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School of Natural Sciences

CREST STEM Camp & CCBM Virtual Sessions


Engaging activities focused on the National Science Foundation-funded CREST center’s research and education mission in engineering, biological science, physics, chemistry, and computational science will include hands-on activities, projects, lectures, discussions, campus tours, lab tours, trainings, research activities and interactions with scientists and engineers. The sessions will enrich students’ understanding of the opportunities abundant in STEM fields, as well as the capacity of STEM to positively impact society. Students will also get a better understanding of what it is like to do scientific research and what it is like to be a scientist. Participants will gain knowledge of what a college campus is like.

Register Here

July 25-29, 2022

9 am – 4 pm

Target Audience: For those entering grades 6-8 in fall 2022.

Students bring their own lunches, snacks, and water bottles each day. No cost.

CCBM Virtual Sessions 2022

Register Here

Other sessions to be posted in summer 2022.


Introduction to Computer Simulations in Physics, from Forest Fires to Salad Dressing

Led by Prof. Daniel Beller, Johns Hopkins University

August 2, 3, & 4, 2022 (3 sessions – participants should attend the three days)

10:00 - 11:30 am Pacific

Via Zoom

We will have a hands-on introduction to how computer simulations are used in scientific research, focusing on a versatile kind of simulation called "lattice models." We will examine simulations of real-world topics such as forest fires, oil-water separation in salad dressing, and the spread of diseases. In a series of guided activities, participants will use and edit Python programs through an Internet browser and will discover small changes in parameters that dramatically affect the simulated results. Preparation instructions will be sent before the session.

Daniel Beller is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Physics and Astronomy, and previously an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Merced, in the Department of Physics. He and his research group use mathematical modeling and computer simulations to study the physics of soft materials, with properties intermediate between conventional liquids and solids. One of their major interests is liquid crystals, which flow like a liquid but behave in other ways like solid crystals. Professor Beller’s group also studies the physics of life at the cellular scale, aiming to understand collective effects that can only occur when many cells or many proteins work together.

Target audience: Middle School Students, High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


Extracting DNA from Strawberries

Led by Prof. Xuecai (Susan) Ge, University of California, Merced

August 2, 2022

1:00-2:00 pm Pacific

Via Zoom

We will first learn some basics about the hereditary material DNA: its structure, replication, and how it determines the appearance of living things. We will then have a hands-on activity to extract DNA from fresh strawberries. To participate in the hands-on activity, we suggest participants prepare the materials for the lesson. Most of these materials can be found in the kitchen, and the list will be sent before the session.  

Xuecai Ge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Merced. Her laboratory studies how the brain is formed at the fetal stage and how gene mutations cause diseases in newborns and children. She teaches cell biology to UC Merced undergraduate students and likes to spend time with young students.

Target audience: Students entering 5th-8th grade


Modeling Cell Movements on a Computer

Led by Prof. Kinjal Dasbiswas, University of California, Merced

August 16, 17, & 18, 2022
4:00-5:00 pm Pacific (3 sessions – participants should attend the three days)
Via Zoom

In this hands-on computational workshop, we will analyze microscopy images of molecular motors and then learn about the physics and mechanics of cell division. We will also use computer code in Python to model the formation of liquid droplets inside cells and see them divide like cells. Preparation instructions will be sent before the session.

Kinjal Dasbiswas is a theoretical physicist working to uncover the principles behind the organization of biological matter occurring in cells and tissue. He uses mathematical modeling and computation to study the amazing scientific phenomena you might see under a microscope in a biology lab. This is his fourth year as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Merced.

Patrick Noerr is a theorist interested in the role that mechanical interactions play in biological systems. He utilizes both analytic and computational methods to model and predicts the behavior of systems of cells. Mr. Noerr is currently finishing his third year as a Physics graduate student at the University of California, Merced.

Target audience: High School Students and Teachers


College Readiness and STEM Disciplines

Led by Dr. Petia Gueorguieva, STEM Resource Center Coordinator, University of California, Merced

August 23, 2022

4:00-5:00 pm Pacific

Via Zoom

In an informal, interactive setting, we will discuss education/STEM education matters and college readiness. We will explore the value of collecting information and implementing good academic practices in high school, so students become college-ready and make educated college and financial choices. A presentation will be shared with the audience. 

Petia Gueorguieva is the Coordinator for UC Merced’s STEM Resource Center, where she guides students to navigate their STEM majors and achieve their academic goals. Previously, she taught college chemistry and student-success courses. Petia holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Louisiana State University and an M.S. in Physical Sciences Education from Sofia University, Bulgaria. 

Target Audience: High School Students, Teachers, Community Members


CCBM Executive Director, Carrie Kouadio  

Click here to see past CCBM Sessions