CNAS Freshman Scholars Program

Promoting Engagement, Retention, and Success in STEM Training (PERSIST)

Interested in applying? Deadline is Friday, May 26th by 4pm at Pierce Hall 1223. Applications here.

The UCR PERSIST Program is a year-long sophomore success program that aims to continue the support provided by the CNAS Learning Communities. PERSIST intends to do so by further enhancing the academic performance and research experience of previous Learning Community students, now sophomores. Students in this program will receive consistent peer mentoring, financial support, and extensive exposure to undergraduate research. At the end of the program all PERSIST students will receive a guaranteed seat in Research in Science and Engineering (RISE).

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To be considered for the PERSIST program, all applicants must:

  • Be a current CNAS major with a genuine interest in research.
  • Have completed the full year of the CNAS Learning Community program.
    • Must have began FR year in either MATH 6A or MATH 5.
  • Be entering their 2nd second year at UCR the first quarter of the program (Fall).
  • Be willing to commit to the full year of the program, which includes participating in RISE in the summer. 

How to Apply

The call for applications will be made in Spring quarter, which will include the application materials needed for students to submit. Please check back closer to this time for more information. 


Program Structure

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer:

  • Students receive a $1,500.00 stipend Fall, Winter, and Spring to provide financial support.
  • Students will receive consistent one-on-one support and attend workshops facilitated by our PERSIST Peer Mentors. Our Peer Mentors are academically successful and highly accomplished students who have conducted undergraduate research and have participated in RISE.


  • Students will enroll in a research-based student seminar (NASC-092) taught by Dr. Jack Eichler Winter quarter. This course will expose students to the process of research in STEM and introduce them to faculty conducting research at UC, Riverside.
  • Students will visit the Claremont Keck Graduate Institute to learn about research Winter quarter. 
  • Students will attend the Early Student Career Planning Expo Winter quarter.



Primary Investigators

The implementation and success of PERSIST is due to the efforts of the Primary Investigators (PI) for our program's grant funding. We acknowledge and thank you for your commitment to undergraduate student success:

  • Dr. Michael A. McKibben. CNAS Divisional Dean of Student Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Geology
  • Dr. Sue Wessler. Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair and Distinguished Professor of Genetics

PERSIST Peer Mentors

 Picture of the PERSIST Peer Mentors sitting on the Scotty the Bear bench, with the Scotty statue inbetween them

Featured (left to right) Ryan Figueras, Scotty the Bear, Sabrina Sedano

PERSIST students will receive consistent one-on-one support from the PERSIST Peer Mentor team every quarter of the program. Our Peer Mentors are highly successful and motivated CNAS students with extensive undergraduate research experience. 


Ryan Figueras

3rd Year Biochemistry Major

  • Undergraduate research (designing small molecule inhibitors for novel human enzymes) w Dr. Jeff Perry
  • Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) Scholar
  • UCR Vietnamese Student Association, member
  • Aikido Club of UCR, Officer

Sabrina Sedano

3rd Year Chemistry Major

  • Undergraduate research (Synthesizing micro/nano hydrogels for pathogen detection and diagnosis) w Dr. Wenwan Zhong
  • Success in Science & Technology: Engaging with Role Models (SISTERS) Program, Director
  • Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) Scholar
  • Advancement Ambassador
  • Kuwana Sawyer Scholar
  • CNAS Ambassador
  • AVID Tutor

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

CNAS Freshman Scholars Prgoram
1223 Pierce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5326
Fax: (951) 827-2243
E-mail: cnasscholars@ucr.edu