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MP Biographies for Spring 2016

Matthew Favis – Project Manager

Matthew Favis is a Senior undergraduate student at UC Merced with a major in Bioengineering and a minor in Professional Writing. He was born in Sylmar, California and raised in Manila, Philippines. Here at UC Merced, Favis learned the value of professional development and leadership skills, both of which he developed through active participation in student organizations and professional interaction with faculty. Merit Partners was Favis’ first choice when choosing a team because he believed that it had the most potential for good in the local community. In his spare time, Favis enjoys playing with his dogs, Burrito, Turtleneck, and Chevy.

Derek Brigham – Assistant Project Manager

Derek Brigham is a fifth year Mechanical Engineering student from Ventura, CA. Brigham is the assistant project manager of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning Team. He chose it because it gave him a great opportunity to have a positive influence on the lives of many people. Academically, Brigham is interested in fuel cells and renewable energy and has been working in a research lab here on campus with Professor Abel Chuang. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and church family and biking to school.

Sang Sue Thao – Communications Officer  

Sang Sue Thao is a fifth year Earth System Science student at the University of California, Merced. Thao is from a small family in Fresno, Ca where he grew up with a strong agriculture background. He is the communications officer of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning Team and chose this position because he feels the need to better his communication skills, teamwork, and professionalism. As a career, Thao would like to help reduce human pollution to the environment and one day develop a super plant that does not require fertilizer. When Thao is not tied up with school work he likes to take time to work on his car to make it more appealing and efficient.

Akaash Dutt – Intellectual Property Officer

Akaash Dutt is a fourth year Environmental Engineering student. He is the intellectual property officer for the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning team. Dutt chose this position since he is familiar with myBox, which he has been using in other classes. Dutt is a hard worker who gets his assignments completed and enjoys a hands-on experience. Using many computer applications has given him an easy and fun way to do assignments. Dutt chose this team since he wants to help the community while being in school. During the weekends, he enjoys riding his bike.

Robert Manuel Jr. - Procurement and Finance Officer

Robert Manuel Jr. is in his third year studying Environmental Engineering. He is part of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning team (MP), and serves as the Procurement and Finance Officer. He joined MP because of his desire to research and impact the greater community. Manuel Jr. has done some volunteer work in the past which includes surveying food accessibility and assisting at covalence hospitals. He enjoys reading rich stories of adventure and trials of the human spirit as well as playing mindless video games about adventure and taking down bad guys who lack a human spirit.

Ituah Uwadiale – Team Leader

Ituah Uwadiale is a third year Mechanical Engineering student. Uwadiale is the team leader of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning team Project. He chose it because it presented him with a wonderful opportunity to help young incarcerated adults gain valuable job skills while in incarcerated. Academically, Uwadiale is interested in the automotive industry and is actively involved with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). He also enjoys playing football and basketball with friends and family. As a transfer student, Uwadiale loves giving freshman advice on time management, work ethic, and the obstacles they might face as they begin their college career.


Onasis Becerra – Team Leader

Onasis Becerra is a second year student pursing a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Becerra is the team leader for Merit Partners (Leadership in the Behavioral aspect). Becerra has successfully adapted to living in the United States, with the purpose of continuing his studies. Academically, Becerra is overall interested in many branches of Engineering, and therefore has been involved in Mechatronics, Embedded Systems, and Automation Research Laboratory since last semester. Becerra selected Merit Partners with the strong belief of giving people a second opportunity. Nonetheless, Becerra has a strong interest for soccer and, if he is not studying, he surely is playing soccer.

Dean dela Resma – Team Member

Dean dela Resma is a first year Bioengineer student. Dela Resma is a Team Member of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning Team. He chose this team because it really interested him how the Merit Partners gave misguided young men an opportunity to start their life over and potentially improve their lifestyle. Through hands-on-experience, he hopes to gain the proper knowledge and skills it takes to be a successful engineer. On his free time, Dela Resma likes to go out with friends, playing sports, or being active instead of being stuck in his room all day.


Tyler Belyeu – Team Member

Tyler Belyeu is a first year student pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. Belyeu is a team member of the Engineering Service Learning Team Merit Partners. He chose it because it gave him a meaningful opportunity to assist in researching the recidivism of wards in the Merit ePartners program. Academically, Belyeu is interested in Computer Science as well as Calculus and Sociology. In addition, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family. As member of the University of California, Merced community, Belyeu enjoys participating in various campus events.


Adam Nasser – Team Member

Adam Nasser is a first year Computer Science/Engineering student. He is a new team member of the Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning Team. Nasser chose this team because of his interest and concern for young inmates. He has several peers who experienced the hardship and struggle of being an inmate, and found the mission of Merritt Partners very interesting. Nasser is willing to learn more about working on an Engineering Service Learning team. He is open to trying new things and wants to learn more from his elders. One fun fact about Nasser is that he has a roommate on the same team as him. He believes that Merit Partners is a great opportunity for him to accomplish his goals.