CNAS Freshman Scholars Program

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

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 one-unit research seminar (NASC-092) taught by Dr. Jack Eichler. This seminar will introduce participants to the process of STEM research. Following this course, students will take an additional NASC-092 seminar in Winter. 
  • Students will visit the Claremont Keck Graduate Institute to learn about research and job opportunities in biotechnology. 


  • Students will enroll in the second section of NASC-092 taught by Dr. Jack Eichler. This seminar will focus on introducing PERSIST students to faculty conducting research currently at UC, Riverside. 
  • 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

Jose Mendez

3rd year Biology Major

Emily Harris, one of the CNAS PERSIST Peer Mentors

  • RISE Scholar (2017)
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences
  • Care Ambassador for Kaiser Permanente
  • AVID Rock Climber
  • Honors Program

Quinten B. Yurek

4th year Physics Major

A Picture of Sabrina Sedano, CNAS PERSIST Peer Mentor

  • 2D Materials Researcher, Dr. Bartel’s group (2015-present)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Honors Society
  • Delta Chi Fraternity, President
  • 2017 Semiconductor Research Corporation Fellow
  • 2016 National Science Foundation MacREU R'Side Intern

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 Program
1223 Pierce Hall

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