Current RISE Scholars 


My name is Zachary Cruz and I am Puerto Rican and a Senior at Cal State San Marcos.  My major is Biochemistry and I am currently part of the RISE program and before transferring to CSUSM I was a Bridges Scholar at Palomar Community College.  I am currently working in Dr. Trischman’s Marine Products Lab doing Medicinal Chemistry research in search for new Anti-Tuberculosis Compounds.  I am currently applying to Graduate School and would like to continue my research in Medicinal Chemistry so that I can find cures for diseases that plague humanity.


My name is Maria Cole. I am a psychology major at California State University San Marcos. I am a Mexican American woman and the first in my family from my generation to attend college. I am a RISE scholar and I have been working with Dr. Kimberly D’Anna Hernandez’s as part of the MOMs study. I have been working with her for the past year. Our lab is looking at how stress and depression affects pregnant women of Mexican descent and their fetuses. Once I graduate from California State University San Marcos I plan on perusing a PhD in psychology.  After obtaining my PhD I would like to teach at a University as well as conduct research. Of particular interest is people in the Mexican and Mexican American community who traditionally do not seek help when struggling with mental health issues.


My name is Andrea Fenner. I am a second year master’s student majoring in Biological Sciences at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). I am African American and Filipino American and currently a RISE scholar at CSUSM. My master’s thesis involves determining how nitrogen deposition affects the enzymatic activity of soil microorganism under the guidance of Principal Investigator, Dr. George Vourlitis. I plan on pursuing an M.D./Ph.D in cancer research with hopes to make advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. 

My name is Danny Armenta. I am a junior Computer Science major at California State University San Marcos. I am a Mexican-American and a first generation college student. I am a new RISE scholar this year. I plan to pursue a PhD in Computer Science. I want to become extremely knowledgeable in Computer Science, and I also want to help future generations to become more interested in computer science as well.


My name is Luis Dorantes and I am currently a sophomore here at CSUSM studying Biochemistry. I want to pursue a career in research and work towards my PhD. I am a first-generation college studen. This fall i will be working in the research lab of Dr. Michael Schmidt in the field of crystallization and biomineralization. In the future, I hope to become a professor and continue my career in research.

My name is  Perla Sandoval. I am a senior Psychology major at California State University San Marcos. I am Mexican American and a first generation college student. I am a RISE scholar and I have been working in Dr. Schultz Applied Social Psychology lab for the last year. Our lab mainly focuses on projects involving the influence social norms can have on household energy use. I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in social Psychology. I want to make a difference in society by conducting important and meaningful research that furthers the application of social psychology principles on modern issues. I hope to continue to do research in the future as well as teach at a university.


Hello, my name is Shirlee Moore. I am a Psychology major at California State University San Marcos. I am African American and a first generation college student. I am a RISE scholar and am currently conducting research in Dr. Sharon Hamill’s developmental psychology laboratory. The primary focus of the lab is lifespan developmental issues and caregiving.  I plan on pursuing a PhD in a social or developmental psychology oriented program. My primary interest lies in sexuality, specifically sexting behaviors. I hope to continue to conduct research with an applied aspect and to continue to be able to impact different communities whether it be through teaching or other avenues.


My name is Annalise Binette. I am part Native Alaskan (Yup’ik). I transferred to California State University San Marcos this semester as a Biotechnology major and Mathematics minor. This is also my first semester as a RISE scholar. I transferred from Palomar College where I was a Bridges scholar for the 2012 - 2013 school year. I am looking forward to becoming involved in Dr. Trujillo’s psychopharmacology lab. In addition to my interest in biology and math, I am also interested in neuroscience. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I plan on attending graduate school and studying neuroscience or a discipline in the biomedical sciences.

 cipriano My name is Cipriano Zuluaga. I’m a junior pursuing a Bachelor’s in Biology at California State University San Marcos. I have recently been accepted to the RISE program. I plan to pursue a PhD in Virology. I hope to one day contribute to the development of Anti-viral drugs that can help save or prolong the lives of individuals.

My name is Trey Gilpin. I am a junior at CSUSM and major in Biology. I am half Hispanic and half Irish. I was a Bridges scholar at Palomar College and am now a RISE scholar and have been working in Dr. Mothes’ Virology and Immunology lab since the beginning of last semester. Our lab focuses on designing novel vaccines for rapidly mutating pathogens by using SIV in Chinese Rhesus Macaques as a model for HIV in humans. My career goal is to pursue a PhD in biology so that I can meaningfully contribute to biological research in helping to discover new mechanisms and develop efficient methods and technology to fight disease for the betterment of human life. In my pursuit of this goal I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity that come my way and eventually work in academia so that one day I can have my own lab.


My name is Daniel De Robles. I am a junior Molecular and Cellular Biology major at California State University San Marcos. I am Mexican-American and first generation college student in my family. I am a RISE scholar and will be working in Dr. James Jancovich’s Microbiology lab whose research focuses on virology, genomics, evolution, and host-pathogen interactions with Ranavirus. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Biology and wish to contribute to my peers and society by conducting research with microorganisms. In addition to research, I aspire to teach at the university.


I am Esmeralda Garcia, a second year graduate student in the department of Psychology at California State University, San Marcos. My advisor is Dr. Kimberly D’Anna-Hernandez. For my thesis project, I am investigating the relationship between maternal depression, acculturation, and infant stress reactivity. My goals include becoming a university professor and advancing knowledge in health psychology through research.


Hi my name is Jose Banuelos and I am a first generation Hispanic scholar born in North San Diego County. My major is Bio-Chemistry with a minor in physics and have intentions of applying that to a nuero-psychopharmacology PhD. program. I would like to travel the world in search of botanical agents that can be catalogued and introduced into our Western medicine enabling Americans to reattach to their roots in medicine and holistic care. I am a former Bridges Scholar from Mira Costa College and currently a RISE Scholar. I am working in Dr. Escobar’s lab attempting to find the gene(s) responsible for hormone biosynthesis in Agrobacterium tumefaciens using a bioinformatic approach.