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

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

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

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

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

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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