGuire

Rosa McGuire, Biology, Transferred from: Victor Valley College

In 2011 I moved to the United States from Peru. I spent two years at Victor Valley College working on my A.S. in Math/Science before transferring to UCR as a Biology major. During Summer 2015, I was part of the Summer Bridge to Research Program. I worked in the Anderson Lab, where I worked on bacterial population dynamics. During my first year at UCR, I continued working in the same lab but in a different project that studies the effect of spatial configuration on species interactions using computer modeling and protist microcosms. I really enjoy doing research and I have presented at various symposia including the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium and the AAAS Pacific Division Meeting. Aside from research, I am also part of the UC LEADS program, Honors Program, and STEM Connections Program. Now that I am a Peer Mentor, I feel motivated to help other college students that might have similar stories to mine. I am looking forward to sharing my experience in the STEM program and be a resource to other fellow Highlanders. After I graduate from UCR I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in Ecology. I hope to become a professor at a research university. My hobbies include photography, reading, and spending time with my pets.

 

Vicente Melgarejo

Vicente Melgarejo, Biochemistry, Transferred from: Chaffey College

I immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2011. After graduating from high school, I went to Chaffey College for three years to start my Biochemistry degree. I was a student assistant in the zoology laboratory for a year, and I was also a part-time cashier at a fast food restaurant.  In the summer of 2016, right before transferring to UCR, I was a participant of the RISE Summer Bridge to Research Program. I was placed in Dr. Rankin’s Laboratory in the Entomology Department, where I studied the reproductive behavior of Bombus impatiens bumblebees when they are exposed to cuticular hydrocarbons from queens. I am honored to still be part of this research group. In the summer of 2017, I was a USDA Dynamic Genome Scholar, a research opportunity focused on analyzing the genetic variation of citrus trees in the UCR Citrus Variety Collection using molecular biology and bioinformatics, as well as exploring the biotechnology industry. My other extracurricular activities besides research and being a peer mentor include being the treasurer for out in STEM (oSTEM), a member of University Honors, and the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP). My career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in environmental conservation, and teach at a community college or work for a regulatory government agency. Besides being a science geek, I enjoy hiking, music, books, culture, social justice, Harry Potter, cats, bad jokes and going a day without falling or spilling something.

 

Bassam Theodory

Bassam Theodory, Biochemistry, Transferred from: Citrus College

After graduating from high school in Aleppo, Syria (2012). The United States was the only open door for my family and I. Upon my arrival, I spent the majority of my time improving my proficiency in English so I can go to college and start working on my future dream, and that is becoming a physician. I attended Citrus College for two years and a half where I worked as a supplemental instruction leader for biology and math tutor. Simultaneously, my involvement at Citrus College included joining an honors society and clubs such as Phi Theta Kappa and Med-Health Society. During the summer of 2015, I was one of the participants of the Summer Bridge Research program at UCR. I was also lucky enough to be placed in Dr. Eugene Nothnagel's lab, where we analyze methylated sugars, using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, and their different effects on plants. This gave me the opportunity to present our lab and research in two symposia, at UCR and Citrus College. I am currently active in Dr. Nothnagel's lab and working collaboratively with Dr. Rolshausen on almond trees. Besides research, I am very dedicated to service events and giving back to the community. I am the project founder and leader of the diabetes project through Mini Medical School. As aspiring physicians, we are trying to raise awareness and educate underrepresented communities about diabetes and its complications in Riverside. Additionally, being the president of Young at Heart gave me the opportunity to recruit more members and reach out to local nursing homes. We volunteer regularly at Sunrise nursing home and assist in a variety of events such as Bingo game days and Thanksgiving. Away from school involvements, I enjoy my time playing soccer, going to the beach, mountain biking and trying new restaurants!

 

Duane Kim

Duane Kim, Biology, Transferred from: Golden West College

My college experience started at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach where I had a great experience academically and professionally.  During the 5 years I attended, I wasn’t able to get heavily involved on campus due to the fact that I was working roughly 75 hours a week at my parent’s business.  However, I did get a chance to work on campus as an employee of the Financial Aid department which allowed me to learn an enormous amount of useful information while also developing professional work skills.  Once I transferred to UCR, I decided to become heavily involved and make the most of my time at the campus. I was lucky enough to get a summer internship for research at Prof. Quinn McFrederick’s lab in the Entomology Dept. through the STEM program which helped me start my journey at UCR off on the right foot.  In my lab, I got to work with a variety of bees and help pursue research pertaining to gut microbes and their effects on individual bees and the hive as a whole. I decided to stay involved in the research lab during the school year while also getting involved in many different clubs and organizations on campus to help make me a competitive applicant for medical school.  Other campus involvements include: STEM Pathway Peer Mentor, Supplemental Instruction Leader for Genetics, Inter-Organizational Representative for Phi Delta Epsilon, Vice Chair of the Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Committee, Patient Intake Member for Riverside Free Clinic, Emergency Dept. Volunteer Trainer and Volunteer at Loma Linda, and UCR CNAS Science Ambassador.  Outside of school I like to do a variety of activities such as swimming at the beach, hiking, and discovering new places to eat at. If you ever have questions on how to get involved on campus, tips for the pre-med field, or just want to talk, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to assist!

 

Jennifer Madrigal

Jennifer Madrigal, Biochemistry/Chemistry Minor, Transferred: Riverside City College

After graduating early from high school in Utah at the end of 2005 I knew I wanted to continue my education, so I moved back to my hometown and took some classes at Riverside Community College. I ended up living in Washington for several years and got a decent office job with a software reseller, but I was unsatisfied and decided to go back to school as a business administration major. After a stint at Spokane Community College in Washington I decided to pursue my passion for science. I moved back to California, waited a year for residency tuition rates, and then completed my biochemistry prerequisites at RCC. Along the way I received two A.A. degrees and one A.S. degree. I transferred to UCR in the Fall of 2014, and I have enjoyed worked in Dr. Song’s protein crystallography lab, but have since learned about computational chemistry in Dr. Chang’s lab, and am currently investigating computational methods for accurately modeling and analysis of molecules and molecular interactions. I hope to continue computational chemistry research in graduate school, and develop a career in academia as a faculty member at a research university. 

 

Joel Fuerte

Joel Fuerte, Biochemistry, Transferred from: Riverside City College

Like many students, I struggled with deciding on a direction for myself after graduating high school in 2010. Much of my time at Santa Ana College, and Riverside City College was spent flip-flopping between different majors and questioning if I had what it takes. I finally decided on Biochemistry with an emphasis on Biology after falling in love with the subjects, thanks in part to the passion and guidance of my biology and organic chemistry professors at RCC. I chose UCR as my school due to the collaborative atmosphere, beautiful campus, and countless research opportunities and student support programs. The summer before my first quarter at UCR I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Bridge to Research program. I was placed in the lab of Dr. Richard Cardullo where I spent time researching quaternary protein structure that contributed to the distinct morphology of water strider sperm to better understand protein folding via incorporation of enzymatic cofactors. Currently, I am an undergraduate researcher in the molecular biology lab of Dr. Ted Karginov where we investigate RNA-binding proteins and their role in the development of cells of the immune system. In addition to undergraduate research, I also volunteer with hospice patients and their caretakers, serve as a mentor for young underserved children through Kindling Intellectual Development, am Outreach Coordinator for the California Alliance for Minority Participation, and assist incoming Highlanders adjust to the university environment as a STEM Connections Peer Mentor. After obtaining my B.S., I plan on going to graduate school to obtain my M.S. in Genetic Counseling. Ultimately, my goal is to get my Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology and become a professor at a research institution. When I do have time to relax, I enjoy traveling to new areas, hiking, reading, and going to as many concerts and music festivals as I can.

 

Rosa McGuire

Rosa McGuire, Biology, Transferred from: Victor Valley College

In 2011 I moved to the United States from Peru. I spent two years at Victor Valley College working on my A.S. in Math/Science before transferring to UCR as a Biology major. During Summer 2015, I was part of the Summer Bridge to Research Program. I worked in the Anderson Lab, where I worked on bacterial population dynamics. During my first year at UCR, I continued working in the same lab but in a different project that studies effect of spatial configuration on species interactions using computer modelling and protist microcosms. I really enjoy doing research and I have presented at various symposia including the UCR Undergraduate Research Symposium and the AAAS Pacific Division Meeting. Aside from research, I am also part of the UC LEADS program, Honors Program, and STEM Connections Program. Now that I am a Peer Mentor, I feel motivated to help other college students that might have similar stories to mine. I am looking forward to sharing my experience in the STEM program and be a resource to other fellow Highlanders. After I graduate from UCR I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in Ecology. I hope to become a professor at a research university. My hobbies include photography, reading, and spending time with my pets.

 

Tuong Cao

Tuong "T" Cao, Biochemistry, Transferred from: Mount San Antonio College

I spent nearly six years at  Mt. San Antonio College with the first couple years wasted trying to figure out what i was passionate about but could not committed to anything. I then had to take an academic gap due to financial issue. On my last job as a EMT, I had finally decided to go back to school for I soon saw the limitation within the scope of practice for an EMT and I wanted to do so much more for my patients rather than just be able to transport them from one place to another. I transferred to UCR with a major in Biochem and Medicine emphasis with the ultimate goal of getting into medical school. To make up for my lack of involvement in college, I am now fully committing to multiple organizations, doing volunteering work as well as research. I am a cofounder of the Diabetes group and a member of Mini Medical School which is a student organization that tries to raise awareness about common diseases in our community. I am currently working in Dr. Martin Garcia Castro lab where we try to  improving our understanding of Neural Crest Stem cells’ biology which offers a great potential for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Since I have to work on weekends, I often to try to volunteer at Loma Linda emergency department as much as i could on my spare time during the weekdays. Some of my guilty pleasures includes trying out exotic restaurants and foods, Netflixing and listening to all kinds of music.

 

Alberto Corona

Alberto Corona, Biology, Transferred from: San Bernardino Valley College

After I graduated from high school in Mexico, I decided to move to the United States. I attended San Bernardino Valley College for four years because I did not know English when I started. After my second year, I became a biology, math, and pharmacy calculations tutor at the SBVC Student Success Center. During Summer 2013, I applied for the SBVC-UCR Summer Bridge Research program, and I was placed in Dr. Susan Wessler’s lab where I was introduced to molecular genetics and bioinformatics for the first time. I presented my research at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research, and two UCR symposia. I graduated from SBVC in 2014, and I received four associate degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy technology, and Liberal arts. The summer before I transferred to UCR (2014), I applied for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and was accepted. Without hesitation, I went to the Garrity lab at Brandeis University in Massachusetts where I was involved for the first time in neurobiology research – an area of great personal interest. I presented my research at the Summer Brandeis 2014 symposium. After transferring to UCR, I became an undergraduate research assistant in the Wessler lab under the direction of Dr. James Burnette. I also joined the UCR honors program, and the STEM Pathways program which provided me with the opportunity to become a STEM Peer mentor. Last quarter, I was nominated to be the outreach coordinator for the CAMP program, and I accepted the position. I was also nominated by Dr. Susan Wessler to apply for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute EXROP fellowship, and I was selected among many applicants in the country. I was placed in the Anderson lab at California Institute of Technology where I had the opportunity to study the neural circuits that mediate aggression. These studies may lead to a better understanding of human psychiatric disorders. I will have the opportunity to present my work at a Caltech symposium and the HHMI EXROP meeting in Washington DC. After graduating from UCR, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a PhD in neuroscience. I would like to join a biomedical sciences program and become a professor someday. 

 

Gabriel Martinez

Gabriel Martinez, Biology, Transferred from: Chaffey College

I spent four years at Chaffey College, of which I spent the first two years deciding on my major. During my time at Chaffey, I was an officer for two different clubs, The Pre-Med society and the Biology club. After four years, I transferred to UCR as a Biology major. During that summer, I was accepted to the Summer Bridge Research Program in which I worked in a lab under Dr. Chronister. My research project involving removing iron from native cytochrome c and replacing it with Zn so that we could study the protein folding kinetics of Zn cytochrome c. During my first year at UCR, I continued to work on my research project in Chronister's lab and was accepted into Tau Sigma’s Honor Society and as a peer mentor. Though my initial interest was in dentistry, my time here at UCR has made me change my mind. After graduating with my BS in Biology, I plan to apply to pharmacy school and become a pharmacist. Im very excited to work as a peer mentor this year; I look forward to meeting and helping out the new student who are joining STEM this upcoming year.

 

Jackie Gigante

Jackie Gigante, Biology/Anthropology, Transferred from: Mount San Jacinto College

During my four year stay at my community college, I involved myself with our Honors Program and served as an Honors Mentor to students in the program. When I transferred to UCR, I also applied and was accepted into the University Honors Program here. I was involved and eventually became a Co-Chair for the University Honors Outreach Committee and spent a great deal of time getting current and potential students interested in UCR and our Honors program. Upon my transfer to UCR, I also became involved in the STEM Pathways program and would eventually become a Peer Mentor. In the spring of my first year at UCR, I became an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Lyubovitsky’s  Bioengineering lab. I work on detecting the fluorescence intensity that results when various sugar molecules cross-link with the collagen in our bodies. I had the opportunity to present this work at the Bioengineering Symposium held at UC Irvine in Summer 2014. After I graduate with my two degrees, a B.S in Biology and a B.S in Anthropology, I hope to find a staff position at UCR.

 

Jennifer Madrigal

Jennifer Madrigal, Biochemistry/Chemistry Minor, Transferred: Riverside City College

After graduating early from high school in Utah at the end of 2005 I knew I wanted to continue my education, so I moved back to my hometown and took some classes at Riverside Community College. I ended up living in Washington for several years and got a decent office job with a software reseller, but I was unsatisfied and decided to go back to school as a business administration major. After a stint at Spokane Community College in Washington I decided to pursue my passion for science. I moved back to California, waited a year for residency tuition rates, and then completed my biochemistry prerequisites at RCC. Along the way I received two A.A. degrees and one A.S. degree. I transferred to UCR in the Fall of 2014, and I have enjoyed worked in Dr. Song’s protein crystallography lab, but have since learned about computational chemistry in Dr. Chang’s lab, and am currently investigating computational methods for accurately modeling and analysis of molecules and molecular interactions. I hope to continue computational chemistry research in graduate school, and develop a career in academia as a faculty member at a research university. 

 

Minh Tran

Minh Tran, Biology, Transferred from: Cypress College/Fullerton College

After three years of community college, I welcomed the experience of being a small fish in a big pond at UCR with open arms--and I received more challenges than I had ever anticipated. Luckily, I survived my first year due to the generous support of the STEM program. During my three years at UCR, I volunteered in underserved communities in Riverside as an AmeriCorps tutor and I worked with an Environmental Microbiology Ph.D. student under the guidance of Dr. David E. Crowley. As an undergraduate researcher, I helped to develop a bioremediation method that encourages microorganisms to efficiently degrade oil in the petroleum contaminated beaches of the Prince William Sound. I am immensely grateful for my research experience; my expanded knowledge of sterility, lab techniques, and formulations will be extremely useful for my future pharmaceutical endeavours. Now that I am a peer mentor, I am thrilled to be a resource, pillar of support, and friend to fellow STEM students. After I graduate from UCR, I will return to my community college roots to complete pharmacy school requirements and pursue a career in drug synthesis and formulation.

 

Noe Quinones

Noe Quiñones, Mathematics, Transferred from: Cerritos College/Cypress College

During my 5 years of commuting between two junior colleges, I was involved in student body, a honor society, and was part of Teacher TRAC. Through Teacher TRAC I was able to do two internships at high schools in both the AVID and STEM programs. When I transferred to UCR,  I came in as a Computational Mathematics major, but I learned that my passion was in teaching mathematics. I am now part of Tau Sigma and the STEM Pathways program. STEM is very welcoming and has made me feel home being away from home. I very highly enjoy the members and the support of STEM. I eventually became a Peer Mentor in STEM where I am able to meet and network with such great people. I look forward in being able to offer my knowledge and experience over my understanding of mathematics and computer science.  After I graduate from UCR, I intend to take a year break, but shortly after will strive for a master’s degree. My career goal is to teach at a community college and give back to schools that have given me such great opportunities

 

Sanjay Ghai

Sanjay Ghai, Biology

I entered UCR straight out of high school and chose to major in Biology. Biology allowed me to enjoy a broad range of classes without being too concentrated in a particular field. I participated twice in summer research opportunities as well as during the academic year. I studied electronic cigarettes and thoroughly enjoyed the scientific process employed on a daily basis as a researcher. My hard work in lab paid off as I eventually published a research article. I eventually resigned from research to focus more on academics and peer mentoring. Aside from my previous experiences and focus on academics, I enjoy any kind of physical fitness. In particular, I enjoy the practice of yoga and the therapeutic effects it brings to my body and mind. I value the gift of health and encourage you to get enough sleep, have a balance diet, and make time for physical activity. You will notice a positive difference, trust me. I enjoy helping others out in any way possible. Don’t be afraid to approach me in person...I don’t bite:)


 

2014-2015 CNAS STEM Peer Mentors

 

Claudia Marin   

Environmental Sciences
Transferred from: Riverside City College                                                                 

Claudia MarinAside from being a STEM Peer Mentor, I previously worked in the McGiffen Lab in the Botany and Plant Sciences department as a participant of the Summer Bridge to Research in the Summer of 2013 and continued in that lab for a year and a half.  I worked on Biochar soil amendments on a variety of crops and ornamental plants. I presented my labs research at the AAAS Pacific Division Conference and received an Honorable Mention. At this conference, I was also nominated for associate membership to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. This past summer, I was awarded the Botanical Society of America and National Science Foundation PLANTS travel grant to attend the Botany 2014 conference in Boise, Idaho. I am a recipient of the Eugene Cota Robles graduate fellowship and will be beginning the Environmental Sciences PhD Program here at UCR starting in Fall 2015. I plan to continue in academia after receiving my PhD as a community college professor

 

 

 

Jackie Gigante

Biology/Anthropology
Transferred from: Mount San Jacinto College

 Jackie GiganteDuring my four year stay at my community college, I involved myself with our Honors Program and served as an Honors Mentor to students in the program. When I transferred to UCR, I also applied and was accepted into the University Honors Program here. I was involved and eventually became a Co-Chair for the University Honors Outreach Committee and spent a great deal of time getting current and potential students interested in UCR and our Honors program. Upon my transfer to UCR, I also became involved in the STEM Pathways program and would eventually become a Peer Mentor. In the spring of my first year at UCR, I became an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Lyubovitsky’s  Bioengineering lab. I work on detecting the fluorescence intensity that results when various sugar molecules cross-link with the collagen in our bodies. I had the opportunity to present this work at the Bioengineering Symposium held at UC Irvine in Summer 2014. After I graduate with my two degrees, a B.S in Biology and a B.S in Anthropology, I hope to find a staff position at UCR.

 

 

Jessica Nunes

Biochemistry
Transferred from: San Bernardino Valley College

Jessie NunesAfter I graduated high school I attended Crafton Hills Community College for two years and then I spent another two years at San Bernardino Valley College which is where I found my love for biochemistry.  Besides being a STEM peer mentor I am currently doing undergraduate research in Professor Song’s Biochemistry lab.  We are working on finding better crystallization techniques and parameters to obtain the best crystal structure possible in order to view proteins and track protein to protein interactions with x ray crystallography.  After I graduate from UCR with my BS in biochemistry with medical emphasis I plan on going back to a community college to finish up prerequisites and then going on to get my Masters in Occupational Therapy. I can not wait to get into the occupational therapy field, I want nothing more than to help patients regain freedom, achieve their goals and most importantly gain self esteem and self worth.

 

 

 

Lyna Le

Biology
Transferred from: Sacramento City College
Lyna Le

I spent two years over in Bakersfield City College, and then an additional two more years over in Sacramento City College before transferring into UCR as a biology major.  The summer I was accepted into UCR, I was accepted in the Summer Bridge Research Program and was placed into Dr. Sue Wessler’s lab as an undergraduate researcher in the University Lab Building under Dr. James Burnette.  In that lab, I gained skills involving with molecular lab techniques in order to analyze genomic sequences along with basic bioinformatics techniques.  I am aspiring to become a midwife. After getting my bachelor’s degree in biology, I will be applying into an accelerated nursing program to get a B.S. in RN and then apply to a Master’s program for Midwifery

 

 

 

 

Rafael Romero

Biology
Transferred from: Cañada College

Rafael Romero

After high school graduation in 2010, I decided to attend community college, where I spent 3 years working to transfer as a biochemistry major. Upon completion in 2013, I received 2 A.S. degrees, one in Biological Sciences and another in Chemical Sciences. I then transferred to the University of California Riverside as a Biochemistry major, but had a change of heart and decided to become a biology major instead. During my time at UCR, aside from being a CNAS S.T.E.M. Peer Mentor, I was involved in undergraduate research as part of Dr. David Reznick’s Laboratory for the full 2 years of my stay. Our lab’s main focus was studying the process of evolution by natural selection from an experimental perspective and testing evolutionary theory in natural populations; primarily guppies. In addition, I was a Mentorship Project Coordinator for the Latino Medical Student Association Plus (LMSA+), where we strived to motivate high school students in neighboring areas to pursue higher education by providing mentorship and awareness to both the students and their parents. After graduating from UC Riverside in Spring of 2015, I plan on taking a year off before pursuing a masters degree in Public

 

 

Reginald Arnedo

Chemistry
Transferred from: Santa Ana College

 Reginald ArnedoAs a very non-traditional student here at UCR, my path to get here involved spending a lot of time at my community college.  I was working full time so it was an experience of just taking classes when I could during the evenings.  Eventually I did make my way here in the hopes of finishing my undergraduate degree and entering medical school.  My time here has far exceeded my expectations both academically and extracurricularly.  One of the opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of is participating in the research offered here which is something I never thought I’d ever get a chance at.  I’m participating in both Chemistry Materials Science and History research.  This involved research during the academic year as well as paid summer opportunities to contribute to research.  Separate from this, I have two community endeavors that I’m amazingly proud to be a part of.  One is I run an outreach group of undergrads that visits a underserved high school in the area to provide after school science and math tutoring to students that wouldn’t have the after school help if we weren’t there.  The second one is I’m a proud volunteer at our Riverside Free Clinic.  it’s a free clinic we hold every other wednesday that is open to everyone but with emphasis on providing medical care for the underserved and homeless of our community.  I’m hoping to be accepted into our new medical school here at UCR after graduating and become a physician.

 

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