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2018 Bouchet Scholars

 Osinachi Ajoku

Osinachi F. Ajoku, Oceanography

Osinachi F. Ajoku is a candidate for the Ph.D. in oceanography with a concentration in climate science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research focuses on the impact that biomass burning produced aerosols pose on the West African monsoon. Osinachi is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, San Diego Fellowship and the Global Policy and Strategy Science Policy Fellowship. As well, he received a Bachelor of Science in geology from California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he was a member of the Louis Stokes-Alliance for Minority Participation program. Osinachi is very passionate in mentoring younger students towards attaining graduate degrees. He has worked as a Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) mentor as well as given guest lectures for organizations focused on inspiring students from underrepresented communities. Beyond the classroom, he has served as the Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Graduate Student association. Ultimately, Osinachi strives to use his education at the intersection of science and policy with the hopes of condoning in diplomatic work.



David Larson



David P. Larson, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

David P. Larson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California San Diego. His research focuses on enabling increased integration of intermittent renewable resources, e.g., solar, into the electric grid through the development of novel forecasting methods. While completing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Merced, he was a University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced DegreeS (UC LEADS) scholar and spent time as a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley through the Cal NERDS program. During his time at UC San Diego, David has regularly served as a research mentor to undergraduate and high school students through programs such as UC LEADS, the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS), and the Mentor Assistance Program (MAP). He has also contributed to outreach and diversity initiatives through the Center for Energy Research (CER) and the Inclusion Diversity Excellence Achievement (IDEA) Engineering Student Center. In recent years, he helped spearhead the development of a set of hands-on technical workshops and a new freshmen engineering design course (ENG 10: Fundamentals of Engineering Applications), both aimed at better preparing students for success within and outside UC San Diego.



Jessica Moreton


Jessica C. Moreton, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jessica Moreton is a PhD candidate conducting materials science and chemistry research in the group of Seth Cohen at UC San Diego in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. She researches porous materials called metal-organic frameworks and explores better way to implement these molecular sponges into industrial processes through membrane fabrication using polymers.  In 2017, Ms. Moreton was recognized with a poster prize for her presentation at a Gordon Research Seminar (Nanoporous Materials & Their Applications). She is also the recipient of a GAANN Fellowship (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need). She serves as the current President of the Society for Women in Graduate Studies in Chemistry & Biochemistry (SWIGS), a student group focused on empowering and uplifting women in STEM through outreach activities in the local community, professional development events for members, and department-wide networking and gender bias awareness events. This year under Ms. Moreton’s leadership, SWIGS was awarded a UC San Diego Diversity Award for their work exemplifying the UC San Diego Principles of Community.


Lorena Pacheco


Lorena S. Pacheco, Public Health

Lorena S. Pacheco is a Ph.D. candidate in the Epidemiology track of the UC San Diego-San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health. Her research focuses on nutrition and chronic disease prevention. She is a practicing bilingual and bicultural registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and has worked with migrant, minority and underserved populations in the U.S. and Mexico as both a RDN and research collaborator. Lorena established the Nutritional Services Department for the international public health field project VIIDAI, Viajes Interinstitucional de Integración Docente, Asistencial y de Investigación, in Mexico in 2011. Since then, she has instructed and mentored medical and public health students on essential nutritional and public health tenets applied at different levels of disease prevention in rural communities. Lorena’s dissertation, Associations Between Diet and Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality: The California Teachers Study, examines the relationship between diet quality and dietary patterns with cardiovascular and mortality related outcomes within the California Teachers Study cohort. As well, she works with the multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team of the Santiago Longitudinal Study on cardiometabolic disease risk endpoints.


Abigail Vaughn


Abigail Vaughn, Political Science

Abigail Vaughn is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. She studies the politics of international finance and, in particular, how political incentives shape the degree to which countries contribute to and benefit from the global financial safety net. Her dissertation challenges the notion of central bank independence by arguing that central banks are powerful political actors that engage in financial statecraft. One element of her dissertation focuses on currency swap agreements, which played a key role in mitigating the 2008 financial crisis, but which nevertheless remain an underexplored instrument of international politics. She finds evidence that central banks who offer currency swaps are not exclusively motivated by economic interests but also respond to the geostrategic goals of their home government. From a recipient’s perspective, the results suggest that access to short-term funding depends not only on who one’s international friends are, but also who they aren’t. Her dissertation further analyzes the economic and political implications of currency swap agreements for recipient countries. In addition to her research, Abigail is committed to undergraduate mentorship and teaching. She has spent the last two summers as a mentor working closely with undergraduate students from Morehouse College and Spelman College for UCSD’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success. Her department has recognized her twice with TA Excellence awards.