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Captivated Thinking Biographies for Spring 2017


Austin Thomas
Project Manager

Austin Thomas is a second-year student at UC Merced studying Mechanical Engineering. When he is not busy being a full-time student, Thomas spends his time working as a mechanic/ auto restorer for vintage European cars and dirt-oval sprint cars. He hopes to focus his studies on electronics and circuit theory-related applications and hopes to learn more especially about the field of mechatronics. He hopes that the shift away from focusing on the technical will encourage him to learn the professional aspects of the project. Last semester he served as the Assistant Project Manager, and he wants to see the project to first-stage delivery.


Aldo Alvarez
Assistant Project Manager

Aldo Alvarez is a first year pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is the Assistant Project Manager for the Engineering Service Learning team, Captivated Thinking. Alvarez has a strong passion for vehicles, helping others, and he hopes to have a career in the automotive industry after he graduates. Alvarez hopes to gain valuable skills throughout this project through his hands-on experience as the Assistant Project Manager. Alvarez chose this team because he wanted to help the community through the Captivated Thinking project.

Omar Husain
Team Leader

Omar Husain is a fifth year student pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering. He is the team leader for the creation of charts and tables for the Engineering Service Learning team, Captivated Thinking Lab. Omar has a strong passion for programming and design, and hopes to have a career in bioengineering design after graduation. Through hands-on experience, he hopes to gain valuable skills from working on a programming project that directly helps save resources for the Tuolumne county. Omar enjoys creating concept art and illustration.

Alex Pena
Intellectual Property Officer

Alex Pena is a first year Mechanical Engineering student at UC Merced. Alex is the IPO of the Engineering Service Learning team, Captivated Thinking Lab. He chose to be a part of this team because it offers an excellent opportunity to be a part of a team that is working on a project that will actually benefit others. One thing Pena is proud of is his class standing: although he is a first year Pena is technically a sophomore. Alex’s passion includes working on projects hands on. He once built a successful hovercraft that could support a person.

Lovepreet Kaur
Procurement and Finance Officer

Lovepreet Kaur is a second-year Mechanical Engineering student. She is the Procurement and Finance Officer for the Engineering Service Learning team, Captivated Thinking. Kaur chose this team because she is passionate about helping communities understand how they can develop. She works as a recycling intern on campus which has helped the campus reduce a large percentage of its waste. After graduation Kaur is interested in working in the automotive field in hopes to create ecofriendly vehicles. In her spare time, Kaur enjoys playing tennis and going hiking.

Christian Vernikoff

Christian Vernikoff is a second-year Computer Science student at UC Merced. Vernikoff is a team member of Captivated Thinking. He chose this team because it would allow him to work together in a team and allow for the improvement of his skills in computer science and teamwork. Academically Vernikoff enjoys all areas of math, but specifically calculus. He loves playing tennis and played on the varsity team in his high school in the Bay-Area. Outside of academics, Vernikoff enjoys skiing, fishing and playing Civilization.

Cristian Gonzalez

Cristian Gonzalez Lopez is a second-year mechanical engineering student. He chose the Captivated Thinking team because it was a way of giving back to the community and helping it grow. In the future, Gonzalez plans on making renewable energy more efficient and making it readily available to the public regardless of financial status. He also wants to develop a new way of farming so that it can accommodate the growing population of the world so that it is inexpensive to producers and consumers. Gonzalez enjoys spending time with his friends and family. He also enjoys finding new roads and going on long drives.
Cruz Trenado

Biography coming soon!

Miguel Banales

Biography coming soon!

Jose Luis Arrieta

Jose Luis Arrieta is a second-year Mechanical Engineering student. Arrieta comes from Compton, an impoverished city outside of Los Angeles. Despite the financial limitations, he still managed to excel in engineering competitions throughout high school. He chose to be a member of this project because he wants to have a hands-on experience in identifying and solving issues within Tulare County. Through his work on this project, Arrieta hopes to gain information and learn techniques that will carry into his professional career. Outside of schoolwork, Arrieta enjoys spending time with friends and family and having fun by finding adventure anywhere he goes.

Francisco Santana

He is a first year student who is majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. He is originally from El Salvador, but moved to Los Angeles in 2006. While in his final year of high school, he managed to find himself competing in the semi-finals of Cyber Patriot, a competition meant to measure the ability of students in the field of Cyber Security. He selected the team Captivated Thinking because he found the prospect of assisting a local community fascinating. On his free time, he can be found coding for computer applications.

Tiffany Tang

Biography coming soon!

Juan Campos

Juan Campos is a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at UC Merced. Campos is the first student in his family to attend college and has set high hopes for becoming a more educated person at UC Merced. He chose to join the team because he is highly motivated to succeed and is determined to improve his leadership skills. By joining the team, Campos seeks to gain experience working with a collaborative team to accomplish a set goal in order to become prepared for the real world.  Campos typically spends his time reading self-improvement books as a hobby. 

Andrew Duong

Biography coming soon!

Fernando Duran

Biography coming soon!