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 70 hours throughout the winter and spring quarters 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 $1050 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.

2022 - 2023 Mentorship Participants

Project Description: Collaboraing with Professor James Davis, this team's work covers computer vision/graphics/visualization, machine learning, and virtual/augmented reality. Their current projects include rip current detection, citizen science engagement, 3D reconstruction, human computing, and autonomous vehicles. Kevin's first task will be to create a website that is easily maintained by current and future group members. He will be learning about research processes including paper writing and critique methods, research presentation, and proposal writing. Kevin will have the opportunity to "own" support of a specific project where his duties will vary but include assisting with augmentation of weather and environmental training data to create machine learning models, shorline extraction and change detection, marine mammal identification and counting, and drone usage for additonal data collection.

Mentee: Kevin Young is a third-year undergraduate student studying Computer Science at UCSC. Hailing from the Bay Area, he likes to spend his time hanging out with friends, playing video games, and bingeing shows, movies, and books. Kevin first started learning about computer science in high school, where his teacher motivated him to continue to pursue CS in college. His primary interests lie in building apps, web development, and artificial intelligence. Fascinated with not only how computer science can be used to express creativity, but also make the world a better place. Kevin is hoping to either enter graduate school to pursue a specific field within CS or enter the industry directly after graduation.

Mentor: Alex Pang is a Professor of computer Science and Engineering. His research intersts are data analysis and visualization in areas spanning from oceanography and meteoroglogy, to medical imaging and tractography, cosmology, and air traffic, to virtual and augmented reality, bioinformatics, and cartography. His research has been supported by various funding agencies such as NSF, ONR, NOAA, Darpa, DOE, LANL, and NASAA, as well as industrial partners such as Sun and HP. Professor Pang has received a certificate of recognition for previous NASA work, as well as an excellence in teaching award from UCSC. He previously served as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, and as paper co-chair for the IEEE Visualization conference.

Mentee: Jade Diones is a thrid-year Literature and Film and Digital Media double major from Sacramento, California. With film and writing being the perfect vehicles for storytelling, Jade strives to engage and amplify community voices through her work. As a strong advocate for Merrill's ethos and community building, she has served as a 2021 Core Course Assistant and 2022 Peer Navigator. Jade's deep-rooted enthusiasm for film studies would further allow her to become the Dean's Student Leadership Board undergraudate representative of the Film and Digital Media department. She is also involved in the campus organizations Bayanihan and Eye Candy as a social media manager. After graduation, Jade plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism or digital marketing.

Mentor: Jenny Horne's research interests span media citizenship, the history of institutional uses of film/video, media archaeology, film exhibition histories, areas of film preservation and archiving that shape our understanding of film culture, and all aspects of these areas which touch gender and feminist history. Professor Horne's book “Civic Cinema: Citizenship and the Better Films Movement,” attempts to reorient the current understanding of the Progressive Era mediasphere by focusing on the administrative, bureaucratic relationships fostered by the civic "uplift" frameworks, focusing on networks of civic engagement that grew out of women’s clubs and volunteer associations using the new languages of film education and new frontiers of film exhibition. Her research has been published in Useful Cinema (ed. Wasson and Acland), The Moving Image, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, The Documentary Film Reader (ed. Jonathan Kahana, 2016), and The Oxford Handbook of Silent Cinema (eds. Keil and King, forthcoming). She is on the editorial advisory boards of Camera Obscura and The Journal of e-Media Studies. She represented the Society for Cinema and Media Studies on the National Film Preservation Board from 2005-2020.


Project Description: "The focus of this project is the reinvention of the web interface for Women and Film History International (, an international organization of scholars and archivists whose principal interest is reshaping film history using intersectional approaches. WFHI and it's conference, Women and the Silent Screen, has promoted and encouraged new research on women directors, female actors, and behind-the-line women in the film industry through its sister conference, Women and the Silent Screen. This project's key component is gathering significant new research and news about film restorations for highlighting and conversation on the website. We will host conversations among researcher members and promote the new articles, DVD sets, and research-based talks that the scholar-members are doing. Jade will be providing technology support, website and social media analysis, and maintain communication support with Brock University co-horts.  

Project Description: Together with the Collaborative Research for Equity and Action (CREA) research group, Xitlaly will examine the experiences of minoritized students of color at UC Santa Cruz who utilize public transportation (e.g., buses). Specifically, she is interested in how students experience these spaces through an intersectional lens (i.e., race, gender, social class) and what this communicates to them in regard to their sense of place within the university. This project stemmed from Xitlaly's own lived experiences as a Woman of Color. As part of the project, Xitlaly will collect open-ended survey responses from minoritized students at UC Santa Cruz. She will code, analyze, and create a codebook based on these responses. This project adds to our understanding about how everyday spaces on campus, such as buses, can be sites that communicate important messages about belonging to students. 

Mentees: Xitlaly Reyes is a second-year student majoring in intensive psychology, who is expected to graduate Fall 2023. She is passionate about being involved with, and helping to improve her community. Coming from a Mexican heritage, she strives to live up to her potential, not only as a scholar but as a person.

Katherine Quinteros is a fourth-year student in the Department of Psycology at UC Santa Cruz. As part of the Collaborative Research for Equity in Action (CREA) research group, she aims to create and support social change efforts with an action-oriented research agenda. Her research interests focus on understanding how minoritized students and faculty navigate and resist dominant cultural practices within higher education institutions. Kat is Xitlaly's graduate student mentor!

Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Covarrubias is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Faculty Director of the Collaborative Research for Equity in Action (CREA) research group at UC Santa Cruz. As a social and cultural psychologist, she examines how delegitimizing and mismatching institutional structures and practices undermine educational, social, and mental health outcomes for minoritized students, and how culturally-informed approaches that draw on students' strengths can reverse these effects. Dr. C is Xitlaly’s faculty mentor!

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