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The Magazine of UC Riverside

Spring 2015 Vol.10 No.2

When Art, Science and Technology Meet at UC Riverside–Page 8

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Kim A. Wilcox

Vice Chancellor, Advancement

Peter Hayashida


James Grant


Lilledeshan Bose

Creative Director

Luis Sanz


Vickie Chang

Vanessa Hua

Bill Ratner

Koren Wetmore

Michelle Woo

Senior Designer

Brad Rowe


Denise Wolf

Eric Yang

Editorial Assistant

Bethanie Le


Maydeli Magana

Bettye Miller

Konrad Nagy

Sean Nealon

Iqbal Pittalwala

Kristin Seiler


Loris Lora

Mike Tofanelli


Lonnie Duka

John Gilhooley

Carlos Puma

Carrie Rosema


Bob Bottomley

UCR Magazine is published by the Office of Strategic Communications, University of California, Riverside, and it is distributed free to the University community.

Editorial offices: 900 University Ave., 1156 Hinderaker Hall, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, telephone (951) 827-6397. Unless otherwise indicated, text may be reprinted without permission. Please credit University of California, Riverside.

USPS 006-433 is published four times a year: winter, spring, summer and fall by the University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521-0155.

Periodicals postage rates paid at Riverside, CA.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to UCR, Subscription Services (0063), 900 University Ave., 1156 Hinderaker Hall, Riverside, CA 92521.

In accordance with applicable federal laws and University policy, the University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures or practices on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or handicap. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal opportunity policies may be directed to the Affirmative Action Office, (951) 827-5604.

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Change of address? Contact Editor Lilledeshan Bose at

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Cover Story

08 | Colliding Worlds–When science, art and technology meet at UC Riverside

About the Cover

On our cover is a photograph of the installation on the exterior of UCR’s Genomics Building, designed by Jim Isermann, professor of art and a longtime creator of large public art installations.

There are actually two spectacular arrangements of red, orange, yellow and silver powder-coated steel and aluminum modules that welcome researchers to the building. One grouping of 65 modules fills an exterior wall; another is a vertical array of 15 modules in the atrium floor. At night, cool LED lights in the folded- metal project turn the yellow pieces green.

The installations feature two sets of spirals, which Isermann says relates to his sustaining interests in geometric abstraction and its relationship to repetition and pattern.

Creating public art – especially in UCR – is very important to Isermann. “[The sculpture is] on the campus where I teach,” he said. “The installation is made for the person who goes to work in the building every day. The pattern is complex enough that you don’t recognize what is going on in one viewing. It’s not initially read as art; it’s read as something integral to the building.”

Read an interview with Jim Isermann at

Cover photo taken by Eric Yang


16 | Thought-exchange Mecca for the future–ARTSblock aims to be the center of conversation about exploring the world

18 | Thank You for Your Service–UCR is making a name for itself as a military-friendly school

22 | Determined to Succeed–From Russia to the United States, Alexander Raikhel overcame many challenges just to find out how to stop mosquitoes from harming us

24 | From Mind to Market–When he created zyBooks, Frank Vahid created a new way of learning online

26 | It’s Never Too Late–At 68, voice actor Bill Ratner decided to go back to school and get his MFA in creative writing at UCR Palm Desert

30 | It’s a Numbers Game—Celebrating Athletics Hall of Famers through the years


03 | RView–A message from Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox

04 | R Space–Catch up on the latest news at UC Riverside

28| Living the Promise–Iryna Ethell and Guillermo Aguilar on research at UCR

32 | Page Turners

33 | Alumni Connection

34 | Class Acts

39 | The First 50–UCR’s med students get ready for Boards

36 | C Scape–Tyler Stallings thinks out of this world

What’s New?


Watch videos, read online extras and more at

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Walk and Talk with Leadership

6.1; 7.16; 9.22; 10.1; 11.5 –A 30-minute opportunity to walk and talk with a member of the UCR Leadership team will be held monthly. It’s a healthy opportunity for faculty, staff and students to get healthy, get moving and to get to know the campus! A different leader is scheduled for each Walk and Talk event.

A Concert of Mexican Music and Dance

6.3 –The UCR Studio for Mexican Music and Dance is hosting a concert of traditional and popular Mexican music. The event consists of the Mariachi Mexicatl, led by Laura Sobrino, and Ballet Folklórico Mexicatl, led by John Avalos (Juan Rios).

PLAYWORKS 2015 by UCR Undergraduate Playwrights

6.3-6.5 –Premiere productions by the best UCR student playwrights explore issues and textures of contemporary life. A different slate of work is scheduled for each performance. This event is free and open to the public.

Basque Music and Dance

6.6 –The Culver Center of the Arts is hosting an evening of music and dance from the Basque region of Spain. UCR Professor Begoña Echevarria will lead the performance and speak about the works being performed.

Commencement 2015

6.12-6.15 –UC Riverside holds seven commencement ceremonies on Pierce Hall lawn, near the campus bell tower. More than 3,000 students are expected to make their way across the stage over the course of four days.

Posing Japan: Photographs by Kusakabe Kimbei

Through 7.3 –The California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock presents an exhibition of hand-colored photographs by Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934) that highlights the complexity of depicting 19th-century Japanese culture.

Sixth International Comics and Medicine Conference

7.16-7.18 –Hosted by the Center for Ideas and Society at UCR, the sixth International Comics and Medicine: Spaces of Care conference at the Culver Center of the Arts is designed to generate a conversation about space as a critical element in health care and comics.

CMP Projects: Phil Chang

Through 8.1 –The California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock presents a solo installation by artist Phil Chang as part of its CMP Projects series. The exhibition will feature a selection of photographs from Chang’s recently conceived untitled series of monochromes.

Find out about more campus events on

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Art and Creativity Bring ‘Whole’ to ‘University’

The word “university” is rooted in the Latin word “universitas” – which means “the whole.”

From their founding in the Middle Ages through today, the world’s great universities seek to replicate that ideal “whole” through scholarly endeavors that span the spectrum – literature and linguistic science, cultural studies and materials science, business and economic theory, education, health and many other disciplines.

I was recently reminded of the importance of art and creative work to UC Riverside when I had the honor of spending a little time with Jim Isermann, professor of art and a longtime creator of public art installations.

Jim’s work can be found in large-scale installations in Europe, New York and Los Angeles, and his commissioned pieces now grace Cowboys Stadium in Texas, and academic facilities at the University of Houston and right here at UCR.

His art adorns our Genomics Building, which was built in 2010 and from its inception was meant to house the most innovative research science. In envisioning the building, Professor Natasha Raikhel, director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, was adamant that the new facility should showcase contemporary art. She asked Jim to join her and several colleagues for a discussion about the science of plant biology, and the possibility of creating a work of art for the new facility.

When Jim and I met outside the Genomics Building the other day, I enjoyed hearing more about his sculpture (and I also learned about the importance of regular maintenance schedules for public art pieces!).

“The artwork is a conflation of my preconception of molecular illustration and the state-of-the-art computer rendering done at UCR,” he says. “That ties to the specific site of the building’s portico and atrium.”

We also talked about our recently re-established Advisory Committee on Campus Art. The first Public Art Program at UCR was created in 2002 and was responsible for placing major pieces of public art on campus, such as John Werhle’s “Gateway Mural” on the Highway 60 overpass at the campus entrance on University Avenue.

Although the program had to be put on the back burner during the recession, we recently revived the committee. The group, which includes Jim and other faculty members, staff, students and members of the community, will review and recommend proposed art installations for public areas across our campus.

Jim and his colleagues in the fine arts, the sciences, social sciences, humanities and many other fields help make up the fabric of this “universitas.” The arts and creative work expand and enrich our intellectual and cultural lives daily through expositions and salons, performances and rigorous studio sessions.

Art and creativity also help UC Riverside connect with the wider world – the UCR ARTSblock has become a fixture of downtown Riverside’s revitalization, and the unique dance and music performances held on our campus provide a gateway to the imagination for all who attend.

If you haven’t stopped by our campus recently, please do — and take a walk over to the Genomics Building to see a place where art meets science.

Fiat lux,

Kim A. Wilcox


Photo: Carrie Rosema

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UCR Leaders Create Research Partnerships With China

From Jan. 4 to Jan. 16, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox traveled to China with other UCR leaders to seek out new research partnerships, make new connections and to see if new resources can be brought back to the Inland region.

They stopped in Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan and Beijing to meet with university leaders, business people and government officials, and came back with a $100,000 gift from Xiangdong Li, chairman of both the Sichuan Ruixin Industrial Group and the China West International Education Foundation. The gift will provide scholarship funds for international students looking to study at the School of Business Administration.

School of Business Administration (SoBA) Dean Yunzeng Wang; Steve Chen, director of international relations at SoBA; and Jeff Kaatz, UCR assistant vice chancellor of development, also signed an understanding between the Shanghai Maritime University’s (SMU) Logistics Research Center and SoBA’s Institute of Supply Chain Analytics and Logistic Studies to engage in collaborative research and student exchange.

The UCR group also hosted and spoke at two receptions in Chengdu and Wuhan for alumni, parents, prospective students and guests.

“This has been an extremely rewarding and productive trip,” said Wilcox. “The relationships that faculty members have created over the years are appreciated and highly praised by our Chinese partners, and we have had many fruitful conversations about our shared future.”

Photo Caption: Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox talks to Ph.D. lecturer Ding Yi from the Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, at the YangShan container port in Shanghai.

UCR’s CAFÉ Launch Features Two Esteemed Food Writers

On Jan. 28, UCR launched the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFÉ) by way of a lecture with writers Gustavo Arellano (editor-in-chief of OC Weekly and author of “Taco USA”) and David Karp (freelance food writer for the Los Angeles Times) speaking about food and its intersections with culture, history and science.

The talks illustrated CAFÉ’s relevance at UCR. Led by Professor of Genetics Norman Ellstrand, CAFÉ is an institute that was created to unify a large interdisciplinary group of faculty, centers, facilities and activities related to agriculture. Building on UCR’s agricultural history, CAFÉ also addresses UCR’s strategic priority of Genomics to Harvest. The vision for CAFÉ is to positively impact the science, policies and practices related to agriculture and its impact on humankind.

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Some Geckos Can’t Stick with It

A study led by UCR biologists has found that evolution can downgrade or entirely remove adaptations that a species has previously acquired, giving the species new survival advantages.

The researchers focused their attention on the adhesive system that allows geckos to cling to surfaces.

They found that species of geckos in which the adhesive system was either lost or simplified saw elevated rates of evolution related to morphology and locomotion.

“The removal of the constraints associated with adhesion allowed those gecko species to either run faster or burrow,” said Timothy Higham, an assistant of biology, whose lab led the study. “The end result is diversification.”

Study results appeared online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UCR Professors Write New TV Show

ABC has picked up the pilot for a dramatic, one-hour series about the Bible that began as a collaboration between Robin Russin, professor of screenwriting, and Reza Aslan, professor of creative writing. Russin wrote the submission pilot script for “Of Kings and Prophets,” and Aslan developed the concept and is an executive producer in association with his company, BoomGen Studios.

The shooting script is being written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, who recently scripted “Exodus” for Ridley Scott. The pilot has been greenlit for production, and both Aslan and Russin will be writers on the show if it goes into full series production.

“Of Kings and Prophets” will be told from three perspectives – a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd.

Aslan is also set to host a spiritual adventure series on CNN called “Believer.”

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Kelechi A. Kalu Named Vice Provost for International Affairs

Kelechi A. Kalu, an expert in university globalization, international affairs and West African politics, has been named vice provost for international affairs at UCR.

Before moving to Riverside, Kalu was the associate provost for global strategies and international affairs at Ohio State University. Kalu was also named professor of political science in the UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

In the position of vice provost, Kalu will oversee UCR’s international programs and engagement. UCR host students from more than 60 nations, and its faculty research features dozens of international research activities touching all continents.

Said Kalu: “UC Riverside has an excellent base for global engagement, and I look forward to building new opportunities for international collaborative research programs, expanding student exchange opportunities, and helping the campus become a vital center for global engagement in California and the nation.”

Laila Lalami Named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Laila Lalami, associate professor of creative writing, was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for her work of historical fiction, “The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon).

Winners were announced in April by the Pulitzer Prize board. Novelist Anthony Doerr won the fiction award for “All the Light We Cannot See.” In addition to Lalami, nominated finalists were Richard Ford, for “Let Me Be Frank with You,” and Joyce Carol Oates, for “Lovely, Dark, Keep.”

“The fact that Laila Lalami is one of only three finalists for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Fiction – and that she shares the distinction with two of the nation’s most accomplished novelists, Richard Ford and Joyce Carol Oates – goes a long way toward recognizing what she accomplished with ‘The Moor’s Account,’” said Andrew Winer, chair of the UCR Department of Creative Writing. “It’s a remarkable novel.”

“The Moor’s Account” is also a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award, which honors excellence in fiction, poetry and nonfiction by writers of African descent.

Lalami’s novel is the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of – a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record of the 1527 expedition of Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narvaez. There were only four survivors.

“The Moor’s Account” has been named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Books of the Year, one of NPR’s Great Reads of 2014, and is on the list of Kirkus Best Fiction Books of the Year.

Lalami joined the UCR faculty in 2007. She is the author of “Secret Son” and “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.”

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UCR by the Numbers

3 — The acres in UCR’s community garden, dubbed “R’Garden,” that is adjacent to Parking Lot 30. It is a space for campus community members to grow fresh fruits and vegetables while learning about social, environmental and economic sustainability.

2 — The number of students from UCR who participated in season 14 of the nationally televised reality show “American Idol.” UCR freshman Adanna Duru was in the final 10 before she was voted out. Rocky Peter Ajoku, eliminated early in the season, was a 2013 graduate.

$54,848.05 — The record-breaking amount of money that UCR Dance Marathon raised on Jan. 31 for the Guardian Scholars Program to help emancipated foster youth. That includes a matching grant of $25,000 from the Pritzker Family Foundation.

88.3 — The FM radio channel of KUCR, UCR’s student campus radio station. Listen online at

161 — The height of the UCR bell tower in feet.

58 — The percentage of UCR undergraduates who receive need-based Pell grants. It’s the highest percentage among the nation’s research-intensive universities.

72 — The number of seats in the state-of-the-art film and video room at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts from UCR ARTSblock. Located in downtown Riverside, ARTSblock represents a partnership between UCR and the city of Riverside, bringing contemporary art, film and performance to the Inland Empire.

3 —The number of years that it took to construct the Highlander Union Building (HUB). The HUB is a common area where the UCR community can gather to meet, eat and study. It features dining and retail facilities, meeting areas, lounges and event spaces.

4 — The total distance in miles of the trails at the UCR Botanic Gardens.

6,000 — The square footage of the huge new swimming pool at the expanded recreation center.

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Colliding Worlds: When Art, Science and Technology Meet at UC Riverside

Story By Michelle Woo

Across Campus, scholars are breaking out of their labs and studios, forming a spirograph of unexpected connections, solving historical mysteries, inventing solutions for the future and stretching perceptions of what is possible.

An astrophysicist, a music composer and a college student are sitting at a table. It may sound like the setup for a bad punchline, but at UC Riverside, scholars understand that such scenes are the breeding grounds for innovation and discovery.

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On this afternoon, the composer is Tim Labor, who is marking up pages of sheet music with a pencil.

“So we’re inside the cloud watching the stars double in number,” the associate professor of music says, his eyes following the roller coaster of tiny black symbols.

Beside him are Mario De Leo Winkler, a UC MEXUS postdoctoral researcher in the Physics and Astronomy Department, and Ryan Straka, a fourth-year music major. The three are working on Straka’s thesis project – a musical composition that represents the merging of the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. De Leo Winkler’s role is to ensure that the sonification is scientifically sound. He guides the student with charts, graphs, equations, photographs, NASA articles and research papers on the galactic collision. Labor is there to help make sure the piece, which will be performed for the public this fall, conveys the magic of the spectacular event. “I’m the poetics consultant,” he says.

The purpose of the project is multifaceted. For the composers, it is to draw inspiration and connect with a power outside their own heads; for the scientist, it is to share astronomy with new audiences through the universal entry point of art. “It’s important for people to understand and have a picture of our modern universe,” says Straka, the first student to take on the unique interdisciplinary opportunity. “It’s the next frontier.”

Science vs. Art?

Photo by Carrie Rosema

Science and art. For far too long, the disciplines have been painted as polar opposites in a clash between logic and passion. But it is misguided to believe that the two are mutually exclusive. At a time when the great connector of technology helps dissolve the boundaries of thought, when connections between scientists and artists occur, the outcomes are often more wildly impactful than either could have imagined on their own.

At UC Riverside, science and art are colliding like two far-off galaxies. Across campus, scholars are breaking out of their labs and studios, forming a spirograph of unexpected connections, solving historical mysteries, inventing solutions for the future and stretching perceptions of what is possible. Every day, you can see the merging of disciplines at work.

“There is a new energy being shared amongst certain humanists and scientists who are starting to explore in very open-ended ways the realities of overlap between the arts and the sciences,” says Jason Weems, an assistant professor of art history. “In terms of these crossovers, I believe the best is yet to come.”

Science and art were not always separate fields. The diverging roads certainly didn’t exist in the 15th and early 16th centuries when Leonardo da Vinci reigned as a master of both. The eventual birth of industrialization and specialization contributed to the division, but the line is finally fading once again as scientists and artists realize they make

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Photo caption: Astronomy postdoc Mario De Leo Winkler (left) and music professor Tim Labor are helping undergrad student Ryan Straka with his thesis, a musical composition based on colliding universes.

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Photo Caption: “Coastline Cliffside 22,” by art professor Amir Zaki from his 2013 exhbition ‘Time Moves Still.’”

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natural partners, both guided by what Weems describes as a “balance of human desires.”

“On one hand, there’s the desire of humanity to create knowledge and imagine the world as a coherent and containable thing,” he says. “On the other hand, what drives both scientists and humanists is also the allure of the unknown. The notion that beyond the frontiers of our present understanding resides incredible possibility.”

Bonding Across Disciplines

Connections at UCR form through natural, open- ended conversation, which blooms through programs such as Science Studies Coffee Hour, an intimate forum where faculty, researchers and graduate students of all disciplines can delve into the areas of science, technology and medicine. The group composed of scientists, science fiction writers and scholars of culture — has toured an artificial septic system in the Bourns College of Engineering, discussed new research on personhood and immunity, and read about innovations in rice production. “The world is becoming more and more techno-scientific, and we need new tools to grasp it, to make connections across the disciplines,” Dana Simmons, associate professor of history and a member of the group, says. “Scientists have deep technical expertise but may not be equipped to grasp the social impact or cultural factors shaping their research. Humanists understand social issues but may lack empirical knowledge. We want this to be a space for building new bridges.”

Sometimes, when those bonds are formed, the results are nothing short of revolutionary. Four years ago, art history Professor Conrad Rudolph was watching the news when he heard about facial recognition technology, a computer-based verification system being used in areas such as visa processing, forensic investigations and border control. Rudolph’s first thought: Why not use it to study portraiture? When he looked up a list of the nation’s experts on the Internet, he was surprised to find a name from his own campus: Amit Roy-Chowdhury, head of UCR’s video computing group. Rudolph sent over an email to his colleague and left it at that. “I never thought even for a minute that someone in computer engineering would spend time on this,” Rudolph says. But Roy-Chowdhury was willing to hear more, intrigued by the possibility of using his methods “in a very different application,” he says. He developed a program that learns to identify faces from their anatomical dimensions, such as the width of their noses, distance between their eyes or curvature of their eyebrows. The possible identification of figures such as Mary Queen of Scots and Galileo made headlines on The Economist, Gizmodo and NPR.

And in art history alone, Rudolph says, the technology has enormous potential. “It can be applied to craftsmanship in silverwork, to measure proportions of the human body, to analyze large bodies of works of art — for example, to compare Netherlandish art of the 15th century versus Italian Florentine art of the 15th century.”

Through the collaboration, Roy-Chowdhury says he was surprised by the overlap in methodologies used by computer scientists and art history scholars. Rudolph’s set-up, essentially, is pretty much how statistical hypothesis testing is done. “It’s just represented very differently.”

Differences and Misconceptions

Yet the merging of disciplines isn’t always seamless. First, there’s the challenge of shattering deeply held perceptions that artists and scientists are different breeds belonging on opposite ends of the Myers-Briggs spectrum.

Last year, Victor Zordan, an associate professor of computer science and engineering who leads UCR’s video game design program, had an idea to launch an interactive art showcase. Here professional dancers and attendees could create control graphics for motion capture animation through their body movements. “Motion and dance — there’s obviously a lot of overlap,” Zordan says. But getting scholars on board with the project took some convincing. “A lot of students were scratching their heads, saying, ‘You want to do a dance project?’” he says, “Students turned it down because they didn’t want to be associated with the performance component of it. They just wanted to do video games.”

Once he did cobble together a team and submitted a proposal to the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, the hard-to-categorize project was not granted

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funding. “There’s still a long way to go to get common acceptance and traction,” Zordan says.

Despite setbacks, the computer scientist persists in forging connections. Zordan has collaborated with Amir Zaki, chair of art in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS), to create a cross-listed pair of classes that bring together computer science and art students to learn modeling and animation.

“It’s hard to mix the two disciplines, but you can create the appreciation and respect for each other and a common language,” Zordan says. He is also working with music Professor Tim Labor on a joint video game project: Zordan’s computer science students are coding the games, while Labor’s students compose the soundtracks. And he’s part of another groundbreaking endeavor — to develop 3D-printing tools for producing textiles for the fashion industry and beyond.

Breaking Down Stereotypes

Experimental musician and Ph.D. student no.e Parker’s career has been a long road of breaking down stereotypes of what artists and scientists should look like—or should be doing. While she was an undergraduate at Cornell taking classes in material science engineering, people would often comment on her punk rock aesthetic. “They would say, “You don’t look like an engineer. Why are you here?”” she recalls.

Parker says doors are now opening for scholars like herself who want to work at the intersection of art and science. She was one of the first to join UCR’s digital composition program in the department of music in 2011. She is now working on an audiovisual installation at the UCR Culver Center of the Arts, for an exhibition opening on June 27, showcasing sound and music created using a sonification apparatus. This is designed to enable real-time collection of temperature data taken from compost. Through the installation, the veteran gardener aims to send a message about sustainability, organic waste and what’s coming out of our kitchens. “You can’t just write Beethoven and Bach to be socially relevant as a composer these days — those composers were developing groundbreaking music technology for their time,” Parker says. “Contemporary artists have a responsibility to help society understand what’s going on in the physical world around them.”

Helping People Understand the World

And art is able to do that like no other medium can. Juliet McMullin, an associate professor in the department of anthropology, examines how graphic novels about cancer not only illuminate the “ordinary, chronic, cruddy” life experiences of those with the disease, but they can also contribute to the nuances of discourses on health care inequalities. “Being

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able to see the imagery alongside the words allows the reader to pause and think more in-depth,” she says of the genre. This summer, McMullin will host the International Comics & Medicine Conference at the Culver Center of the Arts from July 16 to 18. This will explore the idea of space as a critical element in health care and comics.

Just as art has helped propel the scientific sphere, science and technology has long elevated the work of artists, whose creations sometimes defy description. Adorning the university’s state-of-the-art Institute for Integrative Genome Biology building is a large-scale art installation designed by professor of art Jim Isermann, who was inspired by geometric shapes of molecular structure. Earlier this year, Paulo Chagas’ “In-Between: Works for Percussion, Electronics and Multimedia” at the UCR Culver Center of the Arts fused together rhythms from Afro-Brazilian cult drumming, cutting- edge live electronics and an interactive image projection. The professor of music, a self-described maverick by nature, is now working on a multimedia opera that explores ideas of sustainability and the creation and destruction of nature. “Music — and all art — has always been about expanding the awareness, perceptions and consciousness of people,” Chagas says. “Technology supports that.”

An artist who has worked with digital tools throughout his career, Amir Zaki says he “uses new technology in the way a painter uses a different brush.” The 3D computer graphics software Maya has helped him explore the rhetoric of authenticity in his pieces. These are primarily hybridized photographs in which the scenes look somewhat off-register, but just slightly so. “I’m not very interested in the statement, ‘That can’t be,’” says Zaki. “I like it more when people look at a piece and say, ‘Can that be?’”

Can Dance Be Taught Online?

In art education, UCR scholars are not merely keeping pace with technology’s evolution — they’re at the forefront of it. Jacqueline Shea Murphy, associate professor and chair of the department of dance, was the first UCR faculty member to bring an entire course to the Web, as part of the systemwide program UC Online.

“For the 21st century, one of the most important skills for students to learn is how to work collaboratively in an online environment,” Shea Murphy says, explaining why she launched an online version of her general education course “Dance: Cultures and Contexts.” The course requires students to form groups and develop a wikipage together. “Dance is a collaborative art form. You don’t usually dance all by yourself in the dark with no music. You dance in relationship to music, in relationship to a partner or to a group of people, in relationship to an audience. Most people think of the Internet as a passive place for students — you sit back and listen to the professor. But I think in many ways, a big classroom is like that. In an online environment, there’s more of a sense of one-on-one.”

The art-and-science movement at UCR comes on the heels of a national rally for STEAM, an update on the academic disciplines known as STEM — science, technology, engineering and math, but with an “A” added for art. A national initiative led by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the goal is to “foster the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer.”

The leaders of UCR’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) are collaborating with Palm Springs Unified School District and DIGICOM to study the impact of one way to integrate STEAM concepts into K-12 education. That curricula comes from DIGICOM, a K-12 program implemented in the Palm Springs Unified School District that puts students in the role of filmmakers. The GSOE is collaborating with the district to evaluate the program to eventually apply for federal grants.

GSOE Dean Thomas M. Smith says developing the skills of digital storytelling is designed to foster critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. “On the art side, they’re writing scripts and giving voice to personal stories, but they’re also learning about the technical aspects of designing, shooting and editing a short film,” Smith says. “We hope to meet this medium that kids are already familiar with — video and YouTube — with trying to engage them in the skills we want them to learn.”

At UCR, scientists and artists are re-establishing the foundation of discovery and innovation — together. And when the two galaxies collide, the result can be spectacular.

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Thought-Exchange Mecca For the Future

ARTSblock aims to be the center of a conversation about exploring the world

An installation by Adriana Salazar from “Adriana Salazar: Perpetuity” featured formerly alive creatures mechanically re-animated.

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The building of the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts is rooted in history, dating back to 1895 when it was built as a Rouse department store and celebrated as an architectural jewel of Riverside.

But what goes on inside those walls today is a shining example of what the thought-exchange meccas of the future could be. Opened in 2010 (and celebrating its fifth anniversary this October), the center, in conjunction with its sister spaces in the UC Riverside ARTSblock, the Sweeney Art Gallery and the California Museum of Photography, has become a state-of-the-art playground for artists melding a multitude of disciplines. Here, traditional academic borders seem like a relic.

“Art does not stand outside of society but really is an extension of all the multivarious issues that society is about,” says Jonathan Green, professor of art history and executive director of ARTSblock. “We do a lot of work that’s political. We do a lot of work that has scientific basis. Art is an extension of the human condition and human exploration.”

Science is often central to the discourse. In 2013, “Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration” was the first contemporary art exhibition in the United States to showcase artists and organizations eyeing civilian space travel, an idea that has become more than sci-fi fantasy in recent years. According to co-curator Tyler Stallings, artistic director of the Culver Center of the Arts and director of Sweeney Art Gallery, the exhibitors did more than present visual interpretations and metaphors. “They were all working towards actually doing something in space, whether they were able to get there or not, as opposed to just letting it be like a painting about the idea,” he says. “They were doing everything from developing new technologies to working with scientists at NASA.”

In “Different Particles & Indeterminate States: New Monumental Drawings by Amy Myers,” the artist used charcoal, graphite and ink on paper to make intricate, monumental drawings that merge the microcosmic with the macrocosmic in a visionary blending of art, mathematics and physics.

Earlier this year, “Adriana Salazar: Perpetuity” featured sculptures and installations in which formerly live creatures — fallen plants, taxidermy animals — were mechanically re-animated, blurring the definition of what is alive. “Even in biology, this definition is something that is constantly debated and put to the test,” Salazar told ARTSblock. “Is a rock something that is alive? Is the process of death the same as the process of decay? Are we dying from the moment we are born?” The exhibition was presented in collaboration with UCR’s Immortality Project, a multiyear project to study the science, philosophy and theology of immortality. The project culminated in a capstone conference held at the Culver Center in May.

“We want to make Riverside the center of a conversation about exploring the world,” Stallings says. “The tension between the past and the present and some hint of where we’re going in the future is embedded here.”


3824 Main St.

Riverside, California 92501

Telephone: (951) 827-4787

Exhibition Hours

Tuesday to Saturday: noon to 5 p.m.

First Thursdays

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (free admission)

UCR ARTSblock Admission:

General admission: $3

Seniors (60+): free

Students with ID: free

Children under 12: free

Members: free

Price includes admission to Sweeney Art Gallery, Culver Center of the Arts and California Museum of Photography

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Thank You for Your Service

UCR is making a name for itself as a military-friendly school, by establishing support systems for veterans seeking higher education

By Vickie Chang

Illustrations by Skip Sterling

“I didn’t really do bad in high school — I just wasn’t above average,” University of California, Riverside, undergraduate and veteran Blason Taon explains. “It was like breezing through.”

Taon adds that he was rebellious in his high school years. “I just wasn’t ready for a four-year university when I finished high school.” So instead, he looked to the Army.

“In addition to the education benefits, [joining the Army] was a great opportunity to be able to feel like I’m a part of this country,” he says. Taon immigrated to the United States with his parents from the Philippines at age 7, and he enlisted a few months after his high school graduation. He served in the United States Army for seven years.

A first-generation college student, Taon is now a psychology major at UCR. He transferred from Riverside City College, and when he moved to UCR, he worked with student veterans at both institutions. He is now the president of UCR’s Association of Veterans and Service members and a peer educator.

In the Army, Taon was a specialist who served in Germany, Georgia and Arizona, along with two tours in Afghanistan — one of which he volunteered for.

“On my first tour, I had a buddy who had told me they were looking for volunteers. He and his wife were about to have their first child.” Taon says. “If he had been deployed, he wouldn’t be able to be present for the birth of his child, so I decided to

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volunteer just in case he was chosen.”

This tidbit reveals qualities that Taon and many other student veterans have displayed as student leaders and as soldiers: They’re deliberate, driven, altruistic.

Vet-friendly Campus

While veterans make up less than 1 percent of the overall student population, UCR stands strong with a reputation as one of the best universities for veterans pursuing a four-year degree. (Taon is just one of the 150 to 175 student veterans who self- identify as such at UCR.) For four years in a row, UCR has been honored as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine. An entire cast of characters helps make this possible, from staff and faculty to the students themselves.

UCR was also recently accepted as a Yellow Ribbon institution by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The program agreement permits UCR and the VA to provide funds to cover all nonresident supplemental tuition and fees for eligible veterans in all majors, with no limit.

“We work with our students in a very hands-on, very personal approach,” says Chryssa Jones, UCR’s veterans services coordinator. “We have a vet-friendly campus, not just a center.”

Student Special Services coordinates programs and services for military-affiliated students on campus, and have adopted a three-pronged approach consisting of peer, academic and transitional support.

Programs specifically tailor-fit for student veterans include enrollment and financial support, veterans benefit advising, academic interventions, career development, alumni and professional mentorship and more.

For example, undergrad vets receive priority enrollment to select classes on the first day of registration each quarter. This allows them the flexibility to coordinate classes with other family, health care and military obligations.

But having a Veteran Student Lounge also means just being able to have a lounge to relax in and grab a cup of coffee in between classes while chatting with your peers, says Nathan Anderson. Aside from being a student veteran, the 33-year-old business administration major is also a peer educator and vice president of UCR’s Association of Veterans and Servicemembers.

Unique Challenges

Anderson, like many student veterans, has a family to support. The father of a 3-year-old daughter, he praises organizations such as the UCR Child Development Center.

“Overall, we feel really welcome at UCR. This is a school that embraces the veterans; they do what they can to help us be as successful as possible,” Anderson says.

After all, student veterans come with unique challenges. They’re older than most of the other undergrads who are usually around 18- to 22-years-old, for one. Many student vets say the age gap hinders their interactions with their peers.

“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges for student veterans,” Jones, the veterans services coordinator, says. “Just feeling comfortable on campus and finding out where they fit.”

There are also bureaucratic challenges, such as navigating paperwork and securing all the education benefits available via the GI Bill.

But being a veteran also has special advantages brought by military experience. Jim Sandoval, vice chancellor for student affairs, finds student veterans’ dynamism especially remarkable.

“We have found that student veterans are extremely resilient and dedicated to completing their education. That’s the foundation from which we’ve been able to build our program to help them navigate through some of the challenges,” Sandoval says. “They’ve been able to be successful in

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that regard through peer mentor programs and providing support to one another. We just facilitate the environment for that to occur.”

He adds that UCR very much intended to gain its reputation as a military-friendly campus. “Our former director of student special services, Lenita Kellstrand (now retired), was extremely dedicated to providing support for our veteran students. The other factor for us is the strong military presence in the area — we’re right by March Air Reserve Base. It’s always been part of our fabric and our culture to support our veterans and to support the military. It’s something that was developed over decades — and we still maintain the highest level of support for our veterans.”

The Staff and Faculty Factor

Staff and faculty also play a major role in the veteran support system. There are two staff and faculty veteran units on campus. The Veteran Support Team is made up of representatives from academic colleges and student support departments. They meet regularly to discuss the needs and concerns of student veterans and develop programs to meet those needs.

The Veterans, Military and Families Group is a military-affiliated, employee peer support organization that builds on UCR’s veterans outreach and community partnerships. Supported by the Human Resources, Staff Assembly, and the Office of Faculty and Staff Affirmative Action, it participates in community events such as the July 4th Founders Day Front Row Fireworks, the Riverside Area Veterans Expo and the Veterans Day Flag Ceremony on campus.

The UCR Career Center operates a mentorship program that pairs staff and faculty vets with student vets.

This dedication to creating an inclusive environment at UCR extends to Human Resources, which offers workshops to engage and retain veterans as UCR employees, assists with the application process and creates a pipeline of qualified graduates for campus employment.

Breaking Down Barriers

“[Chryssa Jones] has been very helpful to my success at UCR,” Taon says. In fact, she sits down with each self-identifying student veteran who arrives on campus to make sure he or she understands the military benefits and the services and resources available.

“A lot of [UCR] professors are veterans too, and understand what we are going through. They’re really able to work around some of the difficulties surrounding our education,” says student veteran Anderson. “I was going through a divorce while I was enrolled at UCR, and all my professors at the time were willing to work around the things I had to do so I could maintain success.”

One unfortunate side effect of being a veteran on campus is the negative stigma that is sometimes attached to a veteran. The stereotype of the mentally and physically broken soldier could cause some to not identify themselves on campus as vets, says Jones. Sometimes, veterans are hesitant to self-identify because they may be treated differently based on others’ political views of the military. Jones adds, “Other times, they’re just trying to fit in and get on with their life.”

“Part of the military culture is to be self-sufficient, so some don’t want to ask for help. There are also some students who mistakenly believe if they come and ask for help from our office, another more deserving student won’t receive their benefits,” she says. “There’s not a limited number of services — we want everybody to come.”

Jones and the rest of the staff at Student Special Services says they are attempting to tackle this issue via outreach with other departments, staff and faculty to help create supportive programs all over campus. One example is the Veteran Ally training program, which enables participants to learn more about veteran-specific learning strengths and barriers, and how they can help. “This helps us achieve a level of campuswide support and opportunities for our student veterans.”

Taon, who graduates this year, says newly enrolled veterans at UCR should take advantage of all the support the campus offers. “Don’t wait for opportunities to come knocking at the door. As a veteran, you should be breaking down doors.”

For information, go to

Helping our Vets Through Research

Fighting PTSD-related Insomnia

Sleep researchers from UCR and UCSD found that zolpidem (Ambien), a popular prescription sleep aid, heightens the recollection of and response to negative memories. The research was funded by a National Institutes of Health career award to Sara C. Mednick, assistant professor of psychology at UCR.

The findings have implications for individuals suffering from insomnia related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders who are prescribed zolpidem to help them sleep.

Helping Veterans Combat Hearing Loss

Many combat veterans suffer from hearing loss from blast waves that makes it difficult to understand speech in noisy environments. This condition, called auditory dysfunction, may lead to isolation and depression. There is no known treatment.

Building on UCR brain-training research related to improving vision, UCR researchers including Aaron Seitz, professor of neuropsychology, and Victor Zordan, associate professor of computer science, alongside the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, are developing a video game Wisp. The game hopes to train the auditory cortex to better process complex sounds and to ultimately treat auditory dysfunction.

Operation Education

Operation Education at UCR is a support program for U.S. military veterans who have been disabled while serving our nation since Sept. 11, 2001.

Based on a successful program created by Karen White at the University of Idaho in 2006, Operation Education provides veterans with the means to pursue a college degree and start the next phase of their lives.

To read more of UCR’s research with veterans, go to page 28.

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Determined to Succeed

Alexander S. Raikhel has overcome many challenges throughout his academic career in his quest to unlock the secrets of the mosquito

By Lilledeshan Bose

Alexander S. Raikhel, distinguished professor of entomology, has been studying mosquitoes for about 30 years; much of his research involves the molecularbasis of mosquito reproduction and immunity.

Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009, Raikhel, who grew up in Siberia as the child of a military doctor in the Soviet Union, always wanted to be a scientist. “When I was a boy I even insisted ongetting glasses during my eye exam because I thought that scientists should have glasses!”

He was 12 then, and although his father wanted him to become a doctor — “as all parents do” — he was drawn to research, particularly in the field of biology.

Raikhel graduated from St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) State University, one of Russia’s oldest and most highly respected schools, with a master’s degree in zoology and parasitology. He began studying parasites, and by the time he went into his doctoral program at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he was studying ticks. “I developed a fascination for blood-feeding organisms that transmit human diseases,” he said.

In 1979, Raikhel immigrated to the United States and began a postdoctoral research position with Arden O. Lea, who studied mosquitoes at the University of Georgia. It inspired him to study mosquitoes as well, a move that drove him to look at biological dynamics throughout his career.

In March 2000, Raikhel joined UCR’s Department of Entomology, later starting the university’s Center for Disease - Vector Research in 2005.

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How did you end up studying mosquitoes?

I was always interested in studying organisms which are harmful for us, such as mosquitoes and ticks, which transmit diseases such as Lyme disease.Mosquitoes are, of course, important vectors of many human diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever.

Were you always interested in insects, even as a child?

Yes, I was interested in insects. I collected insects. I had a really good collection. My father was in the military as a surgeon. So we lived in the FarEast, close to the Mongolia region. I collected a lot of insects, some of which later turned out to be very valuable. It went to a collection at St. Petersburg University. So I was very keen on this. I read biological books. Charles Darwin was one of my favorites.

Tell us about the challenges you encountered when you were going to school.

My family is Jewish. And in the Soviet Union, there was a lot of discrimination. My father was sent to places in Siberia to serve in the military, like the gulag. I was a very good student, but there was always something in the way. [I had to get a] triple A to get an A. There were unofficial quotas for university admission for Jews. I worked in a zoo, in a lab, took evening classes — until I was accepted to the university.

Of course, immigration to the United States was another test of my abilities to make a career in this country. Coming from the Soviet Union that was completely sealed (with most researchers having no contact with the West), I had little knowledge of what it takes to be successful here.

How did these experiences influence your path of study and how you approach your research now?

One important feature of being successful is determination. When you experience discrimination and adaptation to a strikingly different society, you are more determined to succeed.

When you finally decided to immigrate to America, what was the difference in your life and your career?

First of all, I have never faced discrimination again. What I deserved, I got. That’s the wonderful thing about this country. I’ve seen over the years the flourishing of many immigrants, and that’s really remarkable.

How did you end up at UCR?

I was a professor at Michigan State for 15 years. At that point, I reached a certain level of recognition in my career that the UCR entomology department wanted to attract me as a faculty member. So they did. They invited me [to come to UCR] in the beginning of March, when the Michigan weather was really dreadful. Of course, besides the remarkable weather, what was extremely appealing to me was that the UCR entomology department is really one of the best in the world.

You hold the Mir S. Mulla endowment. How has your endowment helped your research?

Mir S. Mulla is a distinguished UCR entomologist, well-known for his research on mosquitoes. He is the longest-serving professor at UCR, and remarkably he is still working. Being an endowed chair in his name is a true honor. It helps in many ways; it attracts more visibility to my research program and provides funds in addition to the National Institutes of Health funds that I have.


An endowed chair is one of the most important gifts to higher education; it’s an honor that fosters academic excellence and recognizes superior faculty. Established with sizeable donor gifts to an academic area, the endowed chair provides invaluable financial support above and beyond the salary that the professor uses in research, teaching or service activities.

Photo by Lonnie Duka

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From Mind to Market

Illustration By Loris Lora

By Koren Wetmore


When Professor Frank Vahid created textbooks for online use, he didn’t just transfer text into pixels. He created a new way of learning.

So when a fortuitous combination of technology — HTML5, cloud services and the proliferation of tablets and low-cost laptops — emerged, Vahid seized the opportunity to revolutionize the textbook. He created a prototype and successfully test- drove it during a UCR introductory programming course. Dubbed a “zyBook,” it became the central product for Zyante Inc., a company Vahid co-founded in 2012 with software developer Smita Bakshi, a former UC Davis engineering professor. The company received three grants totaling about $1 million from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovative Research program.

ZyBooks use less text and rely on learning questions, animation and interactive exercises to convey information. They contain the same core concepts as a traditional textbook, but present them in a more engaging way. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say an animation is worth 5,000,” says Vahid. “So we don’t have to write as much because we can replace a whole page of text with animation or with learning questions.”

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1—Using zyBooks boosts scores, student engagement and the success rate of the lowest-performing learners.

A two-year study of nearly 2,000 students at three universities found that those using zyBooks achieved an average quarter-grade higher in their course-work than those using static content. A con- trolled study of 136 students revealed that they chose to spend twice as much time engaging with the interactive zyBook material compared with reading static electronic textbooks, and that the initially least-prepared students had dramatically improved learning outcomes.

2—Students like the books’ low cost (around $50), interactive style, and use of learning questions.

By rewriting text into questions that introduce new concepts, Zyante’s book developers not only hold students’ interest but also guide them to learn through mistakes. “I can ask a question that I intend for them to get wrong such as ‘Does sound travel faster or slower on the moon?’ Students might think ‘Gravity is less on the moon so you jump up and then come down slower so maybe sound travels slower,’ and they click ‘slower.’ When they get it wrong and see the explanation — the correct answer is ‘not applicable’ because sound doesn’t move on the moon because there’s no atmosphere — they say, ‘Oh, I see,’ and there is a learning moment.”

3—Teachers also like zyBooks because they provide insight and automate time-consuming tasks such as assigning and grading homework.

All learning materials, practice exercises and assessments are integrated into one Web system. An online dashboard lets instructors monitor student activity (so if a teacher asks students to read before class, now they finally do). The teacher can see which concepts students have mastered and where they might need help. “We’re trying to complement teachers’ efforts so they can focus classroom time on more challenging concepts, student collaboration and other things that make really good use of their time.”

4—Used by 40,000 students in 200 colleges and universities, zyBooks cover 12 subjects and in the future will include up to 90 subjects and tools such as virtual labs.

“We want to provide more services so universities can outsource what makes sense to outsource and focus on what they can do locally to add educational value.”

5—Sprung from UCR, Zyante now employs a half-dozen UCR graduates.

UCR provided the company’s first office space in downtown Riverside, and the first zyBook, on C++ programming, was test driven in a UCR Introduction to Programming course in Fall 2012. “Basically, right now we largely are a UCR shop. Our development team is all UCR grads and our engineering director, Scott Sirowy, is a UCR Ph.D. whom we attracted from a key position at a multibillion-dollar company.”

Sample a zyBook today. Visit and register to read the first chapter of any zyBook for free.

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It’s Never Too Late

Voiceover artist Bill Ratner on why he went back to school to get his creative writing MFA at UCR Palm Desert at 68 years old

Photo by John Gilhooley

By Bill Ratner

When I arrived at my first UC Riverside/Palm Desert Creative Writing MFA residency, I got a massage—a really nice, 90-minute deep tissue massage followed by a soak in the huge Rancho Las Palmas Resort hot tub. A massage at grad school? It wasn’t part of the syllabus, but this is California.

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In 2013, I applied to UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing program partly because I work full time. I am a voiceover artist who narrates movie trailers, TV commercials, documentaries, and cartoons. (I was the voice of “Flint” — the G.I. Joe action figure in fatigues, a black beret, with re- ally big pecs.) Plus I had a writing project that needed serious help, and I didn’t feel like giving up my career and moving to Irvine or Iowa to study writing.

I am 68 years old. Why choose grad school at the dawn of my golden years? I started writing and publishing short stories and essays in my 40s and I am an avid reader. But when I became a parent, my writing took a back seat to childrearing and work. Then, as luck would have it, I was approached by a young publisher who asked if I would consider writing a book about a media awareness program I created for the Los Angeles Public Schools. We emailed back and forth, and I finally glued my pants to the chair and wrote a couple of chapters. I faced the task of putting 75,000 words end-to-end in an organized manner. I had never written anything longer than 3,000 words. I felt like a non- climber contemplating a climb up Mount Whitney.

A friend who had some success writing screenplays in Hollywood had decided to shift his talents to long- form fiction, and he enrolled in the UCR Palm Desert MFA. I went online and looked at the program’s faculty resumes and publishing histories. I was astounded. These writers were the real deal.

I submitted writing samples and wrote the obligatory essay on why I desired to wander in the desert on a literary quest. I got permission to use my book project as my main creative focus, and in late summer of 2013, Program Director Tod Goldberg called to congratulate me on my acceptance into grad school. I was thrilled.

That September, I drove out to the UCR/Palm Desert campus for orientation where Goldberg and his chief administrator Agam Patel served us really good chocolate chip cookies, halfway decent coffee, and conducted an informative afternoon discussion about grad school and the writing life. Goldberg immediately struck me as an unusual hybrid -- a college administrator and a widely published crime fiction writer. (He also could have been a stand-up comic, but I think he made the wiser choice.) Goldberg’s graduate writing program at UCR Palm Desert truly professionalizes writing. Let’s face it, unless all you wish to do is self-publish your memoir and send paperback copies to your friends, there is a business to the business of writing. He has assembled a faculty of working novelists, poets, playwrights, memoirists, screenwriters and literary nonfiction writers, all who publish widely.

Our 10-day, semiannual MFA writing residencies take place in June and December at Rancho Las Palmas Resort — no ivy-covered halls, but lots of palm trees and sunshine. Alongside core faculty members comes a veritable parade of guest lecturers — publishers, literary agents, editors, book publicists, professional bloggers, newspaper columnists, and pro writers — who present seminars, panels and talk- backs, and are available to students for private one-on-one consultations. It is truly an embarrassment of literary luxury.

By the time I started my first quarter in September 2013, I had written about 25 percent of the book I hoped to publish. As the fall quarter rolled on I submitted portions of my manuscript to my professors online and got terrific help and advice.

A year later I submitted the final draft of my book to the publisher. Soon a dozen copies of my new book arrived on my doorstep. I ran my fingers across its silken cover and felt very proud. But I am well aware that my effort was hardly a solo one.

Without the talents of Goldberg, Patel, and help from faculty members such as L.A. Times book critic and writer David Ulin, memoirist Emily Rapp, playwrights Charles Evered and Kate Anger, poet and novelist Jill Essbaum, literary nonfiction writer Deanne Stillman and fiction writer and editor Gina Frangello, I’d still be spending days with my unpublished manuscript, inserting commas in the morning and taking them out in the afternoon.

I will graduate with an MFA in creative writing in December. But I have mixed feelings. I’ll be proud of my accomplishment, but it will be hard to say goodbye to my professors, my fellow students, and a graduate program that has provided me with some of the most productive and creative years of my life.

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Decoding Fragile X Syndrome

Iryna Ethell, Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment and autism, affecting mostly boys and causing mental retardation, attention deficit disorders, problems with visual spatial memory, developmental delays and hyperactivity. With the diagnoses of Fragile X syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders on the rise, the long-term adverse impacts on children, families, school systems and society are becoming ever more apparent. Unfortunately, effective therapies for Fragile X are few and far between.


By studying the molecular signals that control neurological changes, Ethell’s lab has discovered specific enzymes that contribute to a delay in dendritic spine development and is testing various compounds to determine their therapeutic effectiveness. In one finding, the application of the drug minocycline — a common treatment for acne — showed promising results in clinical studies, including improvement in expressive language and social communication skills.

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A Window Into the Brain Without Surgery

Guillermo Aguilar, professor, mechanical engineering, Bourns College of Engineering

Laser-based treatments have shown significant promise for many debilitating and — in some cases &mash; life-threatening brain disorders. However, realization of this promise has been constrained by the need to perform one or more expensive and invasive craniotomies to access the brain, since most medical lasers are unable to penetrate the skull. Physicians are seeking new, clinically viable means for optically accessing the brain, on-demand, over large areas, and on a recurring basis without the need to perform repeated surgeries.


UCR materials engineer Guillermo Aguilar and an interdisciplinary team of researchers have developed a novel, transparent cranial implant that literally provides a “window into the brain,” which they hope will eventually open new treatment options for patients with life-threatening neurological disorders such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury. The team’s implant is made of the same ceramic material currently used in hip implants and dental crowns, yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). However, the key difference is that their material has been processed in a unique way to make it transparent.

Check out related videos online to learn more about UCR’s exciting research. PROMISE.UCR.EDU

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It’s a Numbers Game

Spout off some sports stats with Highlander pride; here are some notable athletes in the UCR Athletics Hall of Fame!

On March 21, four former athletes and one team were inducted to the UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame. They are Otis Allmon (men’s tennis, 1986-88), Sheri Benson-Rawlins (women’s volleyball, 1984, ’86, ’88-89), Maurice Pullum (men’s basketball, 1987-89), John Wallace (freshman basketball, 1955-56; football, 1956-59) and the 1977 National Championship Baseball Team. The Highlanders also honored the career of longtime athletic trainer Vic DeLeeuw (1970-2002).

4 — The number of varsity letters that John Wallace earned in football from 1956-59. He was the first UCR athlete to earn four letters in the same sport.

5 —The ranking earned by the UCR men’s tennis team in the final NCAA Division II national poll in 1988. Otis Allmon also earned All-America honors in doubles that year, and his team earned the program’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament.

33 —The number of points that Maurice Pullum scored in men’s basketball at the Highlanders’ Christmas Day 1988 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes were ranked fourth in the nation among Division I programs, and featured five future NBA players. UC Riverside’s 1988-89 team went on to finish third in the nation at the NCAA Division II National Championship.

12 —The number of the UCR Women’s Volleyball Team’s individual honorees in the Athletics Hall of Fame. Women’s volleyball has the most individual honorees in the Hall.

100 —The number of wins that Sheri Benson- Rawlins, two-time All-American and 1989 Division II National Player of the Year, helped the women’s volleyball team achieve in her four- year career.

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.385 — Batting average of John Lowenstein, the Highlanders’ first scholarship athlete, in the Baltimore Orioles’ 1983 World Series win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He was elected into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.

70 —The number of athletes, coaches, teams or special contributors in the Athletics Hall of Fame.

7 — The number of additional inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. These seven inductees make up UCR’s Mount Rushmore of coaches and administrators. They are Ray Dalke (karate), Don Edwards (baseball), Sue Gozansky (volleyball), Frank Lindeburg (basketball, football, golf, director of athletics), John Masi (men’s basketball, director of athletics), Chris Rinne (track & field, cross country, director of athletics), and Jack Smitheran (baseball).

1986 — The year of the inaugural UCR Athletics Hall of Fame celebration. Nine former Highlanders made up this first class of inductees. They are Don Barfield (track & field), Keith Casenhiser (swimming, water polo), Jack Clarke Jr. (karate), Amy Harrison (softball, volleyball, basketball, tennis, track & field), Butch Johnson (football, track & field), Pete Kettela (baseball, football, basketball), Howard Lee (men’s basketball), Eric Show (baseball) and Mavis Washington (women’s basketball, women’s volleyball).

1 — The first Highlanders athletics program to win a national championship is UCR’s 1977 baseball team, going 43-19. In the title game, the Highlanders defeated Eckerd College, 4-1.

45 — Yards covered in Butch Johnson’s touchdown reception from Roger Staubach in the Dallas Cowboys’ 27-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII (1977). Johnson was elected into the UCR Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

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Page Turners

Desert Art, Citizen Protests and More Page Turners

These books are available for purchase at the UCR Campus Store and online at They have been discounted up to 30 percent.

Aridtopia: Essays on Art and Culture from Deserts in the Southwest United States

By Tyler Stallings

Blue West Books November 2013, 276 pages

“Aridtopia: Essays on Art and Culture from Deserts in the Southwest United States” is a literary mirage that fuses present day reality and a future imaginary that repositions our view of the world from that of the desert. “Aridtopia” explores utopian communities, water rights, the L.A. Aqueduct and even the desert as a stand-in for the terrain of would-be astronauts to Mars.

Stallings is director of UCR ARTSBlock. Read about him on page 40.

Hausfrau: A Novel

By Jill Essbaum

Random House March 2015, 336 pages

Anna Benz, an American in her late 30s, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno — a banker — and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zurich. Though she leads a comfortable life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis and a series of sexual affairs that she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.

Essbaum is a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at UCR.

Government Budgeting: A Practical Guidebook

By George Guess, Ph.D. ’78

John Hopkins University Press June 2014, 216 pages

Directed at state and local financial managers, this book presents a sampling of the major tools used to deal with current fiscal problems. George Guess provides examples from a number of states and localities and explains how to use them in diverse situations. At the end of each chapter, cases, exercises and/or questions are provided for further study. The chapters cover the major topics needed by today’s practitioners: core concepts and definitions of budgeting and financial management; how to analyze the revenue budget and evaluate revenue sources; how one might plan expenditures and prepare an annual request; how capital projects should (and should not) be planned, analyzed, compared, placed into a capital improvements program, and financed; and the critical topic of budget implementation.

Guess teaches public affairs at George Mason University.

Mobilizing Democracy: Globalization and Citizen Protest

By Paul Almeida, Ph.D. ’01

University of North Texas Press March 2014, 384 pages

“Mobilizing Democracy” examines the dramatic upsurge in citizen mobilization over the privatization of the basic social and economic infrastructure in Central America. From Guatemala to Panama, citizens have organized massive campaigns to protect themselves from the outsourcing of basic consumer necessities of health care, water and sewer services, and other utilities such as electricity and telecommunications.

The study provides a template for how community-level groups successfully mobilize to maintain access of basic public goods and health care that became available through the expansion of the welfare state in the 20th century and that are increasingly under threat in the 21st century with the contraction of state commitments to social citizenship.

Almeida is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced.

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Alumni Connection

Welcome to New Graduates, the Highlander Way!

Join fellow UCR alumni in your area for a fun evening of casual conversation and refreshments, and welcome the new Class of 2015! These free receptions are open to all alumni. They are excellent opportunities to start or expand your personal and professional networks. For more information and to register visit

Korean Alumni June 20

Graduate Alumni June 23

Los Angeles June 25

Inland Empire July 15

Orange County July 22

San Francisco Bay Area July 28

Watch ‘Spamalot’ at the Annual L.A. Chapter Hollywood Bowl Event

August 1

The L.A. Chapter invites alumni and friends to its annual Hollywood Bowl outing on Aug. 1, featuring “Spamalot.” This hilarious adaptation of the 1975 classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter amid a bevy of beautiful showgirls, not to mention cows and killer rabbits ... and French people ... and monks. Oh ... and Knights Who Say “Ni.” Thirty-five years after the Pythons first conquered the Bowl, this sublimely silly and delightful show — the 2005 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical — will remind you to “always look on the bright side of life.”

Eight Annual Alumni at the Races in Del Mar

August 2

Join alumni and friends on Aug. 2 in a private Skyroom where you can watch and wager on exciting thoroughbred racing. Leonard Duncan, trainer and handicapping expert, returns to share his wagering tips and inside knowledge of the horses! Space is limited and this event will sell out. Order tickets online at

Homecoming is on Nov. 13 to 14

Save the date and plan to return for all the fun and festivities. Activities will include campus showcase events, faculty presentations, Highlander Scot Fest, reunions, tours, the Homecoming basketball game and much more!

Pioneer Classes Reunion 1955-1962

Alumni, faculty and friends are invited to a special reunion for the first graduates of UCR. Reunite with old friends and see how the campus has changed grown. There will be a reunion dinner on Friday, Nov. 13, and Saturday, Nov. 14, activities.

ASPB 30th Anniversary Alumni Reunion

All former students who served on the Associated Students Programming Board (ASPB) are invited to a special reunion to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ASPB at UCR. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet old friends and see and experience the legacy you created at UCR! Activities will include the Homecoming Bonfire on Nov. 13 and special gathering of alumni on Saturday, Nov. 14.

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’68 William (Bill) Carey was elected to his first term as Missoula County commissioner in November 1998 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2010. Bill was the director of the Missoula Food Bank for more than 10 years. During that period, he also served two terms in Montana’s House of Representatives.

’69 Frederick (Fred) Essig earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in1975. He is now professor emeritus of botany at the University of South Florida, where he just published “Plant Life: A Brief History.”


’74 Lee McDougal served for five months as Riverside’s interim city manager. Lee took over from Scott Barber, who retired on Dec. 30, 2014, and served until City Manager John Russo started in May. Lee served as the city manager of Montclair for 18 years before retiring in 2010; he spent 34 years in Montclair.


’82, M.A. Edward Mooney was named California’s Teacher of the Year in 2010 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Aside from teaching, Edward is also an author. His novel, “The Pearls of the stone Man,” Was recently acquired by Running Beagle LLC for worldwide motion picture and television rights.

’82 Reba Linker, author of the Amazon bestseller “Follow the Yarn,” released her latest inspirational book for women, “The Little Book of Manifesting Big!” Reba’s other books include “IMAGINE,” “Self-Love” and the children’s book “The Compost Heroes: A (Mostly) True Fable for Modern Times.” With professional experience in arts management and dance instruction, Reba opened Empire Dance, a studio in New York City.

’88 Josefina E. Canchola has been elected to the California Democratic Central Committee representing Senate District 32 and Assembly District 57.


’94 M.S.; ’96 Ph.D.; ’02 Arshad M. Khan is an assistant professor at the University of Texas in El Paso. As part of his scientific duties, Arshad is strongly committed to classroom and laboratory instruction in the life sciences (biology, biochemistry and neuroscience) at the university level.

’94 Todd Stichler has been named director of middle market lending at National Funding, one of the country’s largest private lenders of small business loans. Todd is also on the board of Sharp Healthcare Foundation and on the parent

Names printed in blue indicate members of the UCR Alumni Association. To update your membership, visit


Save the Date



Check out photos and videos from last year’s event at:

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advisory board of the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns.

’96 Amir Zaki was a guest on “The Partially Examined Life,” a philosophy podcast and blog. Amir, an associate professor of art at UCR, participated in a discussion about Edmund Burke’s notion of the sublime and how it relates to people’s tastes and preferences in art and everyday life.

’98 Alejandro (Alex) Vallejo, director and lead counsel at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., was one of 10 attorneys to receive the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) award for “Top Lawyers Under 40.” The award recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of HNBA members who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and demonstrated integrity, leadership and commitment to the Hispanic community. Vallejo also serves on the board of trustees for the Mexican Museum of San Francisco, and was recently elected to serve as vice chairman of the board.


’00 M.A.; ’03 Ph.D. Daniel J. Henderson has published his first book, “Applied Nonparametric Econometrics,” with Cambridge University Press. Daniel is an associate professor of economics and the J. Weldon and Delores Cole Faculty Fellow at the University of Alabama.

’01 T.C.; ’02 M.A.; ’03 Jeannette L. Mabee-Norman and Jeffrey Norman announce the birth of

Take Five

Janine Joseph


Janine Joseph is an assistant professor of English at Weber State University in Utah. She is the author of “Driving Without a License” (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the 2014 Kundiman Poetry Prize. While at UCR, Joseph was poetry editor of the literary journal, “The Mosaic.” She credits UCR as the place that truly started her career as a writer and a teacher.

1—Why did you choose to attend UCR?

When I was applying to colleges, I had big dreams of trying to go to a school that was far away from Southern California. But then I learned that UC Riverside was the only UC with an actual creative writing major. I already knew that I wanted to focus on my writing. So I went to UCR — a school that was only a mile away from where I lived. I didn’t get to do very much traveling, but I did get to study what I wanted to study.

2—How has UCR helped you get to where you are today?

UCR taught me the craft of writing in multiple genres. Even though I write poetry now, my classes on creative nonfiction and fiction helped me become a better writer. My teachers also encouraged me to pursue graduate school. Without them, I probably would not have known to take that next step since I had no idea there were MFA programs. That step then led me to a Ph.D. and then down the route of teaching! UCR teachers really shot the direction of trajectory of my life.

3—What accomplishments are you proud of?

My book, “Driving Without a License,” is an enormous accomplishment.

Also, finishing college and graduate school is an accomplishment for me. I came to UCR as a transfer student. I spent my first two years at Riverside Community College because I couldn’t afford college. So I worked and applied for scholarships and wrote all kinds of letters begging organizations to give me money just so I could go to college.

4—What are some of your inspirations for our writing?

Now that I am a teacher, my students are one source of inspiration. When they talk about poems that I’ve read, it causes me to look back on things and think about subjects that I know.

Pop music, interestingly enough, also inspires me— or at least helps me stay focused as I write. There is something quite nice about the repetition, the patterning of sound in pop music. It makes for terrific background noise as I write.

5—What advice would you give current UCR students?

Invest your money and invest your time in studying something that you really want to study. Study what you love. When choosing creative writing as a major, people will say things like, “Writing won’t make money,” or, “You won’t get a job.” That never affected me and shouldn’t affect you; keep in mind that I was paying largely for my own education.

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their daughter, Emmilia Linda Norman, on Dec. 31, 2014.

’01 Sevag Demirjian attended Fordham Law School after earning his undergraduate degree in computer science. He is now a patent attorney at his own firm, Demirjian Law Offices, and was recently engaged to be married to Tanya Adjemian.

’04 Michael G. Ferrera was awarded third place in Cricket Wireless’ Community Stars: Salute to Solopreneurs contest, an award that goes to a business owner who is actively involved in the community.

’06 Justin Rivera is a nationally recognized professional magician, comedian, actor and magic consultant, who has performed on several television shows and on stage at clubs and events nationwide. Justin competed on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and was named a judges’ favorite.

’07; ’11 M.A. Edward Anthony Polanco has been awarded a Fulbright/ Garcia Robles research grant to investigate in Mexico City’s archives during the 2015-16 academic year. Data collected during this trip will be used to complete his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Arizona. Fulbright grants are prestigious awards given every year to U.S. scholars who support collaborative work between American and Mexican academic institutions and scholars in the border regions. In fall 2014, Edward married fellow Highlander Dominique Garcia, M.A. ’12.

’08 Peter Brabant is a doctoral student in the School of Biological Sciences at Illinois State University and has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This prestigious fellowship is the first time an Illinois State graduate student has received the award from the NIH.

’09 Ph.D. Allison Hansen joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Entomology as an assistant professor in 2014. Allison’s lab aims to understand how microbes influence animal ecology and evolution using insects as a model. The primary goal of her research is to make basic science discoveries that can ultimately improve human health, land management and agriculture.

’09 Kristina Tudor, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, ran the LA Marathon on March 15 in full police-dress uniform to raise funds for the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation. Kristina was raising money to assist the families of LAPD officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.

’09 Uchechi A. Egeonuigwe received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School Of Law and was admitted to the California Bar in June 2014. Uchechi currently works at Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman in Oxnard where she concentrates her practice in bankruptcy and litigation.

UCR Office of Gift Planning

Your Passion. Your Legacy.

Water is a limited resource, and yet it’s vital to all of us. It’s unconscionable to waste it.” --Reuben Muñoz and Paul Velen

Reuben and Paul are supporting water research at UCR through a bequest.

WHAT’S YOUR PASSION? From health and technology to policy, sustainability and the arts, your gift to UCR will support the area that is most meaningful to you.

To explore how you can make an impact through a legacy gift,

Call (877) 249-0181 or email


Page: 37


’10 Nathan Yeargin earned his chiropractic doctorate and master of acupuncture and oriental medicine from Southern California University of Health Sciences in 2013. He is currently a licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist practicing at his new office, True Health and Wellness in Tustin, California.

’11 Sgt. Jasleen Kaur Khaira of the California Air National Guard was part of a 12-soldier contingent at the Yudh

Abhysas 2014 exercise, which took place at Ranikhet Cantonment in India. Jasleen and her sister Balreet Kaur Khaira served on the staff for the exercise, but also acted as interpreters and cultural liaisons helping American and Indian soldiers overcome language barriers and find common ground.

’12 M.A. Dominique Garcia married fellow Highlander Edward Anthony Polanco ’07, M.A. ’11 in fall 2014.

’13 Belgica Leslie del Rio is an actor-teacher and teaching artist with Creative Action in Austin, Texas, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting youth arts education. Belgica has recently been accepted to the performance studies Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley.

’13 Violet Marie Del Toro is now working as the program coordinator of film, entertainment, sports and social media for University of California Trust (U.K.) in London. As a student, Violet studied creative writing abroad at King’s College in London.

Take Five

Bryce Mason


Bryce is the assistant vice chancellor for institutional research at UCR and owns P2P-Picks, a credit modeling service provider

1—Why did you choose to go to UCR?

I found UCR to be an excellent value. After being rejected from the Air Force Academy, UCR was the obvious choice: close to home and a UC! Additionally, I was already familiar with the campus because my father was a professor in GSOE and my mother was — and still is — a librarian.

2—What’s your favorite memory as a UCR student?

I especially enjoyed writing out proofs on the chalkboard very late into the night in Sproul Hall with my friend Dustin Culhan, occasionally roping in a passer-by math professor to get nudged in the right direction. The moment of figuring something out never gets old.

3—You work at UCR and you own P2P-Picks, a credit modeling service provider. Describe your company and your position at UCR, and how you are able to work on both at the same time.

Our office produces UCR’s official statistics, so we have incredible access to raw data for many aspects of campus life (e.g., applications, enrollments, financial, grades, instructors, payroll and on and on). Most offices know their own data very well, but it’s on us to have a broad and deep understanding so that we can help inform decisions at the highest level and contribute to the development of an integrated campus plan.

I enjoy finance as a hobby and recently found a niche where I could put my statistical skills to work. Private credit as an asset class is relatively new to individual investors, but some companies like Lending Club and Prosper are making direct lending possible. My company publishes debt ratings based on our own credit models, independently pricing risk. We have 800 individual subscribers but also manage a large portfolio of personal loans for a bank.

It’s a lot of nights and weekends to keep up, but I got some practice when I was a student at UCR and held four campus jobs: drop-in tutor at the Academic Resource Center, individual tutor, Math 3 teaching assistant and a fellow at Pam Clute’s Alpha Center.

4—How did being a Highlander lead you to where you are in your career today?

The rigor required to be a math major has paid dividends throughout my career and allowed me to take advantage of some great opportunities. I think the spirit of research and collegiality rubbed off and pushed me toward a career in higher education. UCR is a welcoming place. Go Highlanders!

5—What advice would you give to current UCR students?

Explore the disciplines, find what makes you curious intellectually, and pursue it relentlessly! Engage with the faculty to maximize your learning. Get involved in research if you can. You can learn to think critically in any discipline, but only if you put in the effort.

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We Remember

’56 Charles Henry Herbert Jr. January 2015.

’59 William Stevenson worked as a finance executive for 30 years at Boeing. He and wife Gale, married 52 years, had two sons. August 2014.

’62 George Brent Pattillo January 2015.

’64 Ronald James Oshima November 2014.

’67 Stephen Charles Davis January 2015.

’71 Julie Ann Rich January 2015.

’72 M.A. Joanne W. Cobb November 2014.

’74 Kenneth A. Mark December 2014.

’78 Ph.D. Dean A. Chambers was an electrical engineer at Autonetics and instructor at Riverside Community College. October 2014.

’78 Barnett John Wesley Grier was a physicist, businessman, teacher and author. Grier was the son of a slave, the youngest of 11 children and a leader in the local civil rights movement. A patio at Riverside City Hall bears his name. November 2014.

’84 George William Link October 2014.

’84 Mickey M. Regal was a founding member of the UCR Re-entry Scholarship Committee. December 2014.

’04 M.A. Michael Scott Drake, January 2015.

In Memoriam

Theda Shapiro

Theda Shapiro, emerita professor of French and comparative literature, passed away on March 10. She was 72. Born in Gloversville, New York, Shapiro got her Ph.D. in European social, intellectual and cultural history at Columbia University in 1974. She was the author of “Painters and Politics: The European Avant-Garde and Society, 1900-1925” (Elsevier, 1974) and of articles and papers on artists in the metropolis, Paris architecture and urban planning, the pedagogy of French civilization and issues in international education. Her two great academic passions were France and Italy.

Shapiro had been on the UCR faculty since 1969 in the departments of history, French, and eventually comparative literature and foreign languages. She retired in 2011 but continued teaching until 2013. She was a recipient of the first UCR Senate Distinguished Service Award in 2005, and the French program inaugurated the Theda Shapiro Award for Excellence in French in 2014.

She worked very closely with the Education Abroad Program of the University of California (UCEAP) over a period of 20 years; she directed the Study Center in Paris and served as associate dean on the UCEAP staff. Shapiro also spearheaded the creation of the popular History of World Literature by Women class. In addition, she taught graduate courses for the UCR Palm Desert MFA program. She gave countless independent studies to under- graduates who wanted to pursue independent work and graduate students who wanted to pursue a line of inquiry not addressed in the course offerings. She was a cooperating member of the dance department, and participated in many Ph.D. examination and dissertation committees.

Henry W. Decker

Henry “Harry” W. Decker, emeritus professor of French and long-term faculty of the Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, passed away at age 92. He was a veteran of World War II and came to UCR as one of its first professors in the 1950s. He was a longtime chair of the French Department.

As a scholar and pedagogue, his field was French linguistics. His major work was “Pure Poetry, 1925-1930: Theory and Debates in France” (1962). As a cooperating faculty with the anthropology department, he helped not only graduate students in French but also those working on aspects of linguistic anthropology.

After retirement in 1991, he had long served as a faculty under- graduate advisor in the CHASS Dean’s Office. In the last few years, he had undertaken writing his wartime memoirs.

In recent months, he told a friend with great wonder, “I’ve never been old before so everything is new.” These are words to live by, and his kind and generous manner as a scholar, teacher and friend is a model for all.

Lewis Weathers

Lewis Weathers, plant pathology professor emeritus and one of UCR’s early faculty members, died March 6 due to prostate cancer.

He joined the University of California Citrus Experiment Station in 1953 as a junior plant pathologist. In 1967, he became a full professor of plant pathology and department chairman from 1972-76 on a basis of his outstanding record in research and teaching. As a scientist, he pursued research into the ecology of viruses and worked with associates in the discovery of various, a new kind of pathogen. He received a great deal of academic recognition in the field of virology and was rewarded with scholarships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Fulbright and NASA Foundations that allowed him to travel to virus research centers throughout the world.

In addition to UCR department chairman, he was associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for research in CNAS from 1976 to 1986. After he retired in 1988, he consulted for the United States government on agricultural matters; he was also an advisor to Thailand’s National Research Council.

Weathers, a native of Utah, lived in Riverside since 1953. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany at Utah State University and earned his doctorate in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Pauline Weathers. He is survived by his daughters, Laraine Hair and Paula Preston; his sons Glen and Joel Weathers; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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UCR Med Students Get Ready for Boards

In the series “the First 50,” we follow members of the inaugural class of the UCR School of Medicine through the challenges they face.

By Bethanie Le

Second year at the UCR School of Medicine is a whirlwind — from classes to the national Step 1 exam (or “Boards”) and clinical rotations shortly afterward.

With so much to do and only 24 hours in a day, student Diana Tran says her biggest challenge is figuring out how to juggle academics, studying for Boards, seeing patients at the Kaiser Permanente Corona clinic and making time to visit her family in Santa Ana.

Luckily, her first year prepped her for the overwhelming challenges. “This year is more about the diseases and the pathology, so you can use what you learned in your first year to really apply that to the clinical setting.”

And then there’s the daunting Step 1 exam, the first of three national exams that med students need to pass to practice medicine. “It’s really trying to balance studying for classes and putting time aside a few hours a night on the weekend to study for Boards,” Tran said.

But looking forward to next year, when she will be working at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana and Riverside for her clinical rotations, gets Tran excited. “You round with the team in the mornings, get assigned patients to follow up on, and then present the information and your plan for treatment to your attending physician,” Tran says.

She will be working in various specialties such as OB/GYN, family medicine and pediatrics and finishing off the year with surgery and internal medicine.

“Through the Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience program, I see patients of my own, where I get to practice taking thorough histories and giving physical exams. I am excited to apply what I’ve learned to clerkships next year!”

Ultimately, every year is a building block to accomplish the ultimate goal of becoming a physician.

“In medical school, you just get stronger with each year because it does not get any easier,” Tran says. “There’s more to do, you know your strengths and weaknesses. And you’re more confident because you have a stronger knowledge base, too.”

Remembering Robert V. Hine

Hine, who died at 93, was a founding UCR faculty member who wrote of losing, then regaining his sight

American West historian Robert Hine, one of UC Riverside’s founding professors who became known outside academic circles for his moving autobiography about regaining his vision after 15 years of blindness, died in his Irvine home on March 27 at the age of 93.

“Bob was such a fine, gentle person, dearly loved by his students and his wife, a man of kindness and what the ancient Greeks called ‘large-souled,’” wrote David Glidden, UCR professor emeritus of philosophy.

Hine was born in Los Angeles on April 21, 1921. He attended UCLA, graduated from Pomona College and received his doctorate from Yale.

The professor authored multiple articles and a dozen books, primarily on the American West and the utopian communities of California, from the earliest settlers to the communes of the 1960s and 1970s.

His greatest acclaim, however, came in 1993 when he wrote his memoir, “Second Sight,” which chronicled how he lost and regained his vision. Childhood bouts with rheumatoid arthritis damaged and progressively worsened his vision until he was totally blind by about 1971. In 1986 a dangerous and miraculous surgery restored his vision in one eye.

After he regained this partial eyesight, Hine was able to read again, and wrote other books, including “Broken Glass: A Family’s Journey through Mental Illness” in 2006 as well as two historical novels, “Dynamite” and “Dreams and I Have Seen the Fire,” both in 2008.

His professional honors included a National Endowment Senior Fellowship, the national Harbison Award for Distinguished Teaching, the California Historical Society’s Henry Wagner Memorial Award, the Communal Studies Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award and the Western History Association’s Award of Merit and honorary Lifetime Membership.

While blind, Hine taught and used many teaching innovations that he described in “Second Sight.” He taught himself Braille, learned to play the piano and found salvation in an early computer that read his writing back to him so he could do his own editing. He loved order and organization; in “Second Sight,” he wrote, “If I could conquer blindness by organization, I would do it step by step. The process itself was victory. Of course, given the choice, I would prefer my organization with sight. ... But blind is one way to live, and creative or not I would live.”

In addition to his daughter, Allison Hine-Estes of Santa Cruz, Hine is survived by his grandson, Skye Estes; his brother, Richard B. Hine; and his sister, Katherine H. Shaha.

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Tyler Stallings

The Artistic Director

I want to demonstrate to the public how artists raise questions in society, but in a way different than how a politician or sociologist would.”

By Vanessa Hua

Illustration by Mike Tofanelli

Tyler Stallings dreams of other worlds.

As a teenager, he made sci-fi flicks on his Super 8 camera inspired by the epic “Star Wars.”

At UCR’s ARTSblock, a cultural complex in downtown Riverside, he has curated shows that examine the connections between art, engineering and technology. This includes citizen space exploration and an upcoming show on Latin American science fiction.

“In science fiction, you’re world-building: the economics, the demographics, the geography. It gives you an opportunity to question the present by imagining the future,” said Stallings, 49, artistic director for the Culver Center of the Arts and director of the Sweeney Art Gallery. Those institutions, along with the California Museum of Photography, form ARTSblock.

Born in 1965 in New Orleans, Stallings credits comic books as his first exposure to art. In college, he studied philosophy and studio art and began writing art criticism. In 1990, he moved to California, where he earned his MFA at the California Institute of Arts, and began working for the city’s cultural affairs department and organizing exhibitions.

Though trained as a visual artist, Stallings said that as a curator he now had a platform to explore ideas outside of his own work. He said he valued the affiliation with an institution, which provided resources and a platform.

After stints at the Huntington Beach Art Center and Laguna Art Museum, he arrived at UCR in 2007. He wanted to curate at a university, with its atmosphere of scholarship and education. And he was drawn to the diversity of UCR and the surrounding region. “It’s so great to be around students. There’s a vitality. They’re seeing the world in a new way, and I have that same experience vicariously. It keeps you inspired.”

Among public universities, state and community colleges in California, UCR is one of a handful that has a museum off-campus. ARTSblock serves as a bridge between UCR and the community, drawing 28,000 visitors each year, Stallings said. “When people come here, they’re blown away by the space. It speaks so much for the university and what’s going on here.”

The exhibits often reflect the intersection of art and technology, deepening perspectives. The arts and humanities dwell in ambiguities, multiple meanings, into consequences, going beyond the data of science and engineering. He’s collaborating on an upcoming exhibit (fall 2017) — “Critical Utopias: The Art of Futurismo Latino” — with Robb Hernandez, Sherryl Vint and Rob Latham, UCR professors of English; and Joanna Szupinska-Myers, curator of exhibitions at the UCR California Museum of Photography, along with UCR Library’s Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Science fiction has pushed him to be speculative, he said. “It’s the ‘What if we did this?’, ‘What if we did that?’ I want to demonstrate to the public how artists raise questions in society, but in a way different than how a politician or sociologist would. You’re making something new, and that’s literal magic.”

Page: 41


Our Promise: Real World Solutions

By applying fluid mechanics to predict how wildfires move and behave, UCR mechanical engineer Marko Princevac equips fire service and forest safety professionals with new techniques to protect lives and property.

Explore more policy impacts:

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