ARCS Scholar Awards
ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation, Inc. advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding U.S. citizens studying to complete degrees in science, engineering and medical research. It is ARCS Foundation's belief that support of STEM education is essential to U.S. economic growth and technological competitiveness, and helps to ensure continued U.S. leadership in global innovation, health and quality of life.
ARCS Scholar Awards are intended to recognize and reward UC Irvine's most academically superior doctoral students exhibiting outstanding promise as scientists, researchers and leaders. Each Scholar will receive a $5,000 stipend during the current academic year and, contingent upon continued satisfactory academic progress, will receive an additional $5,000 the following academic year. ARCS funding is in addition to existing support and may not be used as a substitute for other university support.
Each school holds its own competition and selects its recipients of ARCS Scholar Awards. UCI is required to abide by ARCS criteria in making selections without regard to race, color, creed or gender and in the administration of allocated funds.
$5,000 stipend per year for two years.
Each school holds its own competition and makes the final selection of its scholars who meet the following minimum criteria:
- Must have achieved a graduate level UC GPA of 3.5 or better through Spring 2020 quarter.
- Must have have completed at least two years of graduate study, with at least two years remaining before degree completion.
- Must be making satisfactory progress toward their degree goal.
- Must be a U.S. citizen.
- Must have identified their individual area of research interest and be willing to prepare a poster board of their research for display at the awards dinner.
- Must have exhibited excellent interpersonal and leadership abilities during their academic program.
- Please note this change: must have advanced to candidacy at the time of application/nomination
Students should check with their schools for internal deadlines and procedures before submitting any materials. Schools submit their selected scholar packets to Graduate Division, to include the following:
- A completed UCI ARCS Foundation Scholar Award Nomination form
- A completed Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Student Biographical Profile with a 100-word student bio
- A current CV
- A statement by the awardee of no more than 2-3 pages in length, describing their research project, progress to date, and plan for completion
- A confidential evaluation of the student by their faculty advisor (multiple letters are acceptable)
- Letters from the program advisor, department chair, and associate dean
The selection process will include a personal interview; each student must be able and willing to speak articulately about their career goals and research.
The 2020-2021 competition is November 6, 2020.
ARCS Program Coordinator
About the ARCS Foundation
ARCS Foundation, Inc. is a national nonprofit volunteer women's organization that promotes American competitiveness by supporting talented U.S. citizens working to complete degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and health disciplines in top-rated programs at leading U.S. universities. Since its founding in 1958, ARCS Foundation has provided more than 9,600 graduate students of science with awards totaling nearly $100 million. ARCS Scholars have gone on to positions of leadership and distinction across academia, industry and government. Nine out of 10 ARCS Scholars work in their sponsored fields - sharing knowledge, developing technologies, launching startup companies, and inspring youth to pursue the challenge of study and careers in STEM fields.
ARCS 2016-2017 Scholars
- Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- B.S., Marine Biology, American University, 2012
The evolution and physiology of disease resistance
Advisor: Dr. Donovan German
I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Marine Biology from American University (Washington, D.C.) in 2012. While there, I worked with Dr. Kiho Kim and collaborators Drs. David Baker (HKU) and Marilyn Fogel (UC Riverside). I studied nitrogen isotopes in mangrove forests as a method for tracking pollution over time in Guam. Upon graduating, I received a Fulbright Fellowship and researched the impact of nitrogen on anemone symbiosis in New Zealand. For my thesis at UCI, I am interested in how disease resistance in abalone evolved, and how it functions. I am using molecular and physiological methods to investigate these questions. I am passionate about outreach and advocacy. My many outreach projects include working with local underrepresented students in science, partnering with government agencies and local non-profits to conduct abalone research and conservation work, and advocating for students with disabilities and women in science within my department. I also am passionate about animal rescue, and volunteer every week to work with abused and homeless animals. I am dedicated to conducting rigorous and cutting-edge physiological research, and engaging as many underrepresented groups in my work as possible.
- M.D./Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, UC Irvine, 2018 expected
- B.S.E., Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 2011
Advisor: Dr. Yongsheng Shi
Nabila graduated with distinction from Duke University in 2011 with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering, where her research in tissue engineering small-diameter vascular grafts fueled her passion for understanding how cells decide their fate. She joined UCI's Medical Scientist Training Program in 2012 and her current Ph.D. research focuses on probing the role of mRNA 3’ processing factors in controlling gene expression in cancer and stem cells. She wants to pursue a career as a physician-scientist and translate discoveries in the lab to serve cancer patients. Outside the lab, she enjoys hosting great scientists for the MSTP Distinguished Lecture Series and volunteers at Crescent Clinic, a student-run free medical clinic where she had also served as President. She also enjoys reading, furniture building and design, hiking, and exploring the world with her husband and baby son.
- Ph.D., Informatics, UC Irvine, 2018 expected
- B.S., Psychology, Washington State University-Vancouver, 2013
Human-computer interaction, assistive technology
Advisor: Dr. Gillian Hayes
Kathryn E. Ringland is an Informatics Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Information and Computer Sciences, under the advisement of Dr. Gillian Hayes. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Washington State University Vancouver. Her research interests include studying and designing assistive technology for youth with disabilities. Her dissertation work is exploring how an online community for children with autism uses various social media, including the popular Minecraft game, to support socialization. She is interested in how online social media expands our definitions of sociality and the assistive role technology has to play in our online and offline interactions.
- Ph.D., Chemistry, UC Irvine, 2018 expected
- B.S., Chemical Biology, UC Berkeley, 2013
Chemical Biology, Structural Biology, Organic Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. James Nowick
I began my college career at Riverside Community College. Before transferring to UC Berkeley, I participated in an NSF REU working for Cynthia Larive at UC Riverside. While completing my undergraduate education at UC Berkeley, I was nominated as a Rose Hill Foundation Science and Engineering Scholar in addition to the Melvin J. Heger-Horst Undergraduate Fellow. I earned a B.S. in chemical biology and graduated with honors. Since starting my Ph.D. at UC Irvine, where I study the supramolecular assembly of beta-sheets, I have been named a Chancellor’s Fellow in addition to a Chemistry and Structural Biology Training Fellow.
- Ph.D., Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- B.S., Biochemistry & Biophysics, Oregon State University, 2011
Immunology, infectious diseases
Advisor: Dr. Melissa Lodoen
Over the last 13 years I’ve gained a broad training in molecular biology, including a degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State University. I also discovered my passion for infectious disease research and currently study the interface between the brain-resident parasite Toxoplasma gondii and the host immune system. An essential component of my research success is mentoring undergraduate students to pay forward the research opportunities and mentorship I was provided. I plan to continue working with important human pathogens and mentoring trainees in the future, either as a research professor or as a scientist at a national lab.
- Ph.D., Computer Engineering, UC Irvine, 2018 expected
- M.S., Computer Engineering, UC Irvine, 2016
- B.S., Computer Engineering, UC Irvine, 2014
Mobile networks, privacy
Advisor: Dr. Athina Markopoulou
Anastasia Shuba is a third-year Ph.D. student in Computer Engineering. Her research is on mobile networks and privacy for mobile devices. She received a B.S. in 2014 and a M.S. in 2016, both from UCI in Computer Engineering (GPA 3.7 and 3.6, respectively). She received several undergraduate (Honors Program, Edison Scholarship) and graduate (EECS Fellowship) awards at UCI and outside (Best Demo in Mobicom S3, Mobicom 2015 Travel Grant). She has been working as a software engineer at Metronome Software for four years. In her spare time, she likes to train in and teach the martial art of Aikido.
- Ph.D., Earth System Science, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- B.A., Geology, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, 2004
Geochemistry, cave sampling
Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Johnson
Christopher T. Wood is a current Ph.D. candidate in Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on geochemistry and cave sampling for the purpose of past climate reconstruction in the Asian Monsoon region, which includes ongoing field work in Northern Laos. Chris was a geology major at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he graduated with University Honors and Honors in Geology in 2004. Afterwards, he spent almost a decade working in an environmental chemistry laboratory as a chemist, instrument operator, and analyst. His academic interests and work experience led him to return to school to seek a more impactful career.
Lisa Soyeon Baik
- Ph.D., Physiology & Biophysics, University of California, Irvine, 2018 expected
- B.S., Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior, University of California, Davis, 2011
- B.A., Psychology, University of California, Davis, 2011
Electrophysiology, Molecular & Cellular Biology/Protein Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Todd Holmes
Lisa (Soyeon) Baik graduated with two bachelor’s degrees –B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and B.A. in Psychology- from UC Davis in 2011. She is currently a doctorate student and a National Science Foundation (NSF) GRFP fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Todd Holmes at UC Irvine. Lisa’s research focuses on a novel phototransduction mechanism and light-induced neuronal changes that underlies changes in physiology and behavior. Her recent work, published in PNAS, highlights how CRY mediates many of the behavioral responses to ultraviolet (UV) light, including decision-making. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, cooking, drumming, and spending time with her dog.
- Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Irvine, 2018 expected
- M.S., Physics, University of California, Irvine, 2014
- B.S., Physics & Astronomy, University of Arizona, 2012
Galaxy evolution, Star formation in z≈1 galaxies, Gas content in galaxies, Environmental dependence of star formation
Advisor: Dr. Michael Cooper
Timothy is a fifth year Ph.D. student in Physics at UCI. He graduated with a B.S. in Astronomy & Physics from the University of Arizona, where he used simulations to study convection in stars. Currently, he is investigating how star formation evolves from the early universe to the present-day by comparing ultraviolet and infrared observations of star formation in high redshift galaxies with corresponding radio observations of cold gas to examine discrepancies between them. A strong advocate for outreach and teaching, Tim brings astronomy to local schools and organizations as the Graduate Coordinator for the UCI Observatory and as an instructor for the summer astrophysics program for high school students, COSMOS. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and biking by the beach.
- Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- M.S., Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 2014
- B.S., Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2012
Advisor: Dr. Young Jik Kwon
Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering and second major in Chemistry, Dominique followed her passions for nanotechnology and cancer research to the BioTherapeutics Engineering Laboratory (BioTEL) at UC Irvine. During her first year in the M.S./Ph.D. program at UCI, she was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and presented research at the Chao Family Cancer Center Retreat. Generous ARCS support has enabled Dominique to present her work at prestigious conferences and meetings, including the March 2016 Korea University/UC Irvine Symposium on Bioengineering held in Seoul. At the symposium, Dominique won first prize for her oral presentation on Doxorubicin-loaded extracellular nano-vesicles for cancer therapy. In addition to her commitment to research, Dominique is highly committed to outreach. In Summer 2016, she was the Pedagogical Coach for the UC Irvine ROCCT program, which aimed to help community college teachers get their students more interested and involved in STEM-related research. She also serves as the UC Irvine DECADE (Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience) Education Chair and works towards promoting inclusive learning strategies for improving STEM courses.
- Ph.D. Neurobiology & Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- B.S., Cell & Molecular Biology, CSU Dominguez Hills, 2012
Advisor: Dr. Kim Green
Allison is equally impassioned by the well-being of our society as her scientific pursuits. She previously studied English Literature at SFSU, but graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills with a B.S. in Cellular & Molecular Biology. For many years she worked with inner-city children, working to imprint the importance of science and education on them. She researches neuroinflammation in her lab, and is a representative for incoming classes. Allison remains passionate about literature and the arts – she continues seeking to develop her creative writing skills, and is teaching herself to paint.
- Ph.D., Information & Computer Science, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- M.S., Information, University of Michigan, 2013
- J.D., Southern Methodist University, 2011
- B.F.A., Painting, Texas Women’s University, 2007
HCI, CSCW, technologies in practice, social computing
Advisor: Dr. Paul Dourish
Christine T. Wolf is an Informatics Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information & Computer Sciences. She holds an M.S. in Information from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University. Her research interests broadly focus on exploring the social and organization impacts of Big Data. She has worked closely with industrial designers and researchers on cloud and mobile data analytics for the enterprise, topics she explores in her dissertation
- Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- B.S., Bioengineering – mechanical track, California Institute of Technology, 2012
Computational and experimental biophotonics
Advisor: Dr. Bernard Choi
Caitlin graduated with Honors from the California Institute of Technology in 2012 with a B.S. in Bioengineering specializing in Mechanics. She is continuing her graduate education in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, as an IGERT fellow working in the Microvascular Imaging Laboratory at Beckman Laser Institute. Caitlin’s current research focuses on computational modeling of light transport in tissue. She uses computer simulations to study how laser light interacts with the body, and how it can be used to study blood flow dynamics in the skin and the brain. In her spare time, Caitlin plays water polo with the UCI club team, and enjoys other outdoor activities including running, hiking, biking and playing tennis.
- Ph.D., Neurobiology & Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- B.S., Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2012
- B.A., Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2012
Neurobiological basis of memory
Advisor: Dr. Michael Yassa
Originally from Alabama, I graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2012, becoming the first in my immediate family to obtain a college education and earning several departmental research awards. I am presently pursuing a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior. Under the training of Dr. Mike Yassa, I study how the human brain supports learning and memory, and how these processes are altered by aging. I am the recipient of an NSF graduate fellowship, and have thus far authored a dozen papers as a graduate student. Outside of my research life, I am fortunate enough to share my time cooking, biking, hiking, and adventuring with my fiancée and dog.
Elyse Van Spyk
- Ph.D., Biological Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, 2017 expected
- B.S., Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, 2011
The role of the circadian clock in skin
Advisor: Dr. Bogi Andersen
I obtained by B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior with honors from UC Davis in 2011. From 2011-2012, I was a laboratory manager/technician for the Chief of Surgical Research at the VA Hospital of Northern California. In 2012, I joined UCI’s CMB graduate program. I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate and NSF GRFP fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Bogi Andersen in Biological Chemistry. My research focuses on how feeding time and the circadian clock influence skin biology. Specifically, I have found that abnormal meal timing alters the sensitivity to UVB-induced DNA damage, and the immune response in the mouse skin. These findings may be geared towards the development of chronotheraputics for skin diseases, with meal-timing as a key variable. Apart from experiments, I truly enjoy mentoring undergraduates, high school students and first year graduate students.