Undergraduates Present Summer Research Results at Symposium

Ten-week summer research program at UC Riverside, now in sixth year, focuses on student success and retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Richard Cardullo (right), the faculty director of the Summer RISE Program, is seen here addressing the participants of this year’s program.Photo credit: Don Davidson, UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The opportunity to participate in research-intensive programs, such as the Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) Summer Program, is what drew Jaime Coronado, a transfer student from Antelope Valley College, to the University of California, Riverside.

For ten weeks this summer, Coronado and several other UC Riverside undergraduates got to work on a variety of research projects, ranging from the evolution of cowpeas to the impact of drought on ecosystems to boosting soybean yield in polluted countries.

The students, each of whom was mentored by a UC Riverside faculty member, were participating in the 2015 Summer RISE Program. The program, now in its sixth year, culminated last week on campus in a daylong symposium that featured oral and poster presentations by the students. (Slide show below.)

Coronado’s project focused on the deer mouse, specifically how it survives at high altitudes of around 14,500 feet. He worked on it with Kimberly Hammond, a professor of biology.

“The deer mouse has little oxygen available and little food to eat at this altitude,” said Coronado, who will be a junior this year. “To compensate, the air sacs in its lungs increase in volume. The increased air in the sacs needs to be transported into the blood. We think the number of blood vessels around the sacs is increased in these mice.”

Richard Cardullo, a professor of biology and the faculty director of the Summer RISE Program, is committed to having more undergraduate students get the type of research experience RISE offers.

“Most of the students in RISE are early-career students – freshmen or sophomores – or they are transfer students,” he said. “RISE offers them an extended and excellent opportunity to see what research is about and to get to know what research opportunities are available to them on our campus.”

Forty-nine undergraduate students and two high-school students participated in the 2015 Summer RISE Program of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). Established in 2010, the program aims at developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students from varying educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds through summer research opportunities. RISE collaborates with the Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program and coordinates with the STEM Pathway Program, the Learning Communities CNAS Scholars Program and the Dynamic Genome Program at UCR.

“The goal of RISE is to increase the number of outstanding students from diverse backgrounds who get acquainted with research,” said Nhi Tran, the coordinator of the STEM Pathway Program. “It also aims to increase the population of students who pursue master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.”

The Dynamic Genome Program is funded by the US Department of Agriculture Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Institutional Grant.

Slide show:

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
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Additional Contacts

Richard Cardullo
Tel: (951) 827-6457
E-mail: richard.cardullo@ucr.edu

Nhi Tran
Tel: (951) 827-1764
E-mail: nhi.tran@ucr.edu

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