2015 McNair Program Scholars

2015 McNair Program Scholars


Shrishti Bhattarai
Hometown: Davis, CA
Major: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior 
Minor: Chicana/o
Mentor: Professor Karen Bales
Mentor's Department: Psychology
Research Interests: The Effect of Postmortem Interval on Oxytocin Receptor Density in the Brain
Update: Global Health program Unversity of California, San Francisco. Will be starting UCSF medical school next year. 

David Castallano-Ladd

David Castallano-Ladd
Hometown: North Highlands, CA
Major: History
Mentor: Professor Jacob Hobel
Mentor's Department: Sociology
Research Interests: Female & Male students in STEM: Examining the link between teacher misestimating & the development of gender disparities in students self-efficacy beliefs related to elementary & middle school reading & math
Update: David is pursuing a M.A. in Education at University of California, Davis


Cristina Ceja Ph.D. 
Hometown: Richmond, CA
Major: Animal Science & Psychology
Mentor: Professor Steven Luck
Mentor's Department: Psychology
Research Interests: Attentional capture by abrupt onsets without a display wide set
Update: Cristina received her Ph.D. in Psychology at Northwestern University


Amanda Eke
Hometown: Davis, CA
Major: Women & Gender Studies 
Mentor: Professor Liz Constable
Mentor's Department: Women & Gender Studies
Research Interests: To Be Yong, Gifted, and Black: A Look at the Visionary Activism Created by Black Female Musicians
Update: Amanda is pursuing a Ph.D. in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University


Erika Estrada Ph.D.
Hometown: Visalia, CA
Major: Biological Science
Mentor: Professor Luis Carvajal-Carmona
Mentor's Department: Biochemistry
Research Interests: Evaluation of Chlorine Alternatives for Antimicrobial treatment of recirculation Postharvest Wash Water
Update: Erika Food Safety Scientist and Assistant Public Health Laboratory Director has received her P.hD.


Joshua Garcia Ph.D.
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Major: Biological Science
Mentor: Professor Amelie Gaudin
Mentor's Department: Plant Science
Research Interests: Impact of an Antarctic Rhizobacterium on Root Atchitecture & Productivity of Tomato Crops
Update: Joshua will be beginning his faculty position in July 2025 at UC Merced


Blanca Gomez
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Major: Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Mentor: Annaliese Franz
Mentor's Department: Chemistry
Research Interests: An analysis of the structure-activity relationship between novel malonamides & their fluorescence characteristics
Update: Blanca is pursuing a M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of California, Davis


Elisa Magallanes
Hometown: West Sacramento, CA
Major: Spanish & Chicanx Studies 
Mentor: Professor Marcela Cuellar
Mentor's Department: Education
Research Interests: Examining the relationship between working & persistence in college among Latinas
Update: Elisa is pursuing a M.A. in Spanish Linguistics at University of California, Davis


Elizabeth Ruano
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
Major: Biological Science & Chicanx Studies
Mentor: Professor Lisa Miller
Mentor's Department: Human Ecology
Research Interests: Cultural Factors Associated with Fast Food Intake among Hispanic Immigrants in the US
Update: Elizabeth is pursuing a M.S. in Public Policy at University of California, Riverside


Alejandra Ruiz
Hometown: Redwood Valley, CA
Major: Civil Engineering 
Mentor: Professor Jeannie Darby
Mentor's Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Research Interests: Analysis of Water Quality in Atopoltitlan
Update: Alejandra is pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Engineering at University of California, Davis


Valentin Sierra
Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
Major: History & Native American Studies
Mentor: Jessica Bissett Perea
Mentor's Department: Native American Studies
Research Interests: Native American voices in the Fight for Ethnic Studies
Update: Valentin is pursuing his Ph.D. MA in Social Welfare at University of California, Berkeley


Ellen Street
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Major: Clinical Nutrition 
Mentor: Professor Francine Steinberg
Mentor's Department: Nutrition
Research Interests: a Literature review on the effects of egg consumption on the HDL structure & functionality relation to dyslipidemia & cardiovascular disease
Update: Ellen is pursuing her Ph.D. & RD in Community Nutrition, Health Promotion & Health Behavior at Oregon State University


Khanh Tran
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Major: Mathematics 
Mentor: Professor Deb Niemeier
Mentor's Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Research Interests: Math: A key Factor Influencing Students' Decision in Pursuing STEM Majors
Update: Khanh is currently pursuing a M.S. in Mathematics at California State University, Sacramento.


Maria Wong Chang
Hometown: San Ramon, CA
Major: Pharmaceutical Chemistry 
Mentor: Professor Neil Hunter
Mentor's Department: Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Research Interests: Optimization on the Electrolysis of Levulinic Acid into 2.7 Octanedione: An Exercise in Green Electrochemistry