Skip to content

Engineering Service Learning Staff

Chris Butler


Engineering Service Learning


Chris Butler is the Director of Engineering Service Learning at UC Merced. Butler graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and an M.S. in Environmental Systems from the University of California, Merced.  Since 2016, he developed and increased the Engineering Service Learning program at UC Merced to serve as a cornerstone design course. Over this period, he has led over 35 real-world projects that delivered functional solutions for the local and regional non-profit service sector.  Butler enjoys developing new partnerships with both non-profit and industry partners to help UC Merced students gain the necessary professional and technical experience to start their professional careers upon graduation. 

Kate Totter

Journalist Assistant

Kate Totter is a second-year Mechanical Engineering major here at UC Merced. She joined the Engineering Service Learning team in the summer of 2021 as the Journalist Assistant. In her role, Kate conducts interviews and creates stories to capture the department's projects and goals. After graduation, she hopes work in Aerospace Design.

Zeriyn Araneta

Event Coordinator Assistant

Zeriyn Araneta is a third-year Political Science major here at UC Merced. She joined the Engineering Service Learning team in the fall of 2020 as the Event Coordinator Assistant. In her role, Araneta coordinates the Skill Sessions workshop series taught by industry professionals that help develop students' technical and professional skills. After graduation, she hopes to explore new cities, continue to learn, and eventually work for herself.

Zachary Silva

Photojournalism Assistant 

Zachary Silva is a second-year Mechanical Engineering student at UC Merced.Silva joined the Engineering Service Learning team as the Photographer in the spring of 2022. His position includes photographing the multitude of engineering events the University hosts. Zachary is also adrone pilot/researcher for the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. Mapping the Vernal Pool and Grassland Reserve is a part of his work,and Silva hopes to pursue a career in Agriculture Technology.

Itzel Velis

Digital Media Assistant

Itzel Velis is a fourth-year Bioengineering student at UC Merced. She joined Engineering Service Learning as Digital Design Assistant in the summer of 2021. In her position, Itzel designs informational printed material, social media content, and helps deliver the Annual Report. After graduation, Itzel hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics.  

Joseph Barrera 

Assessment Assitant 

Joseph Barrera is a first-year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of California, Merced. Barrera joined the Engineering Service Learning team in the fall of 2020 as the Assessment Assistant where he manages the Engineering Service Learning website and data analysis. After graduation, Barrera plans to attend graduate school to become an electrical engineer.