UCMAA Board Member Michael Oliveira

Degree: Bioengineering/BS/2009

Graduate school program: Bioengineering, UC Riverside

Current residence: Riverside

Board term: October 2012 to October 2014

Mike still remembers his first day of work in August 2005 in the Kolligian Library. He had to wear a hard hat because part of the building was still a construction zone!

In four short years, he watched the Kolligian Library transform from a construction site to a thriving place for students to conduct research and study.

In addition to working in the library throughout his college years, Oliveira also assisted in establishing and managing the UC Merced Club Baseball team, and excelled in his undergraduate research efforts. He competed in the ASUCM Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Spring of 2009, and was among the top three undergraduate poster presentations. As a result, he was nominated for an associate membership in the UC Merced chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

After graduating, Oliveira continued working in the library through July of 2009 before beginning his first quarter of graduate school in UC Riverside's Bioengineering program.

Attending graduate school at UC Riverside, Oliveira spends more time focusing on his research interests. His Ph.D. advisor is Professor Hyle Park in the bioengineering department. Park's research interests are in the application of optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging to neuroscience.

Oliveira's research interests are in developing endoscopic extensions of OCT for visualization of peripheral nerves in vivo. He is also working on a secondary project concerned with the characterization of flow in micro-fluidic devices using OCT, as part of collaboration with another research group in the department. He is also involved in establishing a student chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, better known as SACNAS, at UC Riverside.

Oliveira takes time to stay connected to UC Merced. He has visited the campus a few times on weekends when he was able to break away from his graduate work. In addition, he stays in contact with students on campus and checks in on the organizations that he helped to establish. Oliveira is committed to philanthropy: He is a member of the Student Alumni Association and is a Chancellor's Pioneer. 

Current focus: "My current focus is getting through the Ph.D. program! I need to maintain a 3.5 GPA to continue receiving the graduate division fellowship. In addition to taking courses and doing research this quarter, I’m studying for my written qualifying exams that must be passed in order to continue in the program! I’m preparing for the UC Systemwide Bioengineering Symposium at UC Davis in June."

Advice for current students: My biggest piece of advice is to get involved as much as you can and meet as many people as you can. You never know what or who is going to be instrumental later on in your career or life!

Why did you become a board member? I want to continue being an advocate for UC Merced. I feel like I have a strong tie with the athletics program and would like to stay involved and contribute to that aspect of the campus. I hope to come away with increased leadership and decision making skills, increased collaborative skills, and the pride and satisfaction that comes along with making a significant contribution to my alma mater, just as I did as an undergraduate student!

Student activities: UC Merced Club Baseball; Cobi Jones Male Athlete of the Year Award in 2009 at the University Leadership Awards Banquet; Biomedical Engineering Society at UC Merced; Vanguard Undergraduate; and student research assistant

Board committees: N/A