Affiliation: Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, Merced
I am deeply committed to support activities that facilitate social and political change in my community. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the ReCEES Advisory Board. I hope to assist in deepening the collaboration and partnerships between UC Merced community-engaged scholars, who are addressing complex issues locally and around the world, and community members and others outside of the academy. I want to fully support and be part of the connection between university and community partners to generate and apply knowledge to improve my community in tangible ways. I am eager to be part of a community where researchers and community members learn, understand and respect each other as they work together to transform Merced County into a better place.
Tanya Golash-Boza is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is the author of five books, including Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism (New York University Press 2015), which explains mass deportation in the context of the global economic crisis; Due Process Denied (Routledge 2012), which describes how and why non-citizens in the United States have been detained and deported for minor crimes, without regard for constitutional limits on disproportionate punishment; and Immigration Nation (Paradigm 2012), which provides a critical analysis of the impact that U.S. immigration policy has on human rights; In addition, she has published over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals on deportations, racial identity, and human rights, and has written on contemporary issues for Al Jazeera, The Boston Review, The Nation, Counterpunch, The Houston Chronicle, Racialicious, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Dissident Voice. Her innovative scholarship was awarded the Distinguished Early Career Award from the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Studies Section of the American Sociological Association in 2010. In 2013, she was awarded the UC Merced Senate Faculty Award for Distinguished Scholarly Public Service. Tanya Golash-Boza earned her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Certificate of Anthropology from L’Ecole d’Anthropologie in Paris in 1996, and her Ph.D in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. She speaks fluent French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of English, Humanities and World Cultures, University of California, Merced
We faculty are here in Merced because this community wanted a university would bring learning and light to this region. ReCCES helps us do just that, and allows to not only bring our knowledge to the community, but to learn from it as well.
I research and teach medieval and renaissance literature and drama. My book, Staging Harmony: Music and Religious Change in Early English Drama is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. In addition to writing about theater, I participate in local Central Valley productions as actor, director, and dramaturg, and my next project is to look at amateur Shakespeare as a scholar-practitioner, using local community performances as subject matter.
Affiliation: Assistant Director, The Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning, University of California, Merced
ReCCES helps to develop and provide tools for truly collaborative research opportunities between academic researchers and their community. These synergistic partnerships have the greatest potential to make positive change in our community and benefit those whom we are trying to serve.
Chris Butler directs the Engineering Service Learning program at the University of California, Merced where he helps students complete real-world engineering design projects. He has received a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced and hopes to use his unique skill set to develop more projects solving problems current Non-profits face today.
For the last 3 years Chris has increased the programs capacity to 13 student teams where they contribute over 60,000 service hours a semester for local non-profits through the Engineering Service Learning program. Through this program Chris manages the largest professional and technical workshop series at UC Merced providing students the tools they need to become career ready.
As a researcher, Chris specialized in ground water and surface water interactions. His work in focuses on monitoring the exchange between rivers and groundwater to better estimate this transfer on large scales. Chris has co-authored numerous publications including an environmental fluid dynamics handbook.
Chris is also interested in emergency response management. He stays up to date on trainings and development opportunities and uses his expertise in risk assessment and emergency response, to stay active in campus and community emergency response committees and response groups.
Chris focuses on helping others contribute to their community through creative uses of their professional and technical skills. In addition to his work with Engineering Service Learning, Chris is actively engaged on multiple non-profit committees and boards throughout the Merced community, including Boys Scouts, and the Castle Air Museum.
Affiliation: Associate Professor, University of California, Merced
The world faces many challenges, and we increasingly recognize that research into these challenges and their solutions can benefit from greater public engagement. ReCCES works to increase engagement between academic and community members that results in benefits for both.
Science and technology have revolutionized the way that people live. While technology has, for the most part, been embraced globally (for example, there are now well over 1 billion users of mobile telephones and over 100 million users of VoIP) most people still find science inaccessible and daunting. Why is there such a difference when science and technology are two sides of the same coin? Perhaps because people see the relevance of technology to their lives while science remains largely isolated in universities, labs, and other areas out of sight from the public domain. Technology has been sold to the public, science generally has not.
The principal marketplace for science is school, college, and university. Education is the advertising. If the students don’t see a product they like, it will never be bought. If it isn’t bought, it will not be used; if it isn’t used, it will go to waste. It is the responsibility of scientists and educators to provide people from all walks of life (including other scientists and educators) with lessons that are useful to them. This means spending time designing a range of products for different target groups, trying them out, getting feedback, modifying them, and trying again. This does not mean that students will necessarily get everything that they want (anybody for a straight-A without any work?), but it does mean they will get something that is interesting and useful, that they want to have and use, for a lifetime. Once the ‘software’ is in place, free upgrades are available on the internet and TV, in books and magazines, at the local museum, national park, and zoo (to name but a few).
Affiliation: Associate Director of the office of Student Life and Civic Leadership, University of California, Merced
We cannot understate the importance of linking our “new knowledge”, our research, with the needs of the community throughout the Central Valley, and in the process, recognizing and celebrating the reciprocal benefits of university-community, student-community member relationships.
Vernette Doty is the Associate Director of the office of Student Life and Civic Leadership at the University of California, Merced. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and her Master’s Degree in Education with and emphasis in student development at Washington State University. Before returning to college as a non-traditional student, Vernette taught art classes at an independent art store, coached club and high school swimming and volleyball, owned her own business as a personal fitness trainer in Alaska, Washington and California, and owned and operated a small local fitness center. She designed curriculum for kid’s fitness, taught kick-boxing in high school P.E. classes, organized and coordinated inspirational retreats for women, and raised 3 children. In her position at UC Merced, Vernette supports not only the co-curricular community engagement via student groups, clubs and organizations, but is also building the community based learning partnerships for the growing campus as well.
Affiliation: Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Merced
ReCCES is important to me because it provides students with experiential learning opportunities to apply their learning to solving community problems. The world has so many problems and needs the engagement of our students’ bright minds. ReCCES is a flagship program for the university that epitomizes why we earned our Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
Valerie Leppert is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering who specializes in the characterization and synthesis of nanomaterials for technological and environmental applications. Her research focus is electron microscopy of these materials to understand their physical and chemical properties, and in this capacity she has mentored over 40 post-docs and students, and published over 50 journal articles. She was a UC Merced Founding Faculty Member and Director of the Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning (2004-2007), Imaging and Microscopy Facility (2004-2015), and Research Experience for Undergraduates Program under the NSF NSEC “Center of Nanomechanical Systems” (2003-2013). Valerie also served as Chair of UC Merced’s Graduate Council for 3 terms and is currently the Chair of the UC Systemwide Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs (CCGA). She has served as an Advisory Board Member to the UC Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program and the UC Presidents Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. She has been honored with an NSF Advance Fellows Award (2002), UC Davis Academic Federation Finalist for Excellence in Research Award (2003), UC Merced Fred Spiess Distinguished Senate Service Award (2013), and as an invited participant to the National Academy of Engineering 10th Annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (Irvine, CA, 2004), the National Academy of Engineering Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (Kobe, Japan, 2008), the 2nd Annual Academy of Engineering Global Grand Challenges Summit (Beijing, China, 2015), the 5th Annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative on Art, Science, Engineering, and Medicine (Irvine, CA, 2015), and the National Academies Workshop on Integrating Art and the Humanities with Science, Engineering, and Medicine (Washington, DC, 2015). She has an abiding interest in the integration of research and education, and harnessing of the diverse disciplinary perspectives within a public research university to solve global problems and transform society.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Public Health Communication at the University of California, Merced
Dr. A. Susana Ramírez is a social scientist whose research at the intersection of communication science, public health, and Latino health focuses on communication in the service of social justice and health equity.
Dr. Ramírez employs mixed methods to understand the multiple levels of communication influence on health behaviors and to reduce health disparities among Latino populations across the acculturation spectrum. Communication influence comes from the public information environment, including the mass media, social media, and interpersonal sources, as well as from communication-based health promotion interventions. She is particularly interested in primary prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases through lifestyle-related behavior change, including diet and physical activity, as well as environmental exposure (e.g., air pollution) and secondary prevention strategies.
Her published research has examined the development and effectiveness of culturally tailored messages for bicultural Latina populations, knowledge and beliefs about cancer risk factors, and health information seeking behaviors. Active research examines the feasibility of using mobile phones for tailored behavior change communications, social marketing strategies to increase food access, examining the rural health information environment, understanding barriers to health care decision-making, and multilevel communication strategies to create a culture of health in a diverse community. Dr. Ramírez has obtained over $1.1 million in funding from local and federal organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Aging, the Development Impact Lab of the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and Hellman Family Faculty Fund.
Dr. Ramírez is currently an Assistant Professor of Public Health Communication at the University of California in Merced. She completed a Cancer Prevention Fellowship (postdoctoral) in the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. Dr. Ramírez earned a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Santa Clara University.
Affiliation: Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, Faculty Director of CalTeach Program, University of California, Merced
I strongly believe education is one of the major keys to addressing a multitude of the socio-economic challenges faced by the Central Valley. Only a strong partnership between the community and all other stakeholders in the future of the Valley, including UC Merced, can help us improve the quality of education across the educational spectrum and consequently the quality of life in the region.
Mayya Tokman is an Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics and a member of the founding faculty of the University of California in Merced. She has served as a Faculty Director of the CalTeach program since the program’s inception at UC Merced. Tokman completed her B.S. in Applied Mathematics with Specialization in Computing at UCLA and graduated with a Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Caltech. During her graduate studies she was the recipient of the Department of Energy’s Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF) and later served on the CSGF steering committee. She held positions of a Visiting Assistant Professor and a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Mathematics of the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to her academic work Tokman has also served in the Bureau of the Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the US Department of State as an American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy Fellow (2005/2006). Tokman’s research interests include scientific computing, numerical analysis and mathematical modeling. Tokman and her group are developing new numerical methods as well as using the tools of computational science and mathematical modeling to investigate problems in fields like plasma physics, climate modeling and biology.