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UCR Will Become Home to Systemwide Science-Related Program

May 14, 2018
Author: Sandra Baltazar Martinez
May 14, 2018

The University of California, Riverside will be the new headquarters of the Louis Stokes California Alliance for Minority Participation, or CAMP, a program known for supporting minorities in all science-related fields.

CAMP is currently transitioning from UC Irvine to UCR. The program focuses on supporting students from underserved communities who want to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These careers are known as STEM fields. UCR’s diversity, research, and academic profile make it a perfect candidate to become the next headquarters for CAMP, said Richard Cardullo, lead CAMP supporter, interim vice provost of Undergraduate Education, and Howard H. Hays Jr. chair of University Honors.

The National Science Foundation, or NSF, is the primary source of funding for the CAMP alliance, which is available at nine UC campuses. UCR’s office of Undergraduate Education submitted a $4 million grant proposal to NSF in order to keep the program running. Cardullo said he expects to hear back from NSF over the summer.

CAMP offers undergrad students an opportunity to do research, allocating between $500 to $750 stipends per student per quarter. Students who qualify may also apply for a summer research project, which includes a $5,000 stipend.

Having CAMP headquartered at UCR is an opportunity to support its diversity and to continue to highlight the campus as a Hispanic Serving Institution, also known as HSI. Cardullo said that CAMP is another way to keep helping UCR graduate minority students who in turn can become researchers and faculty members.

“UCR is a HSI and not to move in that direction would be wrong. The face of the university should ultimately reflect the community it serves,” Cardullo said. Cardullo will serve as the co-PI WHAT IS A PI? PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR? of the recently submitted CAMP proposal (2018-2023) and UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox will take the lead as P.I. for the CAMP alliance.

There’s a big correlation between CAMP students, their graduation rates, and the fact that they remain in science fields. Systemwide, 21,235 under-represented students are CURRENTLY?? enrolled. I TOOK THIS NUMBER FROM THE SYMPOSIUM REPORT, PAGE 8. PLEASE HELP ME VERIFY

Since CAMP’s creation 1991, CAMP has achieved a 541 percent increase in degree production, including 3,943 bachelor of science degrees awarded in 2017.

CAMP at UCR

CAMP members meet once a week at the Teaching and Learning Center, located in the Tomás Rivera Library. Currently XXXHOW MANY? students are enrolled.

Aside from being a student support program, the group sets aside time to work on their research, participate in workshops led by guest speakers, or to prepare for their Graduate Record Examinations, said Thomas Dickson, assistant vice provost of Undergraduate Education.

“It’s an amazing program. It fosters more independence and professional development to prepare them for the graduate school setting,” said Nhi Tran, STEM Connections coordinator who has been working with UCR CAMP students for eight years.

Among the active CAMP participants are Rosa McGuire, Julia Zavala, Rohit Jonnalagadda, and Yesica Mercado.

Jonnalagadda, 25, majoring in cell molecular developmental biology, said he appreciates the opportunity to focus more on his research and learn from his fellow CAMPers. For McGuire, 29, CAMP has been instrumental in teaching her about the application process for graduate school and has helped shape her desire to become a professor in the future. As a community college transfer student, McGuire said the club has also become a support system.

Her colleague Zavala, 20, a microbiology major, said her world changed by the opportunities she’s encountered through CAMP and through Dynamic Genome, another undergraduate research program on campus. This past summer Zavala interned with the United States Department of Agriculture in Maryland.

“It was a research internship; I worked with a principal investigator on finding resistance genes for a disease that affects potatoes,” Zavala said. “I am preparing for the GRE, which is why I joined CAMP. The program offers comradery, I have built confidence as a Latina in science, and it has given me the push to actually pursue a doctorate in research.”

In early February, 17 students traveled to UC Irvine for the annual research symposium. Fourteen students presented, bringing back seven awards in total. Two awards were for special merit in research, five were honorable mentions.

Meet the students, their research, and awards from this year’s symposium:

Special Merit in research

  • Mirella Rodriguez, research in physical sciences/engineering
  • Maria Gomez, research in physical sciences/engineering

Honorable Mention

  • Crysthal Alvarez, research in physical sciences/engineering
  • Tiffany Rivas, research in physical sciences/engineering
  • Miranda Felix, biological life sciences
  • Jose Mendez, biological life sciences
  • Rosa McGuire, biological life sciences
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