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2012 Bouchet Scholars

Chanda Carey, Ph.D. Candidate in Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Chanda L. Carey is a PhD candidate in Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of California, San Diego. Her research is highly interdisciplinary, leading to conversations across the humanities, sciences and social sciences. She is currently writing her dissertation, Ethnoaesthetics and the Geography of Contemporary Art: Marina Abramovic. In addition to her primary research interest in the diversifying field of Contemporary art with an emphasis on cross-cultural exchange, Chanda is developing her work with the support of theories and methods from anthropology, digital humanities, cognitive and neurosciences.

Carolyn Chen, Ph.D. Candidate in Music

Carolyn Chen was born in New Jersey and lives in San Diego. Her music looks for hidden lives of things. Influences include Schubert, sloths, and playing early music on shawm, harpsichord, and guqin, the ancient Chinese 7-string zither. Recent projects include human windchimes, music for supermarket, and an abstract comic translation of the Book of Job. Carolyn received a B.A. in Music (piano performance) and M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, where she wrote an honors thesis on free improvisation and radical politics. Currently she is a Music Composition Ph.D. candidate at UCSD, advised by Katharina Rosenberger, Anthony Burr, Charles Curtis, Norman Bryson, and Ricardo Dominguez. She is writing on aesthetics of a mundane sublime.

Miao-Ping Chien, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry & Biochemistry

Miao-Ping obtained her masters degree at National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan investigating the mechanism of pathogenesis from which she received the Outstanding Award at theAnnual Thesis Competition. After graduation, she worked as a research assistant at Academia Sinica in Taiwan for two years before coming to the US for her doctoral degree. Currently, she is a 4th year Ph.D student working in a bioorganic lab with her advisor, Prof. Nathan Gianneschi in department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCSD. In the period at UCSD, her research has entailed an exploration and investigation of new methods for pharmaceutical and clinical applications (pharmacokinetic control and drug delivery), biosensor or bio-diagnosis and nanoengineering of biofunctional polymeric materials. The goal of these research projects is to improve the efficiency of drug delivery and detection of diseased tissues as in vivo bio-diagnostic tools. Miao-Ping Chien grew up in Nantou, Taiwan. She pursued her undergraduate education in medical technology at Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taiwan and received a Medical Technologist License. During her undergraduate studies, she volunteered to provide free care to those who are unable to afford medical care, and also taught English at elementary schools in remote areas.

Michael Navarro, Ph.D. Candidate in Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Michael Navarro is a biological oceanographer, a National Science Foundation Fellow, a former California Sea Grant Fellow, and a product of the California public education system. His interest in ocean sciences began in high school during his enrollment at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of California (UC), Los Angeles and a Master of Science degree as a National Institute of Health Bridges Scholar from California State University, Fullerton. Both degrees were focused on marine sciences. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate and member of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation earning a degree in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego under the advisement of Dr. Lisa Levin. Along the way Michael has enjoyed working with talented people on diversity challenges and is constantly striving to become better at facilitating diversity activities and policies into the environment wherever he works. Currently, he is an active member of the Scripps Diversity Leadership Team, the Grassroots Diversity Action Working Group at Scripps, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and a founding member of the Focus on the Future Scholarship Program at Scripps.

Stevie Ruiz, Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnic Studies

Stevie Ruiz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He is currently writing his dissertation, "The Color of Settlement: Race, Conformity and Land Conflict in Imperial County, 1905-1965" which analyzes how land allotment programs from the early twentieth century onward shaped race relations in the Imperial Valley, a region located 70 miles east of San Diego. His research is fueled by political questions as to how race and racism is shaped by architectural infrastructure, built environments and land policy in Southern California border context. His work intersects with Queer Studies, Environmental History & Law, Political Geography, Chicana/o Studies and Comparative Ethnic Studies. In addition to his enthusiasm for archival research, he is just as passionate about teaching. What he enjoys most about his job as an academic is being able to demonstrate to students how institutions shape their own lives, as well as their personal histories and futures. Issues of diversity, retention and building a safe and productive learning environment are most important to him. He has participated in several workshops related to diversity both on and off the UCSD campus. He is proud to belong to such a dynamic department where activism and community mentoring are taken seriously by his colleagues and professors. He is originally from a working class neighborhood called Highland Park located in northeast Los Angeles. He is the son of Mexican immigrant parents and first generation to earn a high school diploma, bachelor's degree and Ph.D.

Nick Saenz, Ph.D. Candidate in History

Nick Saenz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. He was born in Arlington, TX and raised in Libertyville, IL. Before starting graduate school at UC San Diego, Nick was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow at the University of Chicago. He graduated with honors in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. Nick received a Master of Arts degree in history from UC San Diego in 2009. Research support for his dissertation project has been provided by the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States’ Universities and the Institute for International, Comparative, and Area Studies. As a Fulbright Scholar during 2009-2010 he completed archival research in Madrid and Seville, Spain. His dissertation project explores political culture in Andalusia during the period 1766-1823, examining the role of local actors in the transition from absolutism to liberal democracy. Nick has organized three digital exhibitions for the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection of the Mandeville Special Collections Library. He is currently a Teaching Assistant in the Making of the Modern World Program at Eleanor Roosevelt College. This summer, Nick will teach the course “Spain since 1808” as an Associate-In for the Department of History. Nick has served in various leadership roles on campus. These have included conference organizer, proponent of graduate education, and diversity advocate. He is currently in his second term as President of the UC San Diego Graduate Student Association.

Sonya Seif-Naraghi, Ph.D. Candidate in Bioengineering

Sonya Seif-Naraghi received her Bachelor's of Science and Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of California, San Diego, under the direction of Dr. Karen Christman. Her research focuses on the characterization, development and utility of injectable biomaterials derived from decellularized extracellular matrix, specifically for use in cardiac tissue engineering applications. She is the recipient of a National Science Graduate Student Fellowship and her future goals include staying within the university setting as faculty. Sonya also has a strong interest in engineering education and has taken advantage of opportunities to attend and present at national and international engineering education conferences. She enjoys spending time riding half of a tandem bicycle, hiking, rock climbing, and generally being outdoors.


Kimberly H. Stiemke, Ed.D. Candidate in Education Leadership

Kimberley H. Stiemke is currently a candidate in the Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at the University of California, San Diego and California State University, San Marcos. Her research interests include leadership in higher education, experiences of historically marginalized populations, and social justice and equity in education. Upon graduating from Clark Atlanta University with a Master of Science in Teaching and Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, Kimberley began a career as a secondary school teacher. She has successfully taught students from middle through adult school in several regions of the United States representing over 50 countries and dozens of languages. In addition to her studies, Kimberley is currently the lead instructor for the Academic and Career Education Program at Vista Adult School in California where she has developed invigorating programs to serve the specific educational needs of underserved students from diverse backgrounds. Through her leadership and advocacy in numerous community-based organizations, Ms. Stiemke has a history of service in urban and suburban settings across the United States. As a former MASTER (Math and Science, Technology Education, and Research) Institute for Teachers Scholar, Kimberley has presented at state and national conferences. Her most recent work will be presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference in Vancouver, Canada. Kimberley was recently inducted into the prestigious United Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network.


Adam Young, Ph.D. Candidate in Bioengineering

Adam is a PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD, under the direction of Dr. Karen Christman. His thesis research is focused on the development of thermoresponsive biomaterials that will encourage adipose regeneration following severe burns or tumor resection. He is also investigating the chemical and physical cues involved in controlling differentiation of adult stem cells for use in combination with these biomaterials. Adam grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering, concentrated in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, from North Carolina State University. He also holds a minor in Business Management. Alongside his research, Adam is actively involved in developing and inspiring future generations of scientists. He has served as a mentor in the UCSD ScienceBridge Program and Jacobs Undergraduate Mentoring Program. He also volunteered for two years as the President of the Bioengineering Graduate Society and has organized interactive bioengineering displays for the inaugural and second annual USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington DC. Currently, he works with the UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge to help students gain entrepreneurial education and experience.

Melanie Zauscher, Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Melanie Zauscher is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at UCSD. Her research, based in Professor Kim Prather's lab, focuses on the chemical composition and physical properties of ambient aerosols and their effect on climate and human health. Melanie has really enjoyed participating in several field campaigns studying natural and polluted aerosols in Puerto Rico, California's Sierra Nevada foothills, and the Ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles. Her undergraduate degree was in environmental chemistry, also from UCSD. While at UCSD, Melanie has advocated on behalf of graduate students with her involvement in campus-wide committees, such as the Grad Life Steering Committee and the Committee on Educational Policy, and by serving two terms as Vice President of Internal Affairs for UCSD's Graduate Student Association. In addition, she has been involved with UCSD's California Alliance for Minority Participation Science Program since she started at UCSD. Melanie has organized and participated in multiple science outreach events every year that target traditionally underrepresented elementary, middle and high school students.