Five UC Santa Cruz undergraduates received awards for their research presentations at the 2014 Statewide Symposium of the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP).

Held this year at UC Irvine from February 7 to 9, the annual conference gives students an opportunity to share their scholarly work and grow in confidence in their own abilities to communicate effectively with faculty and peers. For first time presenters, the event is a gateway to other venues of scientific discourse.

Two UCSC students won Special Merit Plaques at the symposium:

Steven Paniagua was honored for his presentation on "Kinesin-1 linker proteins involved during cytoplasmic streaming in Drosophila oocytes." His adviser is William Saxton, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, and his research is funded through the UCSC Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program.

Sharon Idiga was honored for her presentation on a "Peroxynitrite-generating platform." Her adviser is Pradip Mascharak, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and her research is funded through the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program.

Three UCSC students won Merit Medals:

Joanna Flores was recognized for her presentation on "How do high school students express their uncertainty in their data-based arguments related to the existence of exoplanets?" Her adviser is Hee-Sun Lee, adjunct professor of physics, and her research is funded through the CAMP program.

Ian Weaver won a medal for his presentation on "Modeling mass transfer in a semi-detached binary system." His adviser is Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and his research is funded through the MARC Program.

Daniel Mckernan won a medal for his presentation on "The isolation of a novel mycobateriophage and the function of the repressor protein in mycobacteriophage Lrrhood." His adviser is Grant Hartzog, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, and his research was initially funded through the NIH ACCESS Program.

Three UCSC faculty members served as judges and mentors at the symposium: Ted Holman, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Phil Crews, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Chad Saltikov, professor of microbiology and environmental toxicology. A total of 11 UCSC undergraduates attended the conference this year.

CAMP is a statewide alliance funded by the National Science Foundation's Louise Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. The program offers support for underrepresented undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Support includes research internships, book loan program, tutoring, conference travel, poster printing, professional development training, and GRE preparation. The goal of the UCSC CAMP Program is to increase the diversity of those who complete their bachelor's degrees in a STEM major.