UCR CNAS Commencement 2022

CNAS Commencement

The College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences
celebrates the UCR Class of 2022!  

 

UC Riverside 68th Commencement

The University of California, Riverside celebrates the 68th Commencement — Congratulations to our graduating students! Each of you have worked incredibly hard and we couldn't be more proud to be part of your journey.  

To help make this a memorable day for graduating students, family, friends, and guests, the official UCR Commencement website has all the information you need for this special occasion.  Please visit commencement.ucr.edu.


 

2022 CNAS Commencement Program

CNAS Commencement Program

View and download the 2022 CNAS Commencement Program

 


CNAS Commencement Ceremonies

Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony
Saturday, June 4, 2022 – 9 A.M.
Location:
Student Recreation Center North, main gymnasium. 
The Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony is for all Ph.D. degree and M.F.A. degree candidates. For specific information on the 9 a.m. Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony, please visit commencement.ucr.edu/GradDiv.


 

College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences Commencement Ceremony | GROUP 1
Saturday, June 11, 2022 – 8 A.M.
Location: 
Pierce Lawn
The CNAS Commencement Ceremony (Group1) is for graduating Master's and Bachelor's degree candidates in Biology or Biochemistry. For specific information on the 8 a.m. CNAS Commencement Ceremony, please visit commencement.ucr.edu/CNAS1.


 

College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences Commencement Ceremony | GROUP 2
Saturday, June 11, 2022 – 6 P.M.
Location: 
Pierce Lawn
The CNAS Commencement Ceremony (Group 2) is for graduating Master's and Bachelor's degree candidates in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology, Chemistry, Data Science, Earth Sciences, Entomology, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Geophysics, Mathematics, Mathematics for Secondary Teachers, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Physics, Plant Biology and Statistics. For specific information on the 6 p.m. CNAS Commencement Ceremony, please visit commencement.ucr.edu/CNAS2.

 


CNAS Department Reception and Celebration Events

In addition to the CNAS Commencement Ceremonies, the below CNAS departments will host their own graduation and awards ceremonies for  students in their departments. 

Biochemistry
Saturday, June 11 | 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Boyce and Webber Courtyard
Reception for all Biochemistry students who are finishing their degree programs (Ph.D., MS, and BS). RSVP here or contact lacey.grawe@ucr.edu.

Earth & Planetary Sciences
Friday, June 10, 2022 | 5 p.m.
Location: Geology Building Courtyard

Entomology
Saturday, June 11, 2022 | 3 - 5 p.m.
Location: Entomology Courtyard
Reception for all ENTM students who are finishing their degree program (Ph.D., MS, and BS). RSVP with donghwan.choe@ucr.edu

Environmental Sciences
Thursday, June 9, 2022 | 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Invitations for this event have been sent, please check your email to RSVP.

Physics & Astronomy
Saturday, June 11, 2022

 


 

CNAS Student Participants

On June 11, the College of Natural & Agricultural Science will celebrate the commencement of our students. As part of the commencement program, graduating CNAS students will lead their classmates in the procession, sing the National Anthem, provide the commencement speech, and lead graduates during the tassel turning ceremony. Learn more about each of the graduating students that will take the stage on June 11.

Student Marshals

Kevin Alexander Menjivar
MS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Student Marshal (graduate student) for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 1

Kevin is a first generation, Latinx, LGBTQ+ student who will graduate in June 2022 with a degree in Biochemistry and an emphasis in Biology. He was involved in the SI (Supplemental Instruction) program for three years during his undergraduate career which influenced his desire to be a TA (Teaching Assistant) as a graduate student. This spring he will be graduating with his M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology after completing a year of coursework as well as being a TA, and participating in research in the Hille Lab where he will be continuing his studies as a Ph.D. student. He was accepted to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program earlier this year and received the Chancellor's Distinguished fellowship. His goal is to ultimately become a research professor whose aim is to not only aid in the instruction and research of biochemical topics, but to also contribute to Latinx retention in STEM fields.

Michelle Valerie Carr
MS, Environmental Sciences
Student Marshal (graduate student) for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 2

Michelle graduated from UCR in 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Sciences. After obtaining her degree, she continued to work on campus as a Junior Specialist in a Climate Change and Sustainability Laboratory. Her work in the laboratory included sampling pollutant emissions in the Central Valley to assess the impacts of California dairy farms on the climate. In 2019, she began working with the US Forest Service Research Station in Riverside, where she worked on several projects related to sustainability and conservation, and served as an outreach ambassador by presenting topics such as fire safety and the benefits of visiting national forests to local underrepresented communities. In 2020, she returned to UCR to pursue her Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, where she would continue her atmospheric research in the Climate Change and Sustainability Laboratory. She has been heavily involved in the Environmental Sciences department as the graduate student representative for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the Outreach Coordinator for the departmental Graduate Student Association, a mentor in the Graduate Student Mentorship Program, and a member of the Environmental Science Club. Throughout her educational and career history, she discovered that her passion lies with connecting with the community. She will be graduating in June 2022 and her future aspirations are to bridge the gap between scientific research and the public through science communication and outreach.

Blake Christopher Veloz
BS Biology
Student Marshal (undergraduate) for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 1

Blake is a first-generation student graduating from CNAS with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and a Minor in Public Policy. During his years at UCR, he was heavily involved in Student Life and programs that help undergraduate students. While maintaining a consecutive presence on the Chancellor’s Honor List, he was involved in CNAS Scholars, Residential Life, and UCR Clubs such as American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and Ski & Snowboard Club. For three of his college years working with Residential Life, Blake was able to help college students with their living experience by hosting programs, promoting student growth with success, and much more. Some programs he has done are CNAS Degree Workshop with Boba, DIY Zen Gardens, and Therapy Dogs! Working in the CNAS Scholars Program as a Peer Academic Leader, he helped pilot this new part of the program which has more upperclassmen helping 1st-year students in their transition into college by teaching them through Freshman Advising classes. In AMSA, Blake was Fundraising Chair for one of the largest pre-health clubs on campus who also won Organization of the Year during his time. After college, Blake plans to take a gap year to intern, travel, and explore graduate and professional school programs before applying.

Gabriella Moussa
BS, Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Student Marshal (undergraduate) and Tassel Turner for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 2

Gabriella is a Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology major and will earn her B.S. this June 2022. Throughout her time at UCR, she has been highly involved throughout campus within CNAS and other on and off campus organizations. She has done so while also maintaining a steady presence on the Dean’s and Chancellor’s Honor Rolls. Her involvement has included researching in the Yamanaka lab, being a member and outreach leader of University Honors, a CNAS Ambassador, HPAC Ambassador, SI Leader and SI Leader Mentor, AMSA at UCR President, UCR Health CAP Women’s Health Intern, Mini Medical School Heart Health Project Leader, UCR SOM Health Sciences Partnership Mentor and Group Leader, UCR Orchestra’s Principal Violist, and COPE Health Scholar. While at UCR, her passions developed in the form of student mentorship and academic support for elementary to college aged students, especially across the fields of science and medicine. Gabriella is currently applying to medical school, and plans to utilize a growth year to travel and gain more clinical experience before starting medical school. She aspires to become a physician one day in hopes of addressing health disparities and underrepresentation within healthcare, and aims to utilize her skills and passions for the betterment of her community.

 

National Anthem Singers

Angel Alejandro Garcia
BS, Biology
National Anthem Singer for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 1

Angel Alejandro Garcia will be receiving his Bachelor of Science in Biology. He is a first-generation Mexican-Guatemalan student who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his undergraduate career he not only immersed himself in his scientific studies, but was dedicated to giving back to his first-generation and low-income community. He has worked extensively with the non-profits SoCalCan and KidCityHopePlace in hopes of making college access easier for students who faced the same barriers that he did. He hopes to continue his education by earning his Clinical Lab Scientist License before continuing on with grad school. 

Krithika Sivakumar Karnati
BS, Biochemistry
National Anthem Singer for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 2

Krithika is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry with a Medical Sciences emphasis and a Minor in Neuroscience. She is a certified EMT, works at an urgent care, and volunteers at various organizations, including maternity shelters, free clinics, and food banks. After graduation, Krithika will be taking a year to prepare for the MCAT and work in clinical research before she applies to medical school. Outside of school, she is a trained Indian Classical vocalist and teaches the art form to elementary-school-age children.

 

Student Commencement Speakers

Aya Serhan
BS, Biochemistry
Student Commencement Speaker for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 1

Aya is graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry with a Medical Sciences emphasis. She has been involved in various activities on-campus, serving as a CNAS Science Ambassador for three years and co-president of the program this past year. Within the program, she has also served as a director of SMASH, an outreach program that focuses on tutoring local high school students in their math and science classes. She was heavily involved in the ASUCR External Affairs office, serving as a FundTheUC Coordinator, Chief of Staff, and Federal Relations Director over the past few years. Her work in the office often consisted of lobbying elected officials locally and in Sacramento for legislative bills that would directly benefit students within higher education. Aya has also served as Recruitment Chair for the Student Homeless Aid Relief Project and a Supplemental Instruction Leader for the past two years. She is applying to dental schools this cycle with the aim of one day becoming a pediatric dentist.

Lyan Ly
BS, Neuroscience
Student Commencement Speaker for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 2

Lyan is a graduating Neuroscience Major at UCR. During her first year, she stumbled upon the Student Alumni Association (SAA) and fell in love with its mission to connect students with alumni. After holding a number of roles in the organization, she proudly served as the SAA president during her last year. To continue exploring her passion for mentorship, she joined the CNAS Science Ambassadors where she tutored high school students on STEM subjects and encouraged them to pursue STEM at a university level. She then started working as a Peer Academic Leader where she educated first-year students on the resources that UCR officers. In this role, she also guided students in starting connections with UCR's research faculty. Within CNAS, she also volunteered as a learning assistant for Dr. Casselman's organic chemistry classes and provided guided support for ochem students. Through these experiences, she found a passion for working in higher education and hopes to pursue this in the future. Outside of UCR, she volunteers for Dr. Karin Li's internal medicine clinic to gain clinical experience and more knowledge in the field. She's also shadowed in an OB-GYN clinic and fell in love with the field of women's health and hopes to practice this one day as a Physician Assistant. After graduation, she plans to gain more clinical experience before getting her Master's of Physician Assistant Studies or Master's in Higher Education. Lyan is immensely grateful for the opportunities that UCR has given her and for the people that she's met during her years here. 

 

Leading the Tassel Turning Ceremony

Tammar Haitham Akel
BS, Biology
Tassel Turner for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 1

Tammar is a Biology major and will earn his Bachelor of Science degree in June 2022. Tammar has been involved in many campus organizations and activities throughout his time at UC Riverside. He was a mentor with the Mentor Collective Program, a member with CALPRIG, was the Scholarship Chair for Kappa Sigma Riverside, and most recently, Tammar served in ASUCR as the Senator representing the CNAS student body. In addition to student academics and activities, Tammar worked as a lab technician at Newport Children’s Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, he held a dental internship at Perfect Smiles Orthodontics, and was a Patient Care Assistant at a local senior living center. After graduation, Tammar will begin working as a medical assistant, and plans on completing an EMT program while he decides on attending dental or medical school.

Gabriella Moussa
BS, Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Tassel Turner and Student Marshal (undergraduate) for CNAS Commencement Ceremony Group 2

Gabriella is a Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology major earning her B.S. this June 2022. Throughout her time at UCR, she has been highly involved throughout campus within CNAS and other on and off campus organizations. She has done so while also maintaining a steady presence on the Dean’s and Chancellor’s Honor Rolls. Her involvement has included researching in the Yamanaka lab, being a member and outreach leader of University Honors, a CNAS Ambassador, HPAC Ambassador, SI Leader and SI Leader Mentor, AMSA at UCR President, UCR Health CAP Women’s Health Intern, Mini Medical School Heart Health Project Leader, UCR SOM Health Sciences Partnership Mentor and Group Leader, UCR Orchestra’s Principal Violist, and COPE Health Scholar. While at UCR, her passions developed in the form of student mentorship and academic support for elementary to college aged students, especially across the fields of science and medicine. Gabriella is currently applying to medical school, and plans to utilize a growth year to travel and gain more clinical experience before starting medical school. She aspires to become a physician one day in hopes of addressing health disparities and underrepresentation within healthcare, and aims to utilize her skills and passions for the betterment of her community.


CNAS Awards

Each year, the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences honors students who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and accomplishments throughout their time at UCR. Below are the descriptions of each award and the award winners from the CNAS graduating Class of 2022. Congratulations to our students!

Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award
In honor of Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award, who served as UCR Chancellor from 1987-1992, the Schraer Award recognizes the academic excellence of two outstanding graduating seniors in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. 

Academic Excellence Awards
The Academic Excellence Awards for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences recognizes students who are selected by their faculty for achieving excellence in their academics and research or creative activity. 

Outstanding Achievement Award
Selected by the CNAS divisional deans, the Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes one student from all the Excellence Award nominees for their exemplary achievement in academics and research or creative activity, their breadth of involvement in the college, and for their commitment to service and citizenship.  

Jesus Gonzalez Camba '22
Academic Excellence Award

Jesus’ passion and drive for research are immediately apparent in the eagerness with which he jumps to learn new skills in the lab. A first-generation college student having immigrated to the United States at the age of 18, Jesus overcame significant adversity in his academic journey. But this only further fueled his passion. A transfer student from Chabot Community College, Jesus completed two internships prior to attending UCR. At his first internship at NASA’s Glenn Research Center Jesus worked to help bring historically marginalized groups into STEM. His second internship at UC Berkeley studying Mycobacterium developed his interest in microorganisms. Carrying that interest to UCR, he took Dr. Glassman's Field Mycology class in Winter 2022 and simultaneously joined the Glassman Lab as a MCBL 197 student where he has been assisting in the research of post-fire microbial traits. Jesus plans to continue his pursuit of research after graduation, with an eventual goal of earning a doctoral degree.

Beatrice Diep '22
Academic Excellence Award

Beatrice has worked in Dr. Rasmussen’s lab since the summer of 2019 where she presented her work on TANGED1’s localization in a maize mutant with division plane defects at the RISE Symposium. She received the Chancellor’s Research Fellowship in 2021 and is the current president of Queens of STEAM, a student-led organization dedicated to empowering women to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Beatrice will be the first in her family to earn a Bachelor’s degree and will pursue a Ph.D. this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Cellular and Molecular Biology program.

Valeria Figueroa'22
Academic Excellence Award
As a transfer student, UCR provided Valeria with exciting opportunities to explore career options through the many upper-division classes she took. In particular, the intensive laboratory experiences in senior Microbiology and Neuroscience courses, along with a Human Genetics course, have cemented her long-term goals of pursuing graduate study in a molecular genetics field and to pursue a career in research. Valeria is proud to be graduating cum laude as the first-generation STEM graduate in her family.

Celeste Hofstetter '22 
Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award
Academic Excellence Award

Celeste has had an unconventional route to a Bachelor’s degree in Geology. After graduating high school she worked as a bookkeeper, a full time mom, a teacher’s aide, and a lunch lady –before a visit to the famous Mt. St Helens volcano inspired her to return to school to study the Earth. Since transferring to UCR in 2020, Celeste has conducted research on magnetostratigraphy of marine sediments, via an REU placement at Oregon State University — generating results that she presented at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting — and has continued that work for a senior thesis at UCR. She has also worked as an undergraduate grader, has received Dean’s List honors every quarter, and earned a cumulative GPA of 3.97, all while raising two teenage daughters. After graduation and completing the capstone Geology field camp, Celeste will return to UCR to start Ph.D. research on the oxygen fugacity of lavas from Hawaii, working with Dr. Maryjo Brounce.

Jun Yim Lum '22 
Academic Excellence Award

Jun Yim completed his Honors capstone project under Dr. Chow-Yang Lee on the anthropogenic influence on long-legged ant and Argentine ant distribution, receiving an Undergraduate Education Mini-Grant and the Carl Strom/Western Exterminator Company Scholarship. He presented his research at the 2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium and is presently drafting the work for submission to the Journal of Economic Entomology. Jun Yim has served as the Natural History Museum Club secretary since 2020 and has consistently received the Dean’s Honors List while completing his B.S. in Entomology in three years with a 3.93 cumulative GPA.

Derek Ly '22 
Academic Excellence Award

William Mol '22 
Academic Excellence Award

William took on a fascinating and challenging project in the Behavioral Neuroscience area of Psychology in Fall 2021. As a transfer student from Saddleback Community college, Will came to UCR in 2020 and despite the tumultuous pandemic phase, he has excelled. Will has been on the Dean's Honors list, every quarter since he came to UCR and has a stellar 4.0 GPA. His research is focused on understanding timing impairments in Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Disorientation with respect to time and other timing issues are common to individuals with FXS. Using a novel paradigm that William co-designed with a graduate student, he is using a mouse model of FXS to understand how dysfunctional circuits in the brain contribute to timing impairments in FXS. Will is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in systems neuroscience so he can understand how neurons communicate to give rise to language and thought.

Alexandria Richardson '22 
Academic Excellence Award

Alexandria is a senior undergraduate student at the Department of Statistics. She was part of the Summer Research In Science and Engineering Program (RISE) program where she was supervised by Professor Weixin Yao.  She also participated in the Irvine Summer Institute in Neuroscience Program and the David H. Blackwell Summer ‘21 Scholars Program at the University of Illinois.  After graduating she plans to pursue an MD/Ph.D.

Andrea Romero '22 
Academic Excellence Award

After winning a position in the NIFA-funded Six Legs Program Andrea worked within the Groen Lab on the genetic basis of plant defense against nematode parasites, where she received a prestigious U-SPARC fellowship last fall that funded her research. Andrea’s work on tomato and the genetic model plant Arabidopsis will form an invaluable contribution to a scientific manuscript that will be submitted for publication this summer. In addition to research, Andrea worked tirelessly and selflessly as a mentor in the Six Legs and Chicano Link Peer Mentor programs helping students from underprivileged and/or minoritized backgrounds with pursuing academic studies in STEM serves as secretary and national liaison for the UCR Chapter of the Society for Advancements of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

Tyler Rosauer '22 
Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award
Academic Excellence Award

In his undergraduate years, Tyler spent his time researching in Dr. Yongtao Cui’s Nanowave Electronics Lab, and in Dr. Jonathan Richardson’s Experimental Gravity group. This summer he will be serving as a mentor for the prestigious LIGO SURF program at UCR, assisting a visiting student in completing a comprehensive project related to his current research. Along with his involvement as a board member of the Society of Physics Students and the Geology Student Organization, Tyler has been placed on the Dean’s Honors list every quarter and has a 3.99 cumulative GPA. He was awarded two additional awards from the physics department: Outstanding Third and Fourth Year Undergraduate Student. In the fall, he will begin pursuing his Ph.D.here at UC Riverside, continuing in the field of Experimental Gravity. 

Rany Tith '22 
Academic Excellence Award

Research has played a major role in Rany’s life as a student. Before transferring to UCR, Rany worked on LiFePO4 battery synthesis at CE-CERT and published in two peer-reviewed conference journals. In addition to that, his interdisciplinary take on research is what distinguishes his academic history from others. Afterwards he would go on to present research on natural language processing at SocCal NLP at USC and present original research at AMS Fall 2019 on machine learning and category theory. While at UCR, Rany spent time with Dr. John Baez and his students to explore the connections between systems and how category theory can be applied. Now Rany works with Dr. Qixuan Wang on optimizing algorithmic runtime of  biological models to better understand the life cycle of hair follicle cells. He is also on the board of the competitive coding club where he represented UCR at SoCal ICPC regionals.

Walker Woodard '22 
Outstanding Achievement Award
Academic Excellence Award

Throughout his time at UCR, Walker has worked within the Biomedical Sciences Department under Dr. Iryna Ethell investigating a form of genetic autism called Fragile X Syndrome. His contributions have been substantial with two co-author publications within the Journal of Neurochemistry and Neurobiology of Disease. In addition to research, Walker has been heavily involved in the campus community as a CNAS Scholars Peer Mentor and Advancement Ambassador, all while maintaining a 3.96 cumulative GPA. Upon graduating, he will take part in the Coro National Fellowship in San Francisco to merge his interest for scientific research and public policy. Walker plans to be a connection between scientists, policy makers, and business leaders in the future after obtaining his Ph.D. in Biology.

Heather Zechiel '22 
Academic Excellence Award

Heather’s journey to the university has been a nontraditional one. After years in the workforce, she began attending community college at night. In 2020, Heather transferred to UCR from Irvine Valley College, where she earned Associate’s degrees in Chemistry, French, and Physical Science. Along with her coursework, she successfully juggles employment and a long commute, all while maintaining a 3.93 GPA. Heather currently serves as an intern at the Irvine Ranch Water District, where she performs water quality tests with their Inorganic Chemistry group. After graduation, Heather hopes to continue her work as a lab analyst to help keep water clean.

 


CNAS Commencement Photo Gallery

 

2022 CNAS Commencement

 


CNAS Grad Wall

We also invite the CNAS Class of 2022 along with their families, friends, faculty members, staff, and guests to send congratulatory messages to @UCRCNAS on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #CNASgrad. Posts tagged with @UCRCNAS and #CNASgrad may appear on the CNAS Grad Wall below!

 

 

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