Orange County Chapter provides awards to exceptional PhD students at UC Irvine. The year 2020-2021 the chapter has funded 18 ARCS Scholars.
At our Awards Dinner, the ARCS Scholars showcase their contributions in the fields of science, engineering and medicine and, enlight us with their vision for a better future. This yearly event is a wonderful chance to meet the ARCS Scholars, and learn about their research during the poster session/reception. Keynote speakers are second year ARCS Scholars who speak about their research.
1st Year Scholars
2nd Year Scholars
Ph.D., Neurobiology and Behavior, UC Irvine, 2021 expected
M.S., Neurobiology and Behavior, UC Irvine, 2018
B.A., Neuroscience, Scripps College, 2016
Neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Mathew Blurton-Jones
Amanda was recruited to UCI with the Graduate Deans Recruitment and the Francisco J. Ayala fellowships and is currently seeking a PhD studying neuroimmunology in Alzheimer’s disease. She is particularly interested in using stem cell models to study human immune cells and model genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of this research is to discover new targets for future Alzheimer’s therapeutics. Amanda is also passionate about teaching neuroscience to both kids and adults alike and has become co-chair of REMIND (Research and Education in Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders) to continue this outreach. Outside of work, Amanda enjoys growing herbs and vegetables in her garden and dancing every style of dance!
Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, UC Irvine, 2022 expected
M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, UC Irvine, 2018
B.S., Physics, UCLA, 2015
Computational quantum chemistry, nanocatalysis
Dr. Regina Ragan
Chloe graduated early with a B.S. in Physics from UCLA in 2015. Her path led her to both Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Intel where she was inspired to pursue graduate studies and apply for the National Science Foundation fellowship, which she won. Now, her Ph.D. research investigates single atom catalysis with quantum chemistry computer simulations. Single-atom catalyst systems maximize catalytic performance while minimizing or completely replacing the use of expensive metals such as platinum in hydrogen fuel cells. Her other obsessions include city planning, house plants, and convincing people that science is cool.
Ph.D., Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, UC Irvine, 2022 expected
M.S., Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, UC Irvine, 2019
B.S., Chemical Engineering, UC San Diego, 2015
Development of Optical Platforms for Mechano-biology
Dr. Vasan Venugopalan and Dr. Elliot Botvinick
Bryce Wilson received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. As a 3rd year PhD student working under the mentorship of both Vasan Venugopalan and Elliot Botvinick at UCI he is focused on the development of an optical platform capable of exploring mechanotransduction in 3D microenvironments. Bryce is passionate about science communication and began writing for nationally syndicated public radio show, The Loh Down on Science, through UCI’s science communication network. Bryce is a NSF-GRFP fellow recognized for his passion for bringing science to general audiences.
Ph.D., Statistics, UC Irvine, 2022 expected
M.S., Statistics, UC Irvine, 2019
B.S., Applied Math and Chemistry, Biola University, 2017
Estimating prediction error under biased sampling, Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. Daniel L. Gillen
Olivia received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for her work on prediction assessment in biased samples. She was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Statistics in 2018. Her research is focused on prediction assessment under biased sampling with a focus on improving public health predictions and interventions, particularly in the area of Alzheimer’s Disease. She is a member in the lab of Dr. Daniel Gillen and Dr. Joshua Grill where her work focuses on improved efficiency, validity, and ethics in Alzheimer’s Disease clinical trials. She is the Co-Chair of the Outcomes Committee for the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Ambassador program.
Ph.D., Informatics, UC Irvine, 2021 expected
M.P.S., Public Service, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, 2016
M.A., Cultural Anthropology, University of West Florida, 2014
B.A., Anthropology, University of West Florida, 2011
Live streaming platforms, Video game culture
Dr. Aaron Trammell and Dr. Bonnie Ruberg
Amanda is a PhD candidate in the CATS (Critical Approaches to Technology and the Social) Lab in the Department of Informatics at UCI. While an undergraduate at the University of West Florida, she developed an interest in online and digital culture. Her research aims to demonstrate the importance of interventions which support diversity in media like video games. Amanda’s recent work focuses on opportunities and barriers for women in live streaming as a form of work and a place for social interaction. She continues to follow her passion for public service as a dedicated member of IGSA (Informatics Graduate Student Association) and as a peer mentor in the Competitive Edge program. Outside of the lab, Amanda enjoys spending time with her partner and their cat, playing video games, and reading.
Morgan received her B.S. in Molecular Biology from University of California, San Diego in 2016 where she studied the regulation of glucose uptake in brown adipose tissue. Her current Ph.D. thesis work at UC Irvine is focused on the molecular mechanisms that govern cross-talk between skin epithelial cells and the surrounding tissue environment. This year, she was awarded one of the CMCF center predoctoral fellow positions and a position on the Institute of Immunology’s Training Grant for 2020. In the future she aims to become a principal investigator of skin immunology. In her free time, Morgan enjoys the outdoors, playing intramural sports and crafting.
Ph.D., Environmental Health Sciences, UC Irvine, 2021 expected
B.Sc., Chemistry, UC Irvine, 2012
Sex-specific mechanisms of paclitaxel-induced normal tissue toxicity
Prof. Charles Limoli
After graduating with a major in Chemistry and minor in Women’s Studies at UC Irvine, Nicole joined the lab of Charles Limoli, where she started investigating the long-term neurocognitive dysfunction caused by cancer therapies in rodents as a Staff Research Associate and later as a graduate student. Her research led her to novel findings of a sex-specific mechanism of toxicity for the commonly used chemotherapeutic, paclitaxel, for which she received the UC Irvine pre-doctoral Institute for Clinical and Translational Science TL-1 trainee award. Nicole’s passion for her research extends outside the lab, where she engages in academic and community discussions about the importance of studying sex-differences in basic and clinical research as a Dissertation Fellow for UC Irvine’s Newkirk Center for Science and Society.
Solving generic polynomials and the theory of resolvent degree
Dr. Jesse Wolfson
Alex graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics in 2016. During the summer of 2015, Alex conducted research in commutative algebra at Willamette University as part of an NSF REU (mentor: Courtney Gibbons, Hamilton College). Alex is currently at UC Irvine, where he earned his M.Sc. in Mathematics in 2017. Alex’s dissertation research uses tools from algebraic geometry and topology to solve generic polynomials within the modern framework of resolvent degree. Around UC Irvine, Alex is interested in teaching and serves as a Pedagogical Fellow (2019), is a co-organizer for the Mathematics Graduate Student Colloquium, is a math department peer mentor, and does outreach with the Math Circle program. For the past 2 summers, Alex has worked with the non-profit organization BEAM as a summer faculty member to teach advanced math to under-served middle schoolers from NYC.
Beyond the Standard Model physics, dark matter, fundamental forces and elementary particles
Dr. Arvind Rajaraman
Rebecca is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a UC Irvine Chancellor’s Scholar in theoretical particle physics, where she studies dark matter, exotic species such as leptoquarks, and early universe cosmology. She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee as a Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar, where she studied computer engineering and mathematics before eventually finding her calling in physics and graduating early to join the theory group at UC Irvine. Rebecca believes her training as an engineer and a stint in the defense industry allow her to bring a unique and valuable perspective to tackling the foundational questions of the universe. She is a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor societies and was the lead electronics engineer on NASA’s Student Launch National Championship rocket team in 2016. In her spare time, Rebecca works toward her dream of becoming an astronaut by flying prop planes, practicing Russian, and staying fit through Latin dance and acroyoga.