CNAS Freshman Scholars Program

RISE Scholar Spotlight 2017

Our Scholar Spotlight highlights the work of UCR students who have participated in the Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) summer program. Each of these students earned $5,000.00 while conducting scientific research with a faculty mentor. At the end of the program, these scholars presented their research and findings at the Symposium for Undergraduate Research.

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A picture of Jolie Carreon, one of the RISE Scholar Spotlight students

Jolie Carreon is a rising sophomore and Biology major. Motivated by her passion for learning and supporting our community, Jolie is actively involved with the zur Nieden Research Group, the Medical Scholars Program, and the Riverside Free Clinic.

During RISE, Jolie’s research focused on determining phenotypic changes in bone development from tobacco exposure. Specifically, she studied the correlation between embryonic bone defects in mice with exposure to “harm-reduction” tobacco items (such as those that are non-combustible or have a lower concentration of nicotine). Through this research, Dr. Nicole zur Nieden and her lab aim to understand the types of fetal skeletal defects associated with harm-reduction tobacco products when used by expecting females.

Thanks to her RISE experience, Jolie has developed a new support group of fellow undergraduate researchers. When asked to share advice for future scholars, she expressed the importance of completing the CNAS Scholars LC program to ensure eligibility into RISE. Additionally, she encourages students to utilize all available resources to find a faculty mentor, such as researching faculty web pages and using the UCR undergraduate research portal. 




Picture of Richie Chu, one of the RISE Scholars from 2017

Richie Chu is a rising sophomore and Biochemistry major (emphasis in chemistry). He is an active member of UCR’s Circle K and is highly involved with the San Bernardino Free Clinic. With this ambition he has additionally become a RISE Scholar as of 2017, now working in Dr. Rong Hai's lab. 

During the RISE program Richie researched the impacts and benefits of using live-attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) over inactivated vaccines. As LAIVs have demonstrated advantages compared their inactivated counterparts, Dr. Hai’s research has and continues to greatly impact our understanding and ability to effectively treat influenza. Richie’s project focused on the creation of a virus construct that could act as an effective LAIV without the risk of virulence.

When asked for advice for aspiring RISE Scholars, Richie stressed the importance of finding a faculty mentor as soon as possible. By dedicating sufficient time to their faculty search, students are more likely to secure a research opportunity that’s best suited for them and that will allow them to feel truly accomplished. 




A picture of Chalisar Vasnarungruengkul, a RISE Scholar from 2017

 Chalisar Vasnarungruengkul is a rising junior and Biology major. Outside of undergraduate research, she serves as a Health Scholar at Riverside Community Hospital and an active member of Alpha Delta Pi. During the summer of 2017 Chalisar participated in the RISE program through her research position with Dr. Sean O’ Leary.

During her participation Chalisar studied the effects of poly(a) binding proteins on mRNA recognition for transition. Her project aligned with Dr. O’Leary’s study of the assemblies and networks of cellular functions to further define fundamental biology and enhance our societal understanding of cellular dysfunction in disease.

When asked to share her advice, Chalisar emphasized for aspiring researchers to pursue professional development opportunities for the right reasons. A scholar should not pursue an opportunity simply because it may look competitive, but because they are truly interested in dedicating their time to it. 

More Information

General Campus Information

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

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Department Information

CNAS Freshman Scholars Program
1223 Pierce Hall

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