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Project Protect Biographies for Spring 2017

Leo Alonso Cabrera

Project Manager

Leo Alonso Cabrera is a 3rd-year Computer Science and Engineering student with a minor in Management and Business Economics. This is his 3rd semester serving the Project Protect team, and his second semester leading the project. He chose this team because he felt passionate about being able to apply his skill in computer programming to being able to help the community at large. Even though he enjoys his degree, he often finds himself immersing himself in a wide array of topics, ranging from politics to music and cooking. He loves to cook on his free time for his friends and family.

Brandyn Ryan

Assistant Project Manager

Brandyn Ryan is a fourth year Environmental Engineering student. Ryan is a local from the Merced community and takes great pride in the fact that he helped start the water polo club here at UC Merced. He chose the Project Protect team because it gave him a chance to help a community that he has grown up around in his life. Ryan has also shown an interest in areas such as energy and water conversation and would like to in the future to help communities better implement strategies to combat droughts.

Rocky Lo

Team Lead

Rocky Lo is a second-year Computer Science and Engineering major. He is a member of the Engineering Service Learning team, Project Protect. Lo chose the team because of his interest in both developing applications as well as being able to interact with the diverse ethnic cultures within Merced. Lo was a part of the Project Protect team last semester and hopes to help complete and deliver the app by the end of this semester, believing that his experience from last semester will be crucial to its completion. During his free time, Lo enjoys reading, playing tennis, and relaxing with friends.

Michael Issa

Team Lead

Michael Issa is a first-year Computer Science and Engineering student. Issa is a passionate team leader of the Engineering Service Learning team Project Protect. He proudly picked this project because it gave him the opportunity to aid the elderly. Currently, he is working on an app to make campus information more accessible. Academically, Issa is interested in coding and using his codes to help the campus function more thoroughly. In his spare time, you can find Issa playing soccer or coding his own programs that are geared towards assisting others.

Katelyn Fitzgerald

Communications Officer

Katelyn Fitzgerald is a fourth year Developmental Biology student. She is the communications director of the Engineering Service Learning team Project Protect. Fitzgerald chose this group because she felt the class would prepare her for the world of medicine and community involvement, as well as give her opportunities to see what the Merced community could offer its citizens. Having experience with outreach and communications from her other roles on campus, Fitzgerald hopes she can integrate the mission of Project Protect into her professional work to use all levels of her commitments to best serve the community.

Vanessa Funes

Intellectual Property Officer

Vanessa Funes is a third-year Biology major with an emphasis on Human Biology and is perusing a minor on Natural Science Education. She is the Intellectual Property Officer for the Project Protect team. Funes is part of the American Medical Student Association and is an officer for UNICEF on campus. She chose Project Protect because she has a strong zeal for helping others especially those in underserved communities. Her future goals are to become a doctor and provide medical access for women and children in underdeveloped countries. As a leisure, Funes loves to draw and tutor elementary school students.

Josue Mejia

Procurement and Finances Officer

Josue Mejia is a third year Bioengineering major student. Mejia is the Procurement and Finance Officer of the Engineering Service Learning team Project Protect. He chose this project because it gave him an opportunity to help the community who are in need of assistance when it comes to understanding information on antibiotics. Mejia has a strong passion for helping others and hopes to have a career in the biomedical engineering industry. Through hands-on experience, he hopes to gain valuable skills from working on a medically oriented app and working with others. Mejia enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends.

Joseph Lim 

Joseph Lim is a first-year student and is majoring in Computer Science. Lim came from a private high school where he was taught the formation themes of leadership skills he would use later throughout his life. Lim has reached out to the community directly and indirectly throughout high school, demonstrating his humble character. He has strong faith towards his religion which has helped him overcome the toughest moments of his life.  Lim joined Project Protect to incorporate the skills he learned to a larger community, and address an issue within it to strengthen his characteristics and test his abilities to work.

Danny Her

Danny Her is a first-year Computer Science and Engineering major. He is a member of the Engineering Service Learning team, Project Protect.  Her chose the team because of his interest in both developing applications as well as interacting with the diverse ethnic cultures within Merced.  He has a passion for assisting and helping the Merced community because it is his hometown. During his spare time, her volunteers alongside non-profit organizations such as the Merced Breakfast Lion’s Club and El Capitan Leo Club. Her enjoys playing basketball and learning about the Hmong culture during his free time.

Justin Perez

Justin Perez is a first-year student pursuing a Bioengineering major. He is a member of Project Protect, an Engineer Service Learning team that works for Healthy House. He is originally from Orange County and spends his free time watching and playing basketball and football. He joined the team in order to better service the community, while also learning how to become a better engineer in the process. This project also coincides with his academic goals, as he wishes to possibly do similar projects once he graduates UC Merced as a Bioengineer.

Ethan Pobst

Ethan Pobst is a first-year student working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Pobst is a member of the QA Insurance team operating within Project Protect. Pobst’s desire to assist others led him to Haiti where he worked as part of a team providing health and rehabilitation services to those in need. Seeking a way to bridge the language barrier between people and those meaning to assist them, Pobst joined Project Protect to further help those in need. In his spare time, Pobst engages in the humble art of blacksmithing and is an avid reader.

Jessica Gonzalez

Jessica Gonzalez is a second-year Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology student. Jessica is part of the Project Protect Team. She chooses it because it gave her the chance to examine how the bacteria interact with the environment leading to the antibiotic resistance, and what possible ways can it be reversed as much as it can. Academically, Gonzalez is interested in researching diseases and hopes that this class can be a step up in her getting as much experience as she can. Jessica loves finding new music to listen to and going to museums back in her SoCal communities.