Undergraduate Research

Opportunities Center

N e w s l e t t e r | M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 3

May the Research

Be With You

From the Desk of Buck
Destiny Henderson getting stole.JPG

Another school year in the books! 

It seems like I say this every year, but this was by far our largest UROC graduating class yet -- 98 students! This year, participants from our UROC Scholars / McNair Scholars, UROC Researchers, Koret Scholars, African Heritage Research Collaborative, STEM Education Research Experience, LSAMP Rising Researchers, and our newest program, Apple Scholars, received their UROC graduation stoles at our Year End Celebration. All of these students have demonstrated -- via both internal and external measures -- the powerful transformation that engagement in the high-impact practice of undergraduate research can bring about. This work is not easy; it takes tremendous effort, discipline, and passion, along with a supportive and nurturing community – even during non-pandemic times. And so, as we do every year, we take this time to celebrate their accomplishments. Congratulations! 

Moving forward, be sure to mark your calendars for our next campus student research showcase: Nearly 100 students engaged in research and scholarship across nearly every discipline this summer will be presenting at our 10th Annual Summer Research Symposium on Friday, August 11th. This event will be a great opportunity to see yet more excellent student contributions to the scholarly vibrancy of our campus and local community.

Best wishes to all for a fun and productive summer of research & scholarly activities!

John “Buck” Banks, Ph.D.

UROC Director

**Image of John Banks placing stole over Destiny Henderson-Hudgins at the Year End Celebration

• • •

2023 Graduating Class

UROC Researchers

Aleah Adame, Environmental Science

Kayla Arakawa, Marine Science

Kaden Ball, Cinematic Arts and Technology

Wells Calac, Marine Science

Samantha Camacho, Psychology

Alyssa Chappel, Kinesiology

Kelly Christensen, Global Studies

Yoshio Clemente-Astudillo, Psychology

Michelle Cone, Environmental Science

Mario Coronado-Cartmell, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy

Emily Elizabeth, Psychology

Olivia Equinoa, Environmental Science

Tom Evert, Statistics

Samantha Fischer, Human Development and Family Science

Sierra Fishman, Humanities and Communication

Kiara Gable, Agricultural and Soil Science

Devynn Gately, Marine Science

Keshav Gupta, Computer Science

Smokey Heisey, Business Administration

Destiny Henderson-Hudgins, Biology

Lucia Hercher, Environmental Studies

Katie Herrmann, Biology

Nia Howard, Kinesiology

Natalie Hunter, Biology

Vasiliki “Kiki” Iden, Mathematics

Annie Jones, Environmental Studies

Bryce Jones, Marine Science

Danijela Jozinovic, Environmental Studies

Paris Kellogg, Marine Science

Micah Kendall, Mathematics

Hannah Kim, Marine Science & Visual and Public Arts

Mikaela Kirkpatrick, Kinesiology

Kai Larrieu, Agricultural and Soil Science

Cody Leporini, Statistics

Mazie Lewis, Marine Science

Valerie Li, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy

Isabel Lizarraga, Biology 

Cristian Martinez, Marine Science

Melissa McGinnis, Psychology

Robbie Medina, Marine Science

Cole Mefford, Agricultural and Soil Science

Avery Mentken, Marine Science

Caitlyn Morgan, Agricultural and Soil Science

Tyler Morgan, Marine Science

Dana O’Donnell, Social Behavioral Science

Myrna Pacheco-Ramos, Spanish Language and Cultures

Jherrica Phillips, Kinesiology

Miguel Rodriguez, Marine Science

Ingrid Romero, Psychology

Diego Salgado, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy

Paige Siegel, Marine Science

Abygail Singer, Mathematics

Daniella Spina, Marine Science

Hayli Stewart, Environmental Studies

Mary Sullivan, Cinematic Arts and Technology

Alondra Tapia, Social Behavioral Science

Monica Urias, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy

Lily Vang, Psychology

Juan Vargas, Agricultural and Soil Science

Elise Vasquez, Agricultural and Soil Science

Stephanie Vu, Business Administration

Tianna Wehby, Kinesiology

Maddy Willey, Cinematic Arts and Technology

African Heritage Research Collaborative

Stephanie Stephens, Marine Science

Brooklyn Greene, Psychology

Zah-Rah La Tour, Business Administration

Jaren Leary, Social and Behavioral Science

Charnelle Wickliff, Master's of Science in Marine Science

Koret Scholars

Brenda Alfaro, Business Administration

Sofia Christofi, Psychology

Jennifer Lopez, Psychology

Devon McCauley, Social & Behavioral


Maria Navarro, Psychology

Lesly Rocha, Business Administration

LSAMP Rising Researchers

Leta Dawson, Marine Science

Julio Hernandez-Vazquez, Statistics

Science Education Research Experience

Eric DeSoto, Biology

Krysta Malech, Biology

Mackenzie Price, Biology

Kenneth Tran, Marine Science

UROC Scholars

Grace Hardy, Biology

Nikole Babcock, Psychology

Gabriel Morales, Social & Behavioral Science

Connor Rickard, Biology

Nicholas Romero, Marine Science

Eva Scrivner, Marine Science

Taylor Trivino, Marine Science

Emily Vidusic, Marine Science

Spencer Winter, Human Development & Family Science; Biology

McNair Scholars

Angelica May Amita, Business Administration

Jocelyn Chavez-Diaz, Spanish Language and Cultures

Robert Hays, Biology

Emilia Lepe, Marine Science

Serena Ross, Psychology

Apple Scholars

Monica Aguayo, Psychology

Monica Gutierrez, Psychology

• • •

And they're off!

UROC is proud to play a role in the development of education ownership, intellectual vibrancy, and scholarly identity in our CSUMB students. This growth allows students to not only move into the next phase of their academic careers, but also better prepare for the intellectual challenges they will encounter. We congratulate the following UROC students who will embark on a whole new academic journey around the country this coming fall.

Hannah Kim

Hannah Kim

UROC Researcher

Master of Science in Biology

Eastern Washington University

Angelica May Amita

Angelica May Amita

McNair Scholar

Master’s in Marketing

University of Houston

Kiki Iden

Kiki Iden

UROC Researcher

Master’s in Education, Teaching Education Program

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara Logo
Devon McCauley

Devon McCauley

Koret Scholar

Master of Library and Information Science

San José State University

San Jose State logo
Spencer Winter

Spencer Winter

UROC Scholar

Ph.D. in Bioengineering

California Institute of Technology

nevan bell

Nevan Bell

UROC Scholar

Master’s in Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Caitlyn Morgan

Caitlyn Morgan

UROC Researcher

Master’s in Horticulture and Agronomy

UC Davis

Monica Urias

Monica Urias

UROC Researcher,

Koret Scholar

Ph.D. in Ecology

UC Davis

Matt Mondragon

Matt Mondragon

LSAMP Member

Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program

Medical University of South Carolina

Monica Gutierrez

Monica Gutierrez

Koret Scholar

Master’s in School Psychology

CSU Monterey Bay

Leta Dawson

Leta Dawson

LSAMP Rising Researcher

Master of Science in Marine Biology 

CSU Northridge

CSU Northridge school logo

Yoshio Clemente-Astudillo

UROC Researcher

Master’s in Human Factors and Ergonomics

San José State University

San Jose State logo
Grace Hardy

Grace Hardy

UROC Scholar

Ph.D. in Botany and

Plant Pathology

Oregon State University

Nikole Babcock

Nikole Babcock

UROC Scholar

Ph.D. in Human Development and

Family Science

University of Connecticut

Jocelyn Chavez-Diaz

Jocelyn Chavez-Diaz

McNair Scholar

Master of Arts in Teaching 

San José State University

San Jose State logo
Taylor Trivino

Taylor Trivino

UROC Scholar

Master of Science in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

University of Washington

University of Washington logo
Annie Jones

Annie Jones

UROC Researcher

Masters in Urban Planning

San José State University

San Jose State logo

Melissa McGinnis

UROC Researcher

Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Alliant International University

Cristian Martinez

Cristian Martinez

UROC Researcher

Master’s in Marine Science

Moss Landing Marine Labs

Elise Vasquez

Elise Vasquez

UROC Researcher

Masters in Environmental Science

CSU Monterey Bay


• • •

And a Round of Applause Goes to...

Nevan Bell, UROC Scholar was awarded the Alumni Vision Award, which recognizes a graduating student who best exemplifies the vision of CSUMB, namely preparing leaders for a collaborative, multicultural society – especially in the areas of bridging socio-economic divides, celebrating diversity and promoting understanding and respect for other cultures. Learn more about his and the winners’ achievements on the CSUMB News Page.

Nevan Bell
Spencer Winter

Spencer Winter, UROC Scholar, was awarded the Provost’s Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Learn more about his and the winners’ achievements on the CSUMB News Page.

Caitlyn Morgan, UROC Researcher, was awarded the CSU Monterey Bay’s 2023 Dean’s Medalist award for the College of Science. Learn more about his and the winners’ achievements on the CSUMB News Page.

Caitlyn Morgan
Connor Quiroz John Olson Gretchen Wichman and Lexi Yokomizo

Connor Quiroz, McNair Scholar, and Lexi Yokomizo, UROC Scholar, presented their research at the 2023 Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and were recognized with Best Undergraduate Presentation Awards.

*Picture of Connor Quiroz, Dr. John Olson, Gretchen Wichman (UROC Scholar Alum) and Lexi Yokomizo

Berenice Lemus, Apple Scholar, received the Hilda Holl Memorial Scholarship, presented by Michael Holl, husband of the late Hilda Holl. This yearly scholarship is focused on, but not limited to, Hispanic women business students. Learn more about it on the CSUMB News Page.

Madison Heard, UROC Scholar Alum and current graduate student at UC Santa Barbara was honored with a University Award of Distinction for the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. This award is presented annually to graduating seniors and graduate students who have made an outstanding contribution to a particular area of UCSB student life.

• • •

Baldock and Butler Scholars Awarded

Congratulations to Emily Donahue, Environmental Science Technology & Policy (Statistics minor) and Ingrid Martinson, Marine Science (Environmental Health Policy minor) on being named B&B Scholars for 2023! 

Ingrid aims to earn a Ph.D. in marine science and pursue a research career in the non-profit sector as a marine conservation biologist focusing on sustainability and social justice for marginalized communities.

Emily aims to earn Ph.D. in ecology to focus on protecting the intricate and productive ecosystems found in nature while also establishing a baseline for environmental outreach efforts to lead in the areas of science and communication. 

Both Emily and Ingrid will be applying to doctoral programs this fall. 

Dr. Phil Butler and Ms. Barbara Baldock have been supporting UROC Scholars every year since 2011

The Barbara Baldock and Phillip Butler Scholarship (aka The B&B Scholarship) awards UROC Scholars $5000 to support their undergraduate research and graduate school application endeavors. Award based on academic achievement, undergraduate research interests, financial need, graduate school aspirations, and a commitment to serve the community through research, outreach, and service.

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue

Ingrid Martinson

Ingrid Martinson

• • •

2023 Graduate School and Professional Degree

Prep Conference

Grad school conference group picture

The 2nd annual Graduate School and Professional Degree Prep Conference was a huge success! Funded by the CSUMB METAS grant and hosted by UROC, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center in partnership with the CLC, Cooperative Learning Center; Center for Advising, Career, and Student Success; and MAESTROs, students learned about the factors involved in applying to graduate school and credential programs–and most importantly, had dedicated workshop time to work on, and get feedback on various parts of their application.

Thank you to everyone who helped make these three days a success!

• • •

McNair Scholar Highlights

A dedicated section for everything McNair Scholars, both current and alum!

Kimmy and Rosa

CSU Pre-Doctoral Sally Casanova Award Recipients

UROC McNair Scholars Rosa Acevedo Duran, Psychology, and Kimberly Smith, Collaborative Health and Human Services, have been named as 2023-2024 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars. Duran and Smith will each receive an award of $5,000 to support graduate school and professional development activities for the upcoming school year. Congratulations, Rosa and Kimmy!

The CSU PreDoctoral program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University students. The program places a special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California institutions. For the 2023-24 year, 77 scholars, both undergraduate and graduate students, were selected from 156 applicants across the CSU.

Interested in learning more about this scholarship? Pop into an information session this fall; check out MyRaft to sign up. The 2024-25 scholarship application cycle will open in December 2023.​

Wendy Feng Presenting

Research Poster Award!

Congratulations to McNair Scholar alum, Wendy Feng (class of 2022), whose research poster won the award for “Best Engagement with Environmental Justice” at the Annual Environmental Joint Campus Conference

The Joint Campus Conference (JCC) is an annual event that brings together graduate students and faculty to present research from three programs: the Environmental Sciences Program at Oregon State University, the Environmental Sciences and Management Program at Portland State University, and the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Oregon. 

Congratulations, Wendy!

Jada Carter

Looks Who's Graduating!

Congratulations to McNair Scholar alum, Jada Carter (class of 2021), who has graduated from Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Wageningen University and Research (WUR) in the Netherlands! Jada now holds a Master of Science in Organic Agriculture and will be applying to PhD programs in the fall. Jada is currently in Sweden completing her internship.

Congratulations, Jada!

• • •

Summer Research Fun!

Every year, students in the UROC Scholars and McNair Scholars program are encouraged and supported to apply to summer research experiences outside of the UROC Summer Researchers Program. Participating in these experiences can help students clarify career interests and post-graduation plans while strengthening written and oral communication, critical thinking, and technical skills. It also provides exposure to other branches within one’s discipline that students may never have even thought about and increases networking opportunities as well. 

Check out some of the programs and places some of our Scholars are participating in.

Alyssa Walter at NOAA facitilies

Alyssa Walter, UROC Scholar and Ernest F. Hollings Scholar, spent 4 days at the NOAA Orientation in Maryland before starting the COAST Ocean Exploration Internship working with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary In Santa Barbara.

Damaris Ispache

Damaris Ispache, McNair Scholar, is participating in the Sustainability Opportunities for Agricultural Research Summer Program at the University of Minnesota.

Kattie Padilla

Kattie Padilla, UROC Scholar, is at Emory University for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program in Atlanta, Georgia.

Levi Mahler

Levi Mahler, McNair Scholar, spent three weeks in Japan with the CSUMB Tyler Fellows. They toured various sites along with Dr. Dustin Wright and two other fellows all while collecting data that they will analyze upon returning home. Alo Wilson, Koret Scholar, was also part of the trip.

Oscar Murillo Espinoza

Oscar Murillo-Espinoza, McNair Scholar, is in Occidental College in Los Angeles for an REU focusing on coding theory, number theory, and related topics.

Karla Buitrago Yepes and Emily Donahue

Karla Buitrago-Yepes, left, and Emily Donahue, right, UROC Scholars, are back in their hometown of San Diego working on the Spiny Lobster Fisheries Conservation Project with California Fish and Wildlife.

Jasmin Juarez-Gonzalez, McNair Scholar, is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s Summer Internship Program in Moss Landing.

Jasmin at MBARI

• • •

Mark Your Calendars

decorative banner

The 10th Annual Summer Research Symposium will take place on Friday, August 11th, 2023 at the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science Building and the Tanimura and Antle Family Memorial Library where we will celebrate the research, scholarship, and creative activities of the undergraduate students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center & Monterey Regional Ocean Sciences Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. 

Stay tuned for more details!

• • •

Pictures Galore

Enjoy some pictures of our undergraduate researchers from our Year End Celebration and Commencement!

Mia Lepe holding a sign

Mia Lepe is excited for the Year End Celebration!

Devynn Gately

Buck places the UROC stole on Devynn Gately.

Danielle Burchett with her research lab

Dr. Danielle Burchett with her mentees: Monica Gutierrez, Melissa McGinnis, and Ingrid Romero.

Haupt receives her award

Dr. Alison Haupt is presented with the Mentor of the Year Award.

Steven Machek with Nia Howard and Rene Aguilera

Nia Howard with her mentor Dr. Steven Machek and labmate Rene Aguilera.

Jocelyn and Buck

Buck places the UROC stole on Jocelyn Chavez-Diaz. Dr. Alison Haupt is presented with the Mentor of the Year Award.

Gabriel Morales

Gabriel Morales can't wait to start commencement!

Zuri Renee Justin and Danielle

A super group of research mentors! Dr. De Miguel, Dr. Penalver, Dr. Matthews, and Dr. Burchett

Monica and Mario

Monica Urias and Mario Coronado Cartmell pose for a quick picture.

Annie Jones and Michelle Cone

Annie Jones and Michelle Cone are all smiles.

Sarah Kuykendall

Sarah Kuykendall shows off her graduation stoles.

Eva Emily Paige and Cristian

The Marine Science Crew! Eva Scriver, Emily Vidusic, Paige Siegel, and Cristian Martinez. 

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