1. Faces of Resilience
  2. Expressing Appreciation to Prevent Conflict
  3. Rituals & Traditions in Our New World
  4. Saving Time in the Kitchen
  5. Overcoming Overwhelm
How does one remain resilient in a world gripped by a global pandemic? That’s what we asked members of the UC Merced community. Several answers appeared in the Welcome 2020 edition of Inside UC Merced. Starting today, we share more responses in Monday Memo. Though our colleagues draw strength from various sources, their words taken together affirm a determination to rise to the moment. 
How Do You Remain Resilient?
My resilience comes from speaking with candidates and new hires. To be honest, I can get just as sad and overwhelmed as anyone else who is isolated by COVID. The moment I enter the Zoom space or phone call, it’s showtime. These candidates and new staff need me to be confident, positive and attentive to their needs, and I never want to let them down. Their hopefulness and appreciation feeds back to me. 
Ro McKinney 
Senior Executive Recruiter 
Human Resources
 Where do you find your resilience? Send your response (in 50 words or less) and a recent photo to Public Relations and we’ll put you in a future Monday Memo.
Want to Prevent Conflict? Focus on Appreciation
Conflict often produces fight-flight-freeze responses in our body, which increase our tendency to look for more conflict or threats in our environment. One way we can reduce or prevent this response is by focusing on appreciation and gratitude, both with ourselves and with our university colleagues, direct reports or supervisors. You may be thinking you are too busy to offer an appreciation to a colleague. However, consider how much time you spend addressing conflict. By comparison, spending 1-2 minutes to offer an appreciation can not only save you hours of dealing with conflict later, but also lead to happier and healthier individuals and teams. Try giving one of these quick appreciations with someone you work with this week:

  • See and express in the moment: When you see something, express your appreciation now. Why wait? It just takes a moment for you and will mean the world to your colleague. Focus on the impact they have on you or others – “Thank you for taking care of ___, this will make it easier for me to ____.”
  • Share observations: You don’t need to say “I appreciate you” to show appreciation. A quick acknowledgment can communicate that you care enough to notice and check in. Example: “Hey, I noticed you seemed to have a busy week this week. Do you need any support?”

What do you have to lose? Give a colleague or two an appreciation this week!
Luke Wiesner is the UC Merced Conflict Resolution Coach, a private resource for staff members who are interested in having a partner to support workplace challenges or conflicts. This service is voluntary and you can partner with the coach by yourself or with fellow UC Merced employees.
Rituals and Traditions in Our New World
Protecting ourselves and the university from the coronavirus has meant doing without many traditions that fostered our sense of belonging to the campus community. Convocations, Welcome Week, the Bridge Crossing -- all replaced by Zoom, email and text messaging. In this new normal, how do we find ways to connect beyond the screen? How might we overcome distance through creative rituals and traditions? “Keep Calm and Remote On,” the university's popular online community, returns Sept. 23 with “Rituals and Traditions in Our New World.” If you want to join in, please register today (virtual seats are limited) and complete a quick survey (sent to you upon successful registration) about how you connect digitally. The session's hosts will use the results to jumpstart the conversation, scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
COVID-19 Big Cat Heroes Awards
For the next several weeks, a community member of each category (staff, faculty/academic appointee, student) will be selected by committee for Big Cat Heroes Awards and announced in the next week’s Monday Memo.
The university will make awards of $250 to $750 for the daily acts of heroism that contribute to our continued efforts to keep UC Merced thriving through this crisis.
Nominations for colleagues can be made by anyone and emailed to
Saving Time and Sanity in the Kitchen
There are so many things on our plates. Balancing work, kids, virtual learning and maintaining a home can be exhausting, and deciding what's for dinner at the end of the day can be daunting. Esquire compiled a list of the 15 best food subscription boxes. Cost-wise, many are comparable to going to the grocery store, yet remove the need to think about what to make, find ingredients and prep. If you're looking for a way to shortcut your day, check out these options!

Remember, UC has many resources to support your wellbeing. Visit the COVID-19 Human Resources website for more information.
If you have information you feel would support the campus community, please share them with our team to be included in a future Monday Memo.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Here's How to Overcome
Each week, Talent Development Manager Kevin Reyes shares a short LinkedIn Learning Lesson to help increase our skills. So take a breather, step away from the inbox and give yourself a few minutes of focused development.
It's Always the Right Time for a Squish Bag
With the fall semester underway and remote K-12 classes in session, keeping the young ones in your home busy while the grownups and schoolkids are latched to their laptops was never more important. Danielle Waite, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Education Center, comes to the rescue with more engaging activities for the preschool crowd. Topping the list: Color Mix Squish Bags! We doubt anything could be more fun, though Salt Dough Sculptures sound cool, too. Squish the button for these and more!
Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines
UC Merced's NSF-CREST Center Invites You to Join
As part of the Center’s Science for Humanity Series

An Interview with

Dr. Mark P. Mattson

brain health | exercise | fasting
modern lifestyle | evolutionary perspective

10 - 11 a.m. | Sept. 15 | Open to All

About Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D.

Mark P. Mattson is the former Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, and is now on the faculty of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research has advanced an understanding of the cellular signaling mechanisms that control the formation and plasticity of neuronal networks in the brain, and cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders. His research has also elucidated how the brain responds adaptively to challenges such as fasting and exercise, and he has used that information to develop novel interventions to promote optimal brain function throughout life. Dr. Mattson is among the most highly cited neuroscientists in the world with an h-index over 200 and more than 170,000 citations. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and he has received many awards including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Medical Research Award and the Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Award.
UC Merced's NSF-CREST Center Invites You to Join
An important aspect of energy reduction in our everyday life is ensuring that our homes are properly weatherized. Weatherizing your home protects it from outside elements while also maximizing energy efficiency. Not only can weatherizing provide better comfort within your home, but it can also help you save on money and energy costs while making your home more environmentally friendly. Follow the link below to view a weatherizing checklist and learn more about how air sealing can positively impact your at-home environment.
“A Conversation with our Local Educators"
Educating our kids during this pandemic, disparities among kids of color

Presented By
Dr. Steve Tietjen, Superintendent, MCOE
Richard Lopez, Superintendent, Merced River
Richard Pirtle, Principal, Alicia Reyes

In partnership with
Merced NAACP | Merced Multicultural Arts Center
LOVE FAITH & HOPE | Community Volunteers and Partners
NAACP Merced County

Virtual Town Hall
Voting 2020 Election Day

6 p.m. | Sept. 16 | Zoom

Watch on Facebook Live at
UC Merced COVID-19 On-Campus Testing Open for Registration
If you are a designated employee working at any UC Merced site, you are required to get tested for COVID-19. You will need to take two tests. After your first test, you will need to take your second test within 14 days from the date of your first test.
There are two ways to get tested:

Option 1: Go to Castle Family Health Center
Testing Location: Castle Family Health Center | 3605 Hospital Rd | Atwater
  • Castle is open 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • They have drive-through testing and NO APPOINTMENT IS NEEDED
  • More information with instructions on UC Merced COVID-19 Testing page
Option 2: Get tested during on-campus testing day - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Sept. 11
Testing Location: UC Merced Gym (Muir Pass)
What happens after the test?
Once Castle receives your results they will contact you and share the results. We ask you please contact the COVID Response Center at (209)-228-0000 as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19 for further instructions. Please send your questions to the COVID Response Center by emailing
Thank you for helping us by “Doing Your Part’ to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19.

COVID Response Center
The Equity & Justice award committee is still accepting nominations for the month of September through Sept. 15. Nominations will open monthly at the 1st of each month and close by the 15th of each month. Next open submission date is Oct. 1. Every April, five awardees will be selected from the pool of monthly nominations throughout the academic year to receive a $1,000 towards a project or initiative that advances equity and justice.
In honoring our commitment to serve as a resource and create a space for commUNITY and professional development, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will be holding the Fall 2020 Virtual Dialogue Series. Click below for more information and to register.
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. | Sept. 18
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Sept. 22
11 a.m. - Noon | Sept. 28
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. | Sept. 30
Let's paws for a moment to appreciate our new coworkers as we settle in to our home offices. Have fun with us and submit a picture and introduction from your favorite non-human coworker. Please email your submission to Public Relations for future inclusion.
Frodo and Sam | 4y Old

I have two guinea pigs who are even more spoiled with me at home all the time to give them fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets. They help me calm down at the end of the day sometimes with lap time, cuddles and pets. 

Submitted by mom:

Colleen C. Naughton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Former Colleague Honored by National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)
Susan Carter, former Director of Research Development from 2008 to 2017, has been honored as a member of the charter class of NORDP Fellows, an organization she was instrumental in supporting in its nascent phase.

At UC Merced, Susan and her team assisted faculty pursuing major multi- and interdisciplinary team-based research initiatives and facilitated grant submissions by junior faculty prior to moving to the Santa Fe Institute in 2017.

Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Marjorie Zatz recalls, “I started pursuing interdisciplinary institutional grants soon after joining UC Merced as Graduate Dean in 2014 and Susan was my partner from day one. She knew the agencies and what they were looking for, worked with our team in the intellectual development of proposals, and she made sure all of our i’s were dotted and t’s crossed when it came to the actual submission. Susan’s knowledge and skills were a key element in our success.”
It’s important for us to remember where our institution started and the hard work so many like Susan have put in to get us on our current trajectory. We would like to congratulate her on this well-deserved fellowship and thank her for her invaluable contributions to the field of research development.
Checking In - How are YOU doing?
Thank you to everyone who participated in the last poll asking what is your favorite fresh fruit. We had 100 responses. Here are the results:
Remember, we're all in this together! We encourage you to reach out to your coworkers, organize social calls and stay connected!

Again taking from a "best of" list, we've included the top five flowers. Which do you like?
Question of the Week: What's your favorite flower?
What are you doing to thrive while safe at home?
Share your pics and tips for inclusion next week!
Monday Memo is a collaborative venture designed to help the campus community
stay informed, connect and crowd source to plan the week ahead.