Skip to content Skip to navigation

Merit Partners Biographies for Fall 2016


Akaash Dutt

Project Manager

Akaash Dutt is a fifth year Environmental Engineering student. He is the project manager for the Engineering Service Learning Team Merit Partners. Dutt chose this position since he has done this project last semester and knows how it goes. He can explain what the previous semester accomplished and what needs to be done. Dutt hopes that he can use what he has learned in Merit Partners and apply it to his field in the future. Dutt chose this team since he wants to help the community while being in school. Every time Dutt drives around, he always listens to country music.

Sebastian Carrillo

Assistant Project Manager

Sebastian Carrillo is a fourth year student studying Bioengineering. He is the assistant project manager for the Engineering Service Learning team, Merit Partner. Carrillo believes in hard work and ethics. He believes that Merit Partners will give good opportunities to those who are incardinated and help find a passion to a safer lifestyle. Academically, Carrillo is interested in designing biomedical devices such as artificial organs and improving health. Carrillo has given back to the community in an internship in land development. Carrillo enjoys weight lifting, football, and spending time with family.

Isaac Gaitan

Communication Officer

Isaac Gaitan is a first year student pursuing a bachelors of science degree in the field of Computer Science. Gaitan is the communications officer of the Merit Partners (MP) Engineering Service Learning program. Gaitan chose this position due to his very open personality and willingness to get to know new people. He joined the MP program because he enjoys working with new people and learning how others view and manage the world around them. On his free time Gaitan enjoys working with mentally challenging tasks such as puzzles and learning new methods on how to change the way that computers operate.

Dana Morales

Intellectual Property Officer

Dana Morales is a fourth year pursuing her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is the intellectual property officer for the Engineering Service Learning team, Merit Partners (MP). Morales is interested in educating others in order to create a better community. Therefore, she chose this project with the goal of being able to work with and impact the youth. She wants to also use this experience to gain advantageous skills for her future endeavors. She is working in the Family Development Lab and Teen Parenting Lab with Professor Alexandra Main. Besides academics, Dana enjoys basketball, going to concerts, and watching Netflix.

Anna Oyales

Procurement and Finance Officer

Anne Oyales is a second year Management and Business Economics student. She is the procurement and finance officer for the Engineering Service Learning team, Merit Partners. After taking an introductory Sociology class, she became interested in issues such as criminalization, social stratification, and rehabilitation. Through Merit Partners, she saw a good intersection between her passion for helping others and newfound interest in Sociology. Oyales hopes to gain valuable skills in both formal interviews and finance. When not doing school work, she enjoys volunteering or spending quality time with her cats and family.

Gordon Ng

Team Leader

Gordon Ng is a second year student at University of California Merced. His current major is still undeclared but is leaning towards engineering. He chose Merit Partners because it was an opportunity for him to learn more about the community around him. Ng chose the team leader position to improve his team work skills. He is new to the Engineering Service Learning class, so he has a lot to learn. Ng loves to be on the computer most of the time looking at cute photos of corgis. He hopes one day he will be able to add a puppy corgi to his family.

Johanna Araiza

Team Leader

Johanna Araiza is a second year currently pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering. She is a Team Leader for the Engineering Service Learning team, Merit Partner (MP). Araiza chose this position because she is a strong enforcer of rules and is passionate about helping out her community to have better opportunities. Araiza is a good communicator involved in different organizations as well such as Delta Gamma, in which she volunteers her time to help educate others and raise money for C.O.V.E (Center of Vision Enhancement) their philanthropy Service for Sight. Aside from everything she is involved in, she is adventurous and likes exploring new places with her boyfriend.

Merari Cisneros

Team Member

Merari Cisneros is a third year Bio-Engineering student at the University of California Merced. Cisneros is from San Diego California where he lived for all of his twenty years. Cisneros was born of two immigrants from Guadalajara Mexico who have since then become full-fledged citizens. Cisneros chose Merit Partners in order to gain a feel for team based projects and thus improve his leadership capabilities. As an added side effect, taking part in Merit Partners allows Cisneros to give back to the community. When not studying Cisneros partakes in videogames and running.

Israel Fernandez

Team Member

Israel Fernandez is a 2nd year here at the University of California of Merced. Fernandez is majoring in Bioengineering. This is his 2nd semester in Engineering Service Learning, he is interested in Service Learning because Fernandez wants to make a difference in the community. Academically, he is interested on Biology and perfecting his math skills. Fernandez hopes to gain many skills from networking to be more organized during his time here in Engineering Service Learning. Fernandez is looking forward for a successful semester and even better whole school year. Israel spends his free time studying, going to the gym, and making an impact in the housing community of UC Merced.