Merrill College sponsors a Merrill Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program for Merrill juniors and seniors. Students are paired with a Merrill Fellow to work up to eight hours a week as paid research apprentices on the faculty member's research.

The purpose of the program is to inspire and prepare Merrill students to pursue graduate studies upon graduation from UCSC. It is designed to provide research experience and personal and professional development for Merrill juniors and seniors. Merrill Fellows nominate a student whose work they are familiar with and whose interests are similar to their own area of research and expertise. As part of their mentorship, students will be employed as Research Assistants up to a maximum of $1040 for the school year. Tasks can include writing summaries of readings, library research, photocopying, organizing materials, creating annotated bibliographies, and assisting with the organization of conferences and workshops. Faculty participants provide students with academic and professional guidance, advice about the process of applying to graduate schools, and serve as their mentors.

Check out the Merrill Fellows who can sponsor students.


Click here for Official Application
  to the program, to be filled out by your Merrill faculty fellow sponsor.


Questions about the program should be addressed to Merrill College at merrilladvising@ucsc.edu.

2019-2020 Participants: 

Karen Stout: mfmassoud-kstout-merrill-2019.jpg
Karen Stout is a second-year Legal Studies major originally from Culver City, California. Karen is a resident assistant at Merrill College. Her interests are in international law's impacts on sovereignty, and colonial and postcolonial legacies of law. Karen is a former student of Professor Massoud's International Law course, and she plans to study overseas in the Hague in 2020. She hopes to attend law school after her graduation from UCSC.

Merrill Fellow Mark Massoud:
Mark Fathi Massoud is Director of the Legal Studies Program and Associate Professor of Politics and Legal Studies at UC Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the politics of law and religion, particularly in settings dealing with legacies of political violence. He has received Guggenheim and Carnegie fellowships and, in 2021, he will deliver the Oxford University Evans-Pritchard Lectures.

Project Description:
The goal of this project is to improve data visualization techniques used in hurricane forecasting. The current state of the art is a cone of uncertainty diagram. This cone of uncertainty leaves room for misinterpretation and confusion. We will conduct research around current models in an effort to improve them or create something new to avoid these issues.

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brundagenfanCarl Fan: 
Zhiheng (Carl) Fan is from Newport Coast, CA. He is a junior, graduating in June 2022 with a B.A in History with a concentration in European and Jewish Studies, and B.S in Technology and Information Management(TIM). His primary interest is Europe during the beginning of the 20th century, in particular, the Great War. His endeavors in and devotion to history, as well as to technology, cultivated him as a generalist. He has knowledge of American Sign Language, French, and programming. He has worked for a number of associations in different areas:  education, non-profit organizations, student-led organizations, and counseling teams. After graduating from UCSC, he plans to go to law school to become a public defender for disabled people, especially those who are deaf. After that, he still yearns to acquire a Ph.D. in history. 

Merrill Fellow David Brundage:
David Brundage is Professor of History. He has published widely in the areas of U.S. immigration history and the history of the Irish diaspora, and is the author, most recently, of Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998 (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Project Description:
W. E. B. Du Bois and the Irish Revolution: Anti-colonial Activism in New York and Paris, 1916-1920” will focus on the evolution of Du Bois’s attitude towards the Irish Revolution, with particular attention to his interactions with Irish independence leaders in New York and Paris and to the larger anti-colonial networks in which he took part. Carl will be doing research in a range of online primary sources (unpublished letters in Du Bois Papers, his published writings in magazines and newspapers, etc.) and preparing research memos for the project. 

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taftandlucia2Lucia Ortiz: 
Lucia, is a fourth year undergraduate student double majoring Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a first-generation college student. As a former high school youth organizer from East Los Angeles, Lucia is passionate about youth organizing and the ways in which youth leaders have mobilized in her community back home. As a peer advisor on campus she strives to help other students like herself in their undergraduate career by providing resources that are essential to their success. After UCSC, Lucia hopes to further her education with graduate school in order to continue helping and supporting her community and youth through community organizing and higher education.

Merrill Fellow Jessica Taft: 
Taft, is an Associate Professor in Latin American and Latino Studies.  She is an interdisciplinary youth studies scholar whose work focuses on the political lives of children and youth across the Américas, with an emphasis on youth activists and youth social movements.  She is the author of two books, Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas and The Kids are In Charge: Activism and Power in Peru’s Movement of Working Children, as well as several journal articles about girls and feminism, youth citizenship, and intergenerational relationships within social movements.

Project Description:
Lucia and Professor Taft will be working together on a new research project on different programs that aim to incorporate youth into municipal governance, including youth councils and youth participatory budgeting. They’ll be transcribing, coding, and analyzing preliminary interviews with youth and staff from these programs in order to identify potential future lines of inquiry. 
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Tyler-Marie Deveau:
Tyler-Marie Deveau is currently a third year student with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as a minor in Bioinformatics. She was born and raised in the Southern California town of Redlands, though her mother was born in Venezuela and her father in Kodiak, Alaska from Sun’aq of Alutiq. Her interests include cell to cell communication, immunological development, and medical impact, as well as gene expression and its impact on the aforementioned subjects. She hopes to disseminate the knowledge of scientific research and STEM education for people across the globe, as well as affording opportunities to all people seeking an education. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Martha Zúñiga in her research lab, and for the opportunity to represent Merrill college as an affiliate.

Merrill Fellow Dr. Martha Zúñiga:
Dr. Zuniga is a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.  She is a member of the Health Sciences Advisory Committee of the MCD Department.  She also is a long-standing faculty mentor for the UCSC STEM Diversity Programs and a life-time member and former board member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).  She teaches the Health Sciences Internship course and Virology and for twenty-five years she taught the Immunology courses.  In 2014 she was awarded the Ron Ruby Award for Teaching Excellence in the Physical and Biological Sciences for her creative teaching of Immunology and for inspiring a passion for Immunology in her students.  A recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award (1990), she does research on the development and maintenance of immunological tolerance.

Project Description: 
A properly functioning immune system enables an individual to mount effective responses against pathogens and tumor cells while also not attacking self-tissues.  In normal individuals, this balance is achieved by two processes.  In the first, the developing T and B cells of the immune system undergo specialized genetic rearrangements to generate antigen receptors.  Each T or B cell expresses a unique antigen receptor; collectively all of these cells can respond to any foreign molecule that enters the body.  But the genetic rearrangements occur at random, so it is possible that some of the antigen receptors can bind to self-molecules.  These T and B cells whose antigen receptors can bind to self-molecules must be silenced or eliminated to prevent autoimmune disease.  Screening and removal of auto-reactive T and B cells begin during their development.

T cells' development occurs in a specialized organ called the thymus.  In this special home, T cells undergo a series of well-characterized developmental steps that can be identified by virtue of the fact that at each of these stages the developing cell displays on its surface an array of distinct proteins.  We can identify these various stages using a combination of three powerful tools:  Firstly, we have monoclonal antibodies that are specific for each of the molecules.  Secondly, we can tag these monoclonal antibodies with fluorescent dyes that emit light at discrete wavelengths when specific lasers shine on them and excite them.  Thirdly, we have an instrument called a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) that has the necessary lasers as well as the remarkable capability of shining the lasers on the cells one at a time.  This makes it possible to obtain quantitative data on a variety of parameters on individual cells in a heterogeneous population of cells. 

Using these tools we are examining how T cells with auto-reactive antigen receptors are dealt with during their development and maturation in the thymus.  The FACS experiments that we have done in the lab have generated an enormous amount of data that must be carefully analyzed so that we may draw conclusions from our experiments. Alicia and Steve will use a powerful software package called FlowJo to analyze the data. They will produce a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the development of T cells in different lines of mice generated in our lab.  The ultimate goal of these studies is to elucidate the stages at which auto-reactive T cells are either deleted or silenced during their development in the thymus.

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jaredsemanameganthomas.jpgJared Semana:
Jared Semana is a fourth-year Critical Race and Ethnic Studies major originally from Stockton, California. Jared is also the Vice-Chair of Anakbayan Santa Cruz, a youth and student organization that advocates for National Democracy in the Philippines. His interests are Philippine Studies, international workers' movements, and the ways in which cultural production intersect with revolutionary movements. Upon graduating this next Spring Quarter, Jared hopes to stay in the Santa Cruz community and continue to expand human rights work for the Philippines in the area

Merrill Fellow Megan Thomas:
Megan Thomas is an Associate Professor of Politics, where she has taught courses on political theory since 2003.  She does research on Philippine intellectual and social history, is co-director of UCSC’s Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions (SEACoast), and is serving as the executive secretary of the Philippine Studies Group, a committee of the Association for Asian Studies. 

Project Description:
The project has two parts.  The first combines research on Philippine history, politics and society with a curricular development project for a new course on Philippine Studies. The second aspect of the project is to work on collaboration between UCSC’s new Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions (SEACoast) and student groups, and on SEACoast’s own curricular ambitions.  We hope these projects will have a long-lasting impact on the richness of our institution’s offerings in Southeast Asian studies and for Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian heritage students.

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Audrey Herbert: 
Audrey Hebert is a third-year general Literature major from San Diego County, with an interest in fiction and how it reflects a society's culture. Her love of humor writing led her to the Fish Rap Live, UCSC's satire paper, where she is currently the co-editor in chief. Last year, she was a course assistant for the Merrill Core course. After graduation, she is interested in the field of K-12 education.

Merrill Fellow Camilo Gomez-Rivas:
Camilo Gómez-Rivas is an associate professor in the Department of Literature where he teaches courses in Arabic literature, Mediterranean and medieval studies, and Islamic law. His current research focuses on the reception of displaced populations and narratives of belonging in the western medieval Mediterranean. He is the author of Law and the Islamization of Morocco under the Almoravids: The Fatwās of Ibn Rushd al-Jadd to the Far Maghrib (Brill 2015).

Project Description:

A Critical Bibliography of MlikLaw: Toward a Social History of an Islamic School of Law

Audrey will help coordinate and actively contribute to the development of an interactive bibliography on the history of Maliki Madhhab, the dominant Islamic Legal School of North and West Africa. The idea is to put together a multi-authored annotated bibliography on the history of the development of this legal school, from its origins in the 8th and 9th centuries, beginning with its most important primary sources, reference works, editions and translations into European languages, and move to include the most important secondary studies, grouped by theme or approach.

This project will develop into a resource for scholars interested in researching the field as well as foundation for a book project on the social and cultural history of Malikism. 

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burkeandgenshaft
Andrew Genshaft:
Andrew Genshaft is a 4th year student with a major in History and Philosophy. He was born and raised in the Bay Area about an hour North of Santa Cruz. His academic interests include music history, continental philosophy, applied ethics, as well as research into the postcolonial third-world struggles and the impacts colonialism has left on the modern globe. Andrew hopes to one day be able to teach people around the world about the value that they and everyone around them holds because we are all flesh and blood humans alike. Andrew is extremely thankful for the opportunity to represent Merrill college as a researcher and to work with professor Burke in creating a history of a course like Merrill 1.

Merrill Fellow Terry Burke: 
Edmund (“Terry”) Burke III is Emeritus Professor of Modern Middle Eastern and World history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A founding member of Merrill College, he was co-designer (together with John Isbister) of Merrill 1, “Social Change in the Third World” which debuted in Fall 1970.After Burke’s retirement in Fall 2013 it took him a while to focus on early years of Merrill. But now he’s back for more, and would love you to help figure out what all the fuss was about!From 2003 until 2007 Professor Burke held a University of California Presidential Chair in World History.  Burke is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on Middle East and North African history, world history, orientalism and environmental history. His recent books include The Ethnographic State: France and Moroccan Islam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014); The Environment and World History, 1500-2000 (University of California Press, 2009); Genealogies of Orientalism: History, Theory, Politics (University of Nebraska Press, 2008). Burke is currently working on a book on the Making of the Modern Mediterranean.For more on Burke’s career see his personal website: https://edmundburke.sites.ucsc.edu/

Project Description:
In this project professor Burke and Andrew Genshaft look to create a written history of the first Merrill core course, Merrill 1 (1968-1975). Through an in depth analysis of the reading lists, the syllabi, the historical context of Merrill 1’s establishment and development, a few interviews with course developers, and a quantitative study that gauges a random selection of alumni’s feelings toward the course. In addition to research done into the history of pedagogy up to the modern era. This project wishes to present the theory that the developers of Merrill 1 pioneered many new ways to effectively educate their students about countries and people all around the world, and that the methods they pioneered can still be applicable in the modern classroom.


Previous partners in the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program:

Click here to read about the 2018-2019 participants.
Click here to read about the 2017-2018 participants.
Click here to read about the 2016-2017 participants.
Click here to read about the 2015-2016 participants.
Click here to read about the 2014-2015 participants.
Click here to read about the 2013-2014 participants.
Click here to read about the 2012-2013 participants.
Click here to read about the 2011-2012 participants.
Click here to read about the 2010-2011 participants.
Click here to read about the 2009-2010 participants.
Click here to read about the 2008-2009 participants.
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