Current MARC Scholars


Robert Altamirano, Psychology Major
Mentor: Dr. Kimberly D'Anna-Hernandez

Robert Altamirano will earn his bachelor’s degree in Psychology in spring of 2016.  During the summer of 2014, he was selected as a scholar for the Minority Access to Research Center’s program, which aims to represent exemplary students pursuing doctoral level careers in the sciences.  He was also an active participant in the Office for Training, Research and Education in the Sciences (OTRES) Summer Research Training Program (SRTP), which helps undergraduates obtain a solid foundation for successful scientific research. Robert began his research under the guidance of Dr. Kimberly D’Anna-Hernandez studying stress and its depressive effects on the neuropeptide hypocretin.  He also exhibits excellent leadership skills as a member of the California State University Chapter of SACNAS or the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.  Upon graduation he hopes to continue his research in a doctoral program for behavioral neuroscience.    



Cristal Lopez, Psychology Major
Mentor: Dr. Heike Mahler




Cindy Barba, Biology Major
Mentor: Dr. Julie Jameson




Yesenia Cabrera, Biology Major
Mentor: Dr. Kimberly D’Anna-Hernandez

Yesenia Cabrera will receive her bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Chemistry in Spring 2017. In summer 2013, she was accepted as a Bridges to the Future scholar at Palomar College. In summer 2014, Yesenia was selected as a scholar for the Minority Access to Research Careers program that attracts some of the top students in the country to doctoral level careers in the sciences. Yesenia began working under the mentorship of Dr. Kimberly D’Anna Hernandez in early 2014 looking at hormonal mechanisms of maternal behavior in mice. During the summer 2014, Yesenia started a project examining the effects of inflammation and stress in the development of maternal depression using a mouse model. Also in summer 2014, Yesenia participated in the Office for Training, Research & Education in the Sciences Summer Research Training Program, where she was able to present results from her summer project. She also presented at the UCSD Summer Research Conference in August 2014. Yesenia shows initiative and leadership ability as an executive board member of the CSUSM chapter of Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Yesenia hopes to be accepted to a PhD program in behavioral neuroscience in order to advance scientific knowledge and lead young people to create positive social changes through science.


Hector Galvez, Biology Major
Mentor: Dr. James Jancovich

Hector Galvez is a junior at California State University San Marcos where he is working on his BS in Biology with a concentration in molecular cell biology and a minor in Chemistry. After a mediocre start at a California community college, Hector has shown significant improvement after transferring and has been awarded the Deans List every semester since. In the fall of 2013, he became a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation scholar. In the summer of 2014, Hector was 1 of 5 students selected as a scholar for the Minority Access to Research Careers program which brings together the highest performing students in the nation and grooms them for graduate schools and careers as research scientists. In the summer of 2014, he participated in the Summer Research Training Program, and has begun reviewing the literature for work in Dr. Jancovich’s research lab. In the fall of 2014, Hector will begin working with Dr. Jancovich, where he will conduct research on Ranavirus, a double-stranded DNA virus that effects amphibians, fish, and reptiles. The lab focuses on further understanding of the genomics, and host-pathogen interactions. He is expected to graduate in the spring of 2016, and go on to pursue a PhD in a molecular cell related study. Hector’s interests include cancer biology and biological statistics.


Mark Bartolo, Physics Major
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Tsui

Mark Bartolo will earn his B.S in Applied Physics with Concentration in Applied Electronics in spring 2015. Mark transferred to CSU San Marcos from Palomar College in fall 2012. During spring 2013, Mark became a Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar. In summer 2013, Mark was awarded the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program that seeks to increase the number of minorities into doctoral careers within the sciences. During that summer, he participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for advanced materials characterization at Washington State University, Pullman. There, he participated in a project in simulating the synthesis process of the photoactive layer in organic photovoltaics. He presented his work at the UCSD Summer Research Conference. Thereafter, he started working with Dr. Stephen Tsui, Physics, and Dr. Eric Reinheimer, Center for Molecular Structure at CSUSM, to synthesize and electrically characterize organic crystals for semiconducting properties. He has already earned co-authorship on a paper accepted to the Journal of Chemical Crystallography. Mark presented his findings at the CSUSM Symposium on Student Research, Creative Activities & Innovation. During summer 2014, he has worked on another co-authorship on a paper that is in preparation. He is also currently working on a different organic crystal to submit a paper to the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics as a first author. Upon completing his B.S., he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics.


Carlos Rosas, Psychology Major
Mentor: Dr. Heike Mahler

Carlos Rosas will earn his bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science in the Spring of 2015. He began working as a research assistant in the Social Psychology lab of Dr. Heike Mahler in the fall of 2012. Soon after, Carlos designed his own research project focused on intragroup and intergroup discrimination and mental health among Latinos. In the summer of 2013, Carlos was accepted to the Minorities Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, which is a prestigious national program that helps undergraduate students gain the skills and experiences necessary for admission to PhD programs in the sciences. Carlos conducted a pilot study with Latino college students in the fall of 2013, which he presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in November. The findings of the pilot study were also presented at the CSUSM research tryouts for the California State University statewide competition. Carlos, along with other students, was selected to represent CSUSM at the statewide competition. In addition, the research paper resulting from the pilot study was awarded the Seward Award for Best Research Paper in Psychology by the CSUSM Psychology faculty. In the spring of 2014, Carlos began working on the main study with a community sample of 130 participants in the spring of 2013. He was selected to the Leadership Alliance summer research program at Washington University in St. Louis, and he spent two months in the lab of Dr. Cavazos-Rehg examining how youth and young adults communicate about depression-related topics on Tumblr, a social networking. Carlos has presented the findings of this study at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium in Stamford, CN and at the University of California San Diego Summer Symposium. Currently, Carlos is finishing up the discrimination study and planning another study focused on developing a social norms intervention for Latinos who have diabetes. Carlos has demonstrated that he has the aptitude and the potential to be a successful social scientist, and he is determined to continue on to a PhD program in Social Psychology.


Josephine Gonzales, Biology Major
Mentor: Dr. Julie Jameson

Josephine Gonzales will earn her B.S. in Biology spring 2015. She was awarded the Minority Access to Research Careers Fellowship in the summer of 2013 and also became a Louis-Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation scholar. Josephine began research under the mentorship of Dr. Denise Garcia and Dr. Suzanne Hizer, identifying viral integration sites in the genome of Pacific Blue Shrimp. She was able to participate in a summer research program through the Leadership Alliance at the University of Miami under Dr. Rai’s Lab at the Miller school of Medicine. Under the guidance of Dr. Priyamvada Rai, Josephine was able to validate genetic tools for suppressing major oxidative DNA damage-repairing proteins. Josephine then presented this research at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) (SACNAS) conference for Minority Students 2013. Currently she is working with Dr. Julie Jameson's investigating the impact of Everolimus on Peripheral Blood αβ and γδ T lymphocytes in Renal Transplant Recipients. She then presented this research at the symposium on student research creative activities and innovation spring 2014. Apart from her research and academics, Josephine was also a supplemental instruction leader for biostatistics in spring 2014. She also participated in an alternative spring break trip volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. In addition Josephine is continuing to participate in community service learning through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach. In the fall of 2014 Josephine will be applying to Ph.D. programs in Immunology and Molecular and Cellular Biology.


German Mendoza, Biology Major
Mentor: Dr. Keith Trujillo
                Dr. Julie Jameson

After honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps, German Mendoza enrolled at Palomar College to fulfill his general education requirements in 2011. After successfully completing those requirements, he transferred to California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) to pursue a Biology degree. During his last semester at Palomar College, he was accepted into the Minority Access to Research Careers Program (MARC) at CSUSM.  After being accepted and while still attending Palomar College, he was given the opportunity to conduct research in an Immunology lab under the supervision of Dr. Julie Jameson. Her research deals with epithelial homeostatic maintenance in obese mice models and how gamma delta T cells function in that environment. Thereafter, he began conducting studies involving Tumor Necrosis Factor–alpha (TNF-a), which is one of the major cytokines involved in inflammatory responses once gamma delta T cells are activated.  His research hypothesis investigates the importance of the TNF-a signaling pathway in wound repair. Currently, he is maintaining several mutant mouse lines, genotyping the animals, performing wound healing studies, and analyzing data. During the summer of 2014, he had the pleasure of working for Dr. Galit Pelled at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. Under the direction of Dr. Pelled, German employed Manganese-Enhanced MRI to demonstrate that visual improvement of the rat spinal cord could be achieved. In his study, he elucidated that 48 h post administration of Manganese chloride (MnCl2), spinal cord visualization significantly improved. T1 spin lattice relaxation time was decreased due to the paramagnetic properties of MnCl2, thus producing shorter T1 values post-injection compared to pre-injection. German Mendoza exhibits a high level of motivation and spirit. He works collaboratively with his peers and has developed a mutual level of respect with his superiors. German is projected to earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology in the spring of 2016 and thereafter, will pursue a PhD in Neuroscience.