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Vernal Pool Reserve Biographies for Spring 2017

Madeline Castro

Project Manager

Madeline Castro is a third year Earth System Science student. She works as a programing assistant for the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. Ms. Castro is the Project Manager for the Vernal Pools Reserve team. She chose the VPR team because she wanted to be involved with an environmental project. Academically, Ms. Castro is interested in Soil Science and wishes to continue her studies at graduate school after graduating from UC Merced in 2018. On her spare time Madeline enjoys swimming and cooking pastries.

Alyssa Valdez

Assistant Project Manager

Alyssa Valdez is a second year student pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Earth System Science. She is the Project manager for the Engineering Service Learning team, Vernal Pools Reserve. After being a part of the Engineering Service Learning team, Valdez became inspired by sustainable design and hopes to work for the US Green building council one day. Valdez enjoys going to the gym and making balloon animals in her free time! She hopes to gain more knowledge on solar design and the environmental impacts of various methods of energy suppliants while being a part of the Vernal Pools Reserve team.

Joshua Ahmed

Team Lead

Joshua Ahmed is a third year Mechanical Engineering student. Ahmed is the site team leader of the Engineering Service Learning Team Vernal Pool Reserves. He chose this team because he wanted to apply his test and knowledge in a real world engineering problem while also making an impact in the local community. Ahmed was part of service learning before in Team Get S.E.T where he picked up many skills that apply today. He also enjoys his time in Merced as a college student, who enjoys learning and having a good time in any challenging situation.

Derek Tan

Team Lead

Derek Tan is a first year student pursing his Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering major. He is a team leader for the cost team within Vernal Pool Reserve group. He chose this team because he has a passion of wanting to help convert gas powered equipment to solar in order to create a cost and energy efficient result. Tan wants to gain hands-on experience with projects as he wishes to pursue in the field of engineering in the future. Tan loves to spend his time playing sports when he is not in the classroom focusing on his education.

Shahrier Hussain

Team Lead

Shahrier Hussain is a third year bioengineering student. Hussain is the leader of the design team working under the Vernal Pool Reserve (VPR) project. Hussain’s role is to guide his team to find efficient and effective design options for setting up solar panels that may ultimately replace a diesel consuming generator. He chose to work in the VPR project because of his background in working in national parks and his love for the outdoors. Hussain believes that anyone can make a difference and that the VPR project can have lasting impacts far after he graduates.

Daniel Garcia

Daniel Garcia is a first year Mechanical Engineering student at UC Merced. Daniel is a team member of the Engineering Service Learning Vernal Pool Reserve team. He chose this team because he was interested in what this team could do for its community and how it could improve on what was already in place. Daniel is interested in a bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and would like to work in the automobile industry. He is a die-hard Liverpool F.C. fan since the age of 8 years old. He is looking forward to contributing to his team and help complete their objective.

Vanessa Andrade

Vanessa Andrade is a third year Mechanical Engineering student. Andrade is a member of the Vernal Pool Reserve. She chose this team because she is interested in preserving the Vernal Pool Grasslands and doing so by implementing a more environmentally friendly option, a solar powered groundwater pump. She hopes to gain hands-on experience from working in the Vernal Pools and be able to apply those skills in future opportunities. Andrade has a passion for the outdoors as well as endangered species which is why she joined this team. Along with that, she enjoys researching cars and hopes to work in the automobile industry one day.

Francisco Olmos

Francisco Olmos is a third year student pursuing his BS in Bioengineering. Olmos is very intrigued in sustainability and chose VPR because he is interested in the design process that can sustainably maintain all living creatures. Career wise, Olmos has a strong passion for biology/medicine to help others in need. He plans to work for an industry (research and development) that makes medical devices. His goal is to make efficient biomaterials or artificial body appendages to help those that need new body parts or organs. Overall, Olmos is a hard worker and through hands-on experience, hopes to gain valuable skills from this project.

Monica Portillo

Monica Portillo is a second year Bio-engineering student. Portillo is a team member of the Vernal Pools Reserve Team. She chose this team because she has a passion for designing and for the outdoors. She wants to help maintain the Vernal Pools and learn more about the endangered species on the reserve. She hopes to gain hands-on experience from working in the Vernal Pools that will be beneficial for future job opportunities. In her spare time, Portillo loves writing short stories and motivating others.  

Dongjun Cho

Dongjun Cho is a first-year Computer Science and Engineering. Cho is design team member of the VPR (Vernal Pool Reserve) team.  Cho has a big passion about Computer Science and Engineering and hopes to have a career in Computer Engineering. Cho is very introverted but, he works and finishes his work the best he can. Through Engineering Service Learning, Cho hopes to gain experience to work just like the job in real life. Cho chooses this team to learn about the relationship between solar panel energy and vernal pool reserve. Cho enjoys listening music and watching the movie.

Abraham Felix

Biography coming soon!

Danny Wu

Danny Wu is a second year Mechanical Engineer student. Wu is a team member of the Engineering Service Learning team, Vernal Pool Reserve. He has a strong passion and interest towards solar energy since he believes it would help revolutionize the way people use sustainable energy. For this purpose, he joined this team since it would allow him to learn more about solar energy and assist with the vernal pool ecosystem. In addition, he got accepted to work alongside UC Solar as a research intern, allowing him to shadow and grasp different applications using solar.

Daniel Espinoza

Daniel Espinosa is a first-year mechanical engineer pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Science. Espinosa hopes to apply his experience and knowledge as a leader and member in engineering design projects, as well as community service. He also has a desire of improving the environment by innovative means within the engineering field. He also wishes to apply his skills with digital designing to assist this project’s development as well as gaining experience and insight by taking part in this project. In his free time, he enjoys the going to the beach, hiking, dancing and playing volleyball. He also has a strong sense of cultural pride for his Colombian heritage.

Addison Brenneman

Communications Officer

Addison Brenneman is a third-year student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Merced. His experience in the Yosemite Leadership Program has inspired him to use his engineering skills to help the environment and contribute something worthwhile to the conservation effort. By joining the Vernal Pool Reserve group, he hopes to contribute to the effort that UC Merced has started to save the Vernal Pools that surround the UC Merced campus. He enjoys going for hikes in Yosemite or anywhere outside.

Ricardo Hernandez

Intellectual Property Officer

Ricardo Hernandez is a second year Mechanical Engineering student. Hernandez is the intellectual property officer of the Engineering Service Learning Team Vernal Pools Reserve. He chose this team because of his interest in working on the protected Vernal Pool Reserves and helping UC Merced reach its triple zero commitment. Taking on his role as intellectual property officer he hopes to better his time management and organizational skills which can be used later on in his professional career. Hernandez has been able to improve his communication skills by being a tour guide for University of California Merced.

Anthony Tran

Procurement and Finance Officer

Anthony Tran is a third year Environmental Engineering. He is the Procurement and Finance Officer for the Vernal Pool Engineering Service Learning team. He chose to join this team because of his high interest in environmental ecosystems and human roles and impacts on the systems. He hopes to learn valuable teamwork and professional skills in order to obtain a career in the hydrology industry after graduating. He spends his free time engaging into fictional books and movies and enjoying new restaurants and foods.