Inaugural Chancellor’s Research Fellowship Recipients Announced

Twelve undergraduates will share more than $58,000 in awards from Office of Undergraduate Education

UCR students

The recipients of the inaugural Chancellor’s Research Fellowships. From left to right: Robyn Roberts, Maria Lorenzo, Scott Manifold, Kyle Nelson, Trey Amador, Neil Quebbemann, Kevin Lee, Gayat Adame, My Hua, Rex Lu, and Ilona Kravtsova. Not pictured is Rachel Aguilar.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Twelve University of California, Riverside undergraduate students have been named the inaugural recipients of the Chancellor’s Research Fellowship (CRF) Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Steven Brint announced.

The fellowships are designed to enhance UC Riverside’s already robust undergraduate research and creative activity program by providing up to $5,000 to support faculty-mentored research opportunities. In total, the Office of Undergraduate Education distributed more than $58,000 in awards.

UCR Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Steven Brint

Steven Brint, vice provost of undergraduate education at UC Riverside.

“It was a rigorous competition.  We had more than 50 students apply for the fellowships and a great majority of the proposals were well done,” Brint said. “I want to thank the faculty committee who read and ranked the proposals, the faculty mentors who are working with these students, and all students who submitted proposals. Those who did not win fellowships have also gained something of value in this experience. It has connected them with research mentors, and it will take most students several steps forward in their thinking about their research.”

Recipients were required to propose a research project that described their methodological approach, consisting of a research question or hypothesis, the data collection procedures and data analysis procedures. They will be required to write a quarterly report detailing the progress of their research and will be asked to present their results at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the spring.

The recipients are:

  • Gayat Adame (Anthropology and History) – Janitzio Island: A Study on the Impact of Tourism

    Faculty Mentor: T.S. Harvey (Anthropology)
    The study will analyze the impact of tourism on the Purepecha people of Janitzio Island by examining tourist activities, government programs, the drug war, and other features of island life.

  • Rachel Aguilar (Biology) – Exploring the Role of Zumba in Facilitating Physical Activity in Latino Americans and African Americans

    Faculty Mentor: Tanya Nieri (Sociology)
    The study will examine the links between participation in Zumba, a popular dance program, and the health of racial and ethnic minorities, controlling for the prior health conditions of subjects.

  • Trey Amador (Biology) – Immunological Costs of Fatherhood in California Mice

    Faculty Mentor: Wendy Salzman (Biology)
    The study will examine the potentially negative effects of mating on male fathers by testing immune system deficiencies of California mice

  • My Hua (English and Biology) – In Silico Approach Using Health-based Interactomes to Analyze the Symptoms Reported by Electronic Cigarette Users in Online Forums

    Faculty Mentor: Prue Talbot (Cell Biology and Neuroscience)
    The study will define the health hazards associated with the use of electronic cigarettes through a contrast with non-electronic cigarettes.

  • Ilona Kravtsova (Neuroscience and Biology) – Seizure in a Slice

    Faculty Mentor: Todd Fiacco (Cell Biology and Neuroscience)
    The study will use genetically-altered mice to obtain a greater understanding of the mechanisms behind seizures.  The long-term goal is to develop better treatments for seizures.

  • Kevin Lee (Biochemistry) – Adaptation to Environmental Unpredictability in Short-Lived Annual Killifish

    Faculty Mentor: David Reznick (Biology)
    The study will analyze the adaptation of Nothobranchius furzeri fish in unstable environments.

  • Maria Lorenzo (Native American Studies) – Sherman Photo Project

    Faculty Mentor: Clifford Trafzer (History)
    The study will interpret 200 photographs in the archives of the Sherman School, which served Native American students.  The study will examine architecture, student life, the agriculture-trade curriculum, outings, health, and sports.

  • Rex Lu (Mechanical Engineering) – Using BCI and Wireless Sensors for Gait Analysis

    Faculty Mentor: Sundararajan Venkatadriagaram (Mechanical Engineering)
    The study will combine modern prosthetic technology with analysis of how the brain controls motor functions to produce more effective prosthetic equipment.

  • Scott Manifold (Mathematics) – Stability Analysis of Predator-Prey with Diffusion in Bounded Quantum Graphs

    Faculty Mentor: Kurt Anderson (Biology)
    The study will use new mathematical models to produce more effective simulations of predator-prey interactions in a random walk environment.

  • Kyle Nelson (Environmental Engineering) – Photocatalytically Active Membranes for Water Treatment

    Faculty Mentor: David Kisailus (Chemical and Environmental Engineering)
    The study will focus on comparing and optimizing several methods to treat impurities in water.

  • Neil Quebbemann (Chemistry) – Radical Migration in the Gas Phase

    Faculty Mentor: Ryan Julian (Chemistry)
    The study will identify residues that are susceptible to radical attacks in amino acid chains.

  • Robyn Roberts (Psychology and Creative Writing) – Developing Fictional Short Stories based on Qualitative Data Analysis of Emancipated Foster Youth

    Faculty Mentor: Tuppett Yates (Psychology)
    The study will seek a better understanding of the life experiences of foster youth, based on interviews with 20 young people who have been part of the foster system, as the foundation for a new work of fiction.

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