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LSAMP BRIDGE-TO-DOCTORATE PROGRAM AT UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON

Our current LSAMP BD fellows are
Ms. Nagham Alatrash 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Chemistry 
mentor: Dr. Frederick MacDonnell 
degree: B.S. in Chemistry, May 2009, University of Texas Pan American
Nagham was born and grew up in Syria. After finishing high school in Syria, she moved to the United States and attended the University of Texas Pan American majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. She was an LSAMP scholar during January-December in 2008 and was involved in undergraduate and was involved in undergraduate research under the supervision of Dr. Hassan Ahmad, investigating the effect of green tea polyphenols in cancer prevention. She continued her research in the spring of 2009 as a Biochemistry Research Assistant and served as a lab manager in Dr. Ahmad's research laboratory. Nagham received her B.S. degree from the University of Texas Pan American in May 2009. In the summer of 2010 she worked as a Cardiothoracic Research Assistant at Rhode Island Hospital. Nagham started her doctoral studies in Fall 2010 in the Chemistry Department at University of Texas at Arlington and she will be doing her research under the supervision of Prof. Frederick MacDonnell.

Mr. Ernesto Garcia 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Mathematics 
mentor: Dr. Tuncay Aktosun 
degree: B.S. in Mathematics (cum laude), May 2010, University of Texas at Arlington
Ernesto was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in North Richland Hills, TX. He graduated in 2006 from Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, and started the University of Texas at Arlington majoring in Mathematics with a Management Science Option and a minor in Physics. In May 2010 he received his B.S. degree with academic distinction cum laude, and in the summer of 2010 he started the Ph.D. program in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington. Ernesto was a participant in the 2008 summer NREUP (National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program) under the supervision of Prof. Aktosun, where he investigated some nonlinear partial differential equations and their soliton solutions. During the academic year 2008-2009 he gained additional research experience under the supervision of Prof. Kribs Zaleta in the area of mathematical biology modeling the Chagas disease. In order to present his research results, Ernesto have attended various conferences such as the 2008 MAA MathFest in Madison WI, the 2008 National SACNAS Conference in Salt Lake City, the 2009 Joint Mathematics Meeting in Washington DC, and the 2009 MAA Texas Section Meeting in Denton TX. His joint presentation with Carolina Liskey at the 2008 summer MAA MathFest won a SIAM best presentation award, and his presentations at the 2009 and 2010 MAA Texas Section Meeting won the best presentation awards. For his 2009 summer LSAMP research Ernesto collaborated with Antonio Lopez and Ezgihan Baydar on mathematical aspects of photonic crystals and the determination of allowed and forbidden frequencies when the index of refraction is known. Ernesto wrote his undergraduate honors thesis on soliton solutions of certain integrable nonlinear partial differential equations and his HURCA presentation based on that research won the first prize in the spring of 2010. In his free time Ernesto likes to exercise, play sports, and watch sports games. 

Mr. Betsegaw Gebrehiwot 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Spring 2011 
field: Mechanical Engineering 
mentor: Dr. Dereje Agonafer 
degree: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, December 2010, University of Texas at Arlington
Betsegaw was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and studied at the Nativity Catholic Cathedral School until he graduated from high school in 2001. He then started studying mechanical engineering at the Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. Before getting his B.S. degree, he came to the U.S. and in 2007 resumed his studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. He expects to earn his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in December 2010 and to start graduate studies toward a Ph.D. degree in January 2011 at UT Arlington. In the summer of 2010 as an LSAMP scholar he did undergraduate research under the supervision of Prof. Dereje Agonafer and investigated inverted notched fin arrays and vapor chambers for electronic cooling systems. Betsegaw is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In his free time he likes to play chess, billiards, ping-pong, and tennis. 

Mr. Alexis Gonzalez 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Aerospace Engineering 
mentor: Dr. Bernd Chudoba 
degree: B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, May 2009, University of Texas at Arlington
Lex was born in El Paso TX and grew up in McKinney TX. While attending the McKinney North High School he became interested in mathematics and physics, and after watching the movie "October Sky" he decided to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. He started in August 2005 as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was introduced to the multidisciplinary environment of aerospace vehicle design while taking his senior design (capstone) course. In his final undergraduate semester he began working in the Aerospace Vehicle Design Laboratory under the supervision of Prof. Bernd Chudoba. Lex and his senior design teammate Brandon Watters authored a paper based on their senior design research project; that paper was accepted and presented at the 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition. Lex received his B.S. degree in May 2009 in Aerospace Engineering and started the doctoral program at the University of Texas at Arlington in Fall 2010. Under Dr. Chudoba's supervision Lex is now doing research on the selection and integration of propulsion system design processes in a multidisciplinary design setting. 

Ms. Sarah Hernandez 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Physics 
mentor: Dr. Asok Ray 
degree: B.S. in Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, May 2007, Texas Christian University 
degree: M.S. in Physics, August 2009, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Sarah was born in Fort Worth, Texas and attended the Paschal High School there. She continued her education at the Texas Christian University (TCU), where she majored in Physics and Astronomy and Mathematics and was a part of the Society of Physics Students and the Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority. In the summer of 2006, she participated in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Research (NNIN) Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin, and she investigated the magnetic properties of 2 nm or below dodecanethiol capped gold nano-particles. She presented her work at the NNIN Convocation at Cornell University. She loved her research experience and continued doing research under the supervision of Dr. Zerda at the TCU. The research consisted of brazing nano-diamond silicon carbide composite onto stainless steel. She presented her work at the Student Research Symposium at the TCU and won the Best Undergraduate Poster award for the physics department. After receiving her B.S. degree in Physics in May 2007, Sarah started her graduate studies at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she worked with Dr. Michael Pechan and investigated the magnetic properties of Permalloy exchange coupled nano-dots. This work resulted in two publications in the Journal of Applied Physics and it was presented at three conferences: the 53rd Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials in November 2008 in Austin, at the American Physical Society March Meeting in March 2009 in Pittsburgh, and at the Ohio Innovation Summit in April 2009 in Dayton. Sarah received her M.S. degree in Physics in August 2009 from the Miami University. She is now pursing her Ph.D. degree in Physics under the supervision of Dr. A. K. Ray and will be researching the magnetic properties of the actinides, particularly plutonium. In her free time, she enjoys going to the movies and also spending time with her husband and daughter. 

Ms. Jessica Mooney 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Materials Science and Engineering 
mentor: Dr. Meletis Efstathios 
degree: B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (with honors), May 2009, Texas A&M University
Jessica was born in Columbia, Missouri. In January 2010 she started her graduate studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she is currently a Ph.D. student in Materials Science Engineering studying under Dr. Meletis. Her current research involves superhard transition metal silicon nitride thin films and coatings. Before graduate school, she attended college at Texas A&M University, where she focused heavily in the area of materials science and biomaterials both in her coursework and in the laboratory, gained research experience in polymer nanocomposite materials beginning in the Spring of 2007, and graduated with honors in May 2009 with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering. Jessica also earned a polymer technology certificate for coursework completed in polymer engineering from Texas A&M University when she graduated. During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years Jessica's undergraduate research was sponsored by the LSAMP program at Texas A&M; her involvement with the LSAMP program and her exposure as an undergraduate student to various aspects of materials engineering had a large impact on her decision to pursue a doctoral degree in Materials Science Engineering. 

Ms. Samara Morris-Bobzean 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Psychology 
mentor: Dr. Linda Perrotti 
degree: B.A. in Psychology, August 2009, University of Texas at Arlington
Samara was born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Texas at Arlington and obtained her B.A. degree in Psychology in August 2009. As an undergraduate student in the summer of 2009 Samara received her undergraduate research experience funded by the NIH when she had a prestigious internship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore and interacted with some leading neuroscientists dedicated to similar areas of research. Since the fall of 2009 she has been a doctoral student at UT Arlington in the Health Psychology and Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychology. She is currently doing her research under the supervision of Dr. Linda Perrotti, and in Dr. Perrotti's neuroscience addiction research lab Samara is investigating the biological basis of sex differences in Pavlovian conditioned responses to drugs of abuse. She is particularly interested in effects of ovarian hormones on cocaine induced alterations in intracellular dopamine signaling in the brain reward pathway. Samara is a student member of the Society for Neuroscience and the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences. Upon receiving of her Ph.D. degree she hopes to pursue a postdoctoral position at a major research university. Her ultimate career goal is to become a leading neuroscientist by using behavioral, biochemical, and molecular techniques to study the neural mechanisms which contribute to sex differences in addiction. Outside of school, Samara enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Anakin and Maynard. 

Mr. Iván Ojeda-Ruiz 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Mathematics 
mentor: Dr. Tuncay Aktosun 
degree: B.S. in Mathematics and B.S. in Chemistry (with honors), August 2010, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
Iván was born and raised in Puerto Rico. While in high school he attended the Colegio Santisima Trinidad in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and then he attended the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. He received his B.S. degree in Mathematics and a B.S. degree in Chemistry and graduated with honors in August 2010. In the summer of 2008 he participated in theMSRI-UP (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Undergraduate Program) in Berkeley, California. In the summer of 2009 he participated in the SPIRE-EIT (Summer Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education, Emerging Interface Technologies) in Ames, Iowa. Based on his undergraduate research, Iván gave poster presentations at the 2008 annual SACNAS National Conference in Salt Lake City, at the SIDIM (Seminario Interuniversitario de Investigacion en Matematicas) in March 2009 on the Rio Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, and at the SERMACS (American Chemical Society Southeastern Regional Meeting) in October 2009 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Iván's research interests include applied mathematics, discrete mathematics, and graph theory. In the Fall of 2010 Iván started the doctoral program in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington and has been supported as an LSAMP-BD fellow. In his free time Iván enjoys listening to music, playing the guitar, drawing, reading newspapers, playing competitive video games, and dancing. 

Ms. Angela Osen 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Earth and Environmental Sciences; 
mentor: Dr. Arne Winguth 
degree: B.S. in Geology (magna cum laude), December 2009, University of Texas at Arlington
Angela graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a major in Geology and minor in Biology. She was motivated by her undergraduate research experience supported by Prof. Arne Winguth's NSF grant; this collaborative grant involved an investigation of catastrophic climate and environmental change associated with the largest mass extinction in Earth's history. Angela started her graduate studies at the University of Texas at Arlington in the spring of 2010 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Earth and Environmental Science. Her current research is in collaboration with Profs. Chris Scotese, Arne Winguth, and Cornelia Winguth and involves continuing to understand and explain possible causes that may have led to that largest known mass extinction that occurred approximately 250 million years ago. The Permian-Triassic boundary was a time of significant climatic and geological changes for the planet, but the exact cause (or causes) of the extinction is currently unknown. By utilizing a community climate simulation model created by the NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Angela is investigating the possibility of a sluggish oceanic circulation which may have led to anoxia (oxygen starvation) in the Permian oceans. By studying past events, she hopes to gain a better understanding of what could possibly happen to our current environment as climatic conditions change. Angela is currently a member of the Society of Sigma Gamma Epsilon (the National Honor Society for the Earth Sciences), the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the Arlington Archosaur Site. She enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, camping, as well as rock and fossil hunting. 

Mr. Joseph Salazar 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Fall 2010 
field: Earth and Environmental Sciences 
mentor: Dr. Glen Mattioli 
degree: degree: B.S. in Geology, June 2010, California State University, San Bernardino
Joseph was born in Fontana, California and raised in the small town of Oak Hills, California. After graduating from Serrano High School in Phelan, CA, he attended the California State University in San Bernardino, where he majored in Geology (with concentrations in general and environmental geology) and minored in Mathematics and received his B.S. degree in June 2010. San Bernardino for his undergraduate degree. There he acquired his B.S. degree in As an undergraduate student Joseph participated in various research activities under the supervision of Drs. Alan Smith and Sally McGill. For example, in the summers of 2008 and 2009 he participated in an REU program in Sen Bernardino jointly funded by the NSF and the SCEC (Southern California Earthquake Center). This research involved geodetic surveying of the San Bernardino mountains and surrounding areas, it provided GPS data for the San Andreas fault, and it was useful to the SCEC in seismic hazard analysis. Based on his research Joseph gave presentations at the 2009 SCEC Annual Meeting in September 2009 in Palm Springs, CA and at the 2009 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in October 2009 in Portland, OR. Based on his successes Joseph was named the 2010 outstanding undergraduate student in the Department of Geological Sciences at the California State University, San Bernardino. Joseph's professional memberships include the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Inland Geological Society, and the Geological Society of America. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Texas at Arlington. The LSAMP-BD fellowship has enabled Joseph with the opportunity to be the first of his family to obtain a doctorate level of education. 

Ms. Marianna Vallejo 
NSF-LSAMP-BD fellow starting Spring 2011 
field: Mechanical Engineering 
mentor: Dr. Dereje Agonafer 
degree: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, August 2010, University of Texas at Arlington
Marianna was born in Dallas, TX and grew up in the Dallas metro area. She graduated in 2000 from Crandall High School and started the University of Texas at Arlington majoring in Mechanical Engineering. In August 2010 she received her B.S. degree along with minors in Nuclear Engineering and English. She will begin her Ph.D. work in the Spring of 2011 in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UT Arlington. As a 2010 summer LSAMP Scholar, Marianna gained research experience under the supervision of Dr. Dereje Agonafer at the Electronics MEMS & Nanoelectronics Systems Packaging Center at UT Arlington. She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and theAmerican Nuclear Society, and she has held multiple leadership positions for the UTA chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Marianna hopes to continue on in academia upon concluding her doctoral studies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, photography, travel, and spending time with family and friends.
   
Program Funding Information Minimize    

The UT System LSAMP program is funded by the National Science Foundation grant number HRD-1202008. Funding for the Bridge to the Doctorate projects is provided by NSF grant numbers HRD-0832951 (BD 2008-2010), HRD-0929727 (BD 2009-2011), HRD-1139929 (BD 2011-2013), and HRD-1301858 (BD 2013-2015).
The UT System LSAMP Program
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