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Spring 2022

UC Merced Team Wins CITRIS’s Student Aviation Competition     

The winning team (advised by management of complex systems Professor Spencer Castro and mechanical engineering Professor YangQuan Chen) submitted a proposal for a “Long endurance edge-AI platform for research opportunities and data gathering,” Project LEAP-FROG. In addition to the 115-mile-long endurance flight, they proposed to measure the amount of old plant material left on the ground at the beginning of a new growing season  (full article).


Political Science Professor Named 2022 Carnegie Fellow                                              

The Carnegie Corporation of New York announced that Department of Political Science Chair and Professor Jessica Trounstine has been named to the 2022 Class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows.

Each of the program's 28 award recipients will receive a $200,000 stipend to devote their time to research and writing in the social sciences and humanities (full article).


          Professor Elaine Denny Wins Campus Wide Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching   

The Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching for Senate Faculty is intended to encourage and recognize individual excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level. This is a very competitive field and the criteria to be nominated are extensive.  Please join us in congratulating Professor Denny for winning this prestigious award for 2021-2022!


Systemwide Climate Justice Course Debuts This Fall 

Undergraduates will have a new, one-of-a-kind class they can sign up for this fall — Climate Justice — a hybrid course that features lectures by faculty from all 10 UC campuses. Professor Tracey Osborne, UC Presidential Chair in Management of Complex Systems and founder of the UC Center for Climate Justice, has developed the new class along with the center’s Program Coordinator Sarah DuRoff and postdoctoral scholar Nicole Rangel (full article).

Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community set for Fall 2022

Professor Russ McBride will be overseeing The Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community. The Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community is intended for students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in any form of entrepreneurship. Students will have unique extra-curricular opportunities to network with entrepreneurs, visit start-up companies, hear from guest speakers and receive mentoring.


Division of Management and Information Sciences Receives Green Office "Gold" Certification

The Green Office Program at UC Merced recognizes departments, units, and offices that have integrated sustainability practices into their work space.

The program evaluates the following areas: energy and climate, waste and recycling, transportation, purchasing, outreach and events (more information Green Offices Program and Green Lab Program).


Economics Professor Andrew Johnston says the expectation is that inflation will likely get worse before it gets better, adding that expectations for a recession in the    next few years have also increased (UC Merced Newsroom).



Professor Rowena Gray contributes as WalletHub's "Ask an Expert" on the current labor market and economic impact. Read Professor Gray's responses to questions here.


Prof. Michael Spivey named Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society

Prof. Michael Spivey was named a Fellow of the Society by the Cognitive Science Society! According to the announcement, "Fellows of the Cognitive Science Society      are individuals whose research has exhibited sustained excellence and had sustained impact on the Cognitive Science community." The full list of Fellows is available  here.

Prof. Padilla Offers Guidelines for Clear Data Visualization

Prof. Lace Padilla co-authored a publication in Psychological Science in the Public Interest that outlines guidelines for creating clear data visualizations and the research that backs them up. As Jonathan Schwabish writes in a commentary, "Franconeri et al. (2021), set the stage to understand the academic underpinnings of data visualization." For more, read a summary or the full article.

Prof. Smaldino Finds Evidence for Mathematical Theory of Sneaky Signals

Much of online conversation today consists of signaling one’s political identity. When communicating in mixed groups, do people use "covert" signals that are recognizable by their own political in-group but easy for outsiders to miss? Professor Paul Smaldino answered this question in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Smaldino developed a mathematical theory of covert signaling and, working with a team of collaborators, confirmed the model's predictions using a large sample of tweets. They found that covert political signaling is more common when the perceived audience is politically diverse. This opens the door to a better understanding of communication in politically polarized societies. Read more.

Prof. Andrew Shaver Featured in The Economist 

Professor Andrew Shaver is featured in The Economist based on his ongoing research on refugee flows. The Economist has used data from that work to explore how the war in Ukraine compares with other refugee crises. "The conflict in Ukraine has created the largest flow of refugees in a single year since at  least the end of the cold war. In just five weeks more than 4m people have sought refuge elsewhere and millions more have been displaced within Ukraine. The wave of refugees is placing immense strain on neighboring countries. The population of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, has grown by almost a fifth since the start of the war." Read more.

Out West climate change is real – Prof. Crystal Kolden on possible solutions

Professor Crystal Kolden was interviewed for a four-part series for YubaNet. Professor Kolden provided her uniquely qualified comments on issues relating to fire  ecology and fire mitigation: Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4. More articles featuring Prof. Kolden: breitbart, msn, newser.



Professor Tracey Osborne discusses solutions to that address low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately affected by impacts  from climate change (UC news)



Professor LeRoy Westerling is featured in two articles providing his expertise on wildfire and warning about burning near Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.  futurism and natureworldnews.


 Prof. Abatzoglou and Colleagues Find Increased Atmospheric Thirst

The atmosphere across much of the U.S. is demanding a greater share of water than it used to, according to a new study by a team including Professor John Abatzoglou from UC Merced, the Desert Research Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The study, published in the  Journal of Hydrometeorology, looked at data from the past 40 years related to evaporative demand, a measure of the potential loss of water from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere.

More articles and publications featuring Professor Abatzoglou: nature, UCM news, CM Newsroom, PBS, Eos, PPIC, sciencedaily, UC Merced Newsroom, LAtimes, CP, theconversation, aljazeera, ibtimes, PBS, newswsu, sciencedaily, vervetimes, counterpunch, PBSnewshour, agweb, newsjournal.


Fall 2021

PhD student Desert Weeks (MIST) was awarded CSU Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program [UC Merced Newsroom]. 

PhD student, Ben Falandays (CIS) was awarded the Marr Prize [UC Merced Newsroom].

Incoming Grad Student, Tevin Williams (CIS) Awarded Inaugural Inclusive Excellence Fellowship [UC Merced Newsroom]

Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Professor Teenie Matlock (CIS) along with Professors Lace Padilla (CIS) and Spencer Castro (MCS)

honor Indigenous Peoples Day and Native American Heritage Month [UC Merced Newsroom]





Professor Paul Smaldino (CIS) featured on article regarding human evolution []




Professors Colin Holbrook and Ramesh Balsubramaniam (CIS) published paper on their research on sympathy people have for one another [UC Merced Newsroom]





Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Professor Teenie Matlock (CIS) was interviewed on Metaphorical Understanding of Breast Cancer [USA Today]




Professor Carolyn Dicey Jennings (CIS) published a new textbook, Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience and will be available January 2022.




Professor Dan Hicks (CIS) Publishes Paper on Open Science and Environmental Public Health [Taylor & Francis Online]




Professor Tyler Marghetis (CIS) was interviewed to discuss his research on regimes and ruptures across timescales [Complexity Simple Cast]




Professor Catherine Keske (MCS) wrote an article discussing cancel university culture [Merced Sun-Star].   Her publication mentioned in UC Merced Newsroom shows Central Valley ripe for biochar studies.




Professor Tracey Osborne (MCS) featured in articles discussing new UC Center for Climate Justice [Daily Bruin and UC Merced Newsroom].




Professor Roger Bales (MCS) featured in news story regarding California drought []




Professor Russ McBride (MCS) featured in article discussing business start ups in 2021.[Wallethub]. He was also interviewed by AMR Origins Series on the Structure of Social Reality [AMR]                 




Open letter from Professors LeRoy Westerling and Crystal Kolden (MCS) voicing concerns over new US Forest Service directives. [UNM Newsroom]                                                                                                                             




Professor Crystal Kolden (MCS) was featured many times in news about wildfire and climate change [People, The Verge, WAMU, KQED, WWNO, NPR, SF Gate].

Professor Crystal Kolden, is also recipient of Prestigious Biennial Grant Program which includes Funding for Ag-labor and Wildfire Research [UC Merced Newsroom] .



Professor John Abatzoglou (MCS) published article, was interviewed and featured in various media outlets discussing wildfire, drought and climate change

Aljazeera, Salon, Sierra Sun Times,, The Madison Leader Gazette, YouTube-CBS This Morning, ,Mashable,Sierra Sun Times, The Conversation, The New York Times]                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



Summer 2021

Professor Crystal Kolden (MCS)  featrued in  Washington Post, discusses California Drought and very concerning Fire Season.                                                                  



Spring 2021


Founding UC Merced Foundation Trustee Bob Gallo was recently announced as the
university’s first trustee emeritus. UC Merced News



Teenie Matlock (CIS) received the 2021 Athena Award for Academic Leadership. UC Merced News 




Master of Management graduates Ruben Lemus and Bianca Garibay
share their stories of success.  UC Merced News, Merced Sunstar 



Jeff Butler's (EBM) 2019 study on incentives for whistleblowers was
discussed in a recent WSJ story



Crystal Kolden (MCS) received a Mulitcampus Research Programs and
Initiative (MRPI) Award.  UC Merced News 



Ketki Sheth (EBM) was featured in several news stories for her recent study published
in Management Science.  UC Merced News,, Valley Public Radio 



Crystal Kolden, John Abatzoglou, Roger Bales and Tracey Osborne (MCS) were
featured many times in news about wildfire and climate change.
The Guardian, UC Merced News,, The Guardian, BBC,
Sierra Sun Times, Eco Watch, UC Merced News 



Tracey Osborne (MCS) and Teenie Matlock (CIS) were featured in
a recent UC Merced story on Female Faculty to Know.


Fall 2020

See recent wildfire news coverage featuring MCS faculty:
     John Abatzoglou on Daily Republic 
     Crystal Kolden on CapRadio, The Guardian, Bloomberg, CBC Canada
     LeRoy Westerling on ABC7, AZ Daily Sun, MIT Technology Review, Siliconeer



Colin Holbrook (CIS) was recently awarded a three-year grant by the Air Force Office of Scientific
Research titled, "Trust in Machine Agents Under Realistic Threat". This human-robot interaction
research will be conducted at UC Merced in collaboration with co-PI Alan Wagner at Penn State.



LeRoy Westerling (MCS) was named an honoree in this year's WIRED25 that celebrates 25  
innovators who are using technology to lead society through this period of global uncertainty
and pointing the way to a safer future. 



Andrew Johnston (EBM) articulated the long-term impact of the pandemic unemployment
payments on taxes and society in a recent WSJ article



Tracey Osborne's (MCS) work that focuses on complex, grand challenges in climate and social
justice was recently featured in an article on UC Merced News. 



Andrew Johnston (EBM) recently co-authored a "Policy Brief" through Stanford University on 
unemployment during the pandemic & budget shortfalls at the state & local level. 


Summer 2020

Catherine Keske (MCS) received an Engineering Research Center (ERC) grant entitled,
"NSF ERC for the Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture (IoT4Ag)". 




John Abatzoglou (MCS) was featured in a recent LA Times article, "California megadrought? 
Not if you look at precipitation". 



Lace Padilla (CIS) was one of the six faculty members interviewed how and why they teach  
data visualization by Nightingale, the Journal of the Data Visualization Society. 


Spring 2020


John Abatzoglou's (MCS) research on agricultural risks from changing snowmelt was featured in an
article on UC Merced News. 



Greg Wright (EBM) discussed COVID-19's effect on the economy in a Q&A article on UC Merced News. 




Michael Spivey (CIS) published Who You Are: The Science of Connectedness (MIT Press). 





Carolyn Dicey Jennings (CIS) published The Attending Mind (Cambridge University Press).