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December 4, 2002

Media Contacts: Michael Dabney, (858) 822-3432


Eight students from the University of California, San Diego presented research findings recently at the annual Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), a noted gathering that recognizes and celebrates outstanding research achievements among undergraduates throughout the southwestern United States. The conference was held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

The UCSD students – Susie Benniefield; Stephanie Culler; Micaela Smith, Jillian Medeiros, Briseida Elenes, Wendy Kim, Melanie Zauscher, and Randy Dumas – presented results from in-depth research projects they conducted individually through UCSD’s Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP), a comprehensive outreach initiative that offers undergraduates research experiences, faculty mentoring and informational resources in various academic disciplines to enhance their preparation for professional school and Ph.D. program admission. AEP programs include the Faculty Mentor Program, the McNair Program, the Summer Research Program, and other research experiences outside the classroom.

“Participation in important undergraduate research conferences such as SCCUR, says David Artis, Ph.D., AEP director,” helps students in numerous way as they prepare for graduate school, including giving them invaluable experience in presenting their research in a confident, persuasive manner before peers and established scientists, and the opportunity to meet and share research with other students across multidisciplinary boundaries -- from the arts and humanities to biology and engineering.”

Adds Artis: “As admission into graduate school becomes more competitive, research experience derived from such undergraduate conferences will become more and more valuable.”

Topics presented by UCSD students at the SCCUR gathering were: Susie Benniefield – Deaf Cancer Education Video Dissemination via Clergy and Lay Leaders; Briseida Elenes – Mexicans: The Plague of Early Twentieth Century Los Angeles; Randy Dumas – Magnetoresistance of Ferromagenetic Nanocontacts; Wendy Kim – Per Violentiam Ignium: Religion and Revolution in Western Antiquity; Jillian Medeiros – Exploring the Decline of the GDP Volatility: A Look at International and Regional Data; Micaela Smith – And the Struggle Continues: Collective Memory, Educational Reform and San Diego Community Resistance; Melanie Zauscher – Age Determination of Bowhead Whales Through Aspartic Acid Racemization, and Stephanie Culler—Statistical Analysis of the Amino Acid Usage in the CDR Regions of Antibodies.

More than 340 students from colleges and universities throughout Southern California, the Southwest and other parts of the country presented research at SCCUR, which is affiliated with the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research.

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