Meet our Fellows

Akkeya Joyner


Akkeya Joyner is your local fellow here at the DARTS program. She is a Cognitive Science major planning to journey to become a psychiatrist or a neurologist, if she choose to push it. She's chill. There is not much to detail but that she is someone who loves to be mellow due to the fact that we are stressful students 24/7. There is a tendency that she relates to everyone as though we have something in common but there is a limit. Don’t step out of line because she has an extra pair of NIKE socks and you and her can catch that one-on-one game real quick. First game to 13!

Christine Pedersen


Christine Pedersen is a traditional fourth year student majoring in Bioengineering. She is involved on campus with Delta Gamma sorority, RadioBio Podcast, Society of Women Engineers Club, and lab research. She is from Fairfield, California and loves to work out, adventure, and eat. Her goal after she graduates is to apply for grad school to continue in Bioengineering and travel around the world!

Christopher Ingle


Chris is from Merced, but lives in Winton. He is a transfer student from Merced College with an AAT in English. He is an English Major, GASP Minor. His hobbies include arcvhery, video games, and local theater. His goal is to eventualy become a High School English and Theater teacher.  

Danya Dominguez


Danya was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up in Modesto, California. She is a first generation college student and transfer from Modesto Junior College where she received her Associate of Arts degree in Music. She now majors in Psychology and hopes to one day become a behavioral health clinician or music therapist. Her hobbies include reading, curating her Netflix watch list (but never watching anything on it), playing guitar, and listening to music. Fun fact: she has an identical twin sister and they are both lefties.

Edgar Perez-Lopez


Edgar Perez-Lopez comes from Rosemead, California in Los Angeles County. He is a second year undocumented Mechanical Engineering student. He transferred from Pasadena City College and managed graduate with AS-T in Mathematics and Physics, as well as, an AA in Natural Science and Engineering. He enjoys long walks on the beach and singing kumbaya jk. He does, however,  enjoy playing the guitar and the cello as well as reading science articles and books. In the future, he plans to work as an engineer and eventually get a PhD in Physics to do research for the rest of his life.    

Ernest (E.J.) Garcia


Ernest (E.J.) Garcia is a Chemical Sciences transfer student from Merced Junior College. He was born in Merced, CA and after moving around a bit, returned to Merced to finish high school at Golden Valley High followed by a stay at Merced Junior College. His hobbies include classical singing, music of any kind, specifically piano. He also enjoys cooking, and has competed in several competitions for cooking. He is also an avid cyclist and hiker. In terms of goals for the future, E.J. plans to graduate from UC Merced with a degree in Chemical Sciences with a Biological Emphasis. Following that he plans to attend San Francisco or Stanford Medical School and focus on entering the field of medicine specializing in Pediatrics.

Harmeet Kalsi


Harmeet Kalsi is from San Jose, California. She graduated from Mission College with a Certificate of Achievement in Communication Studies and an Associates of Arts in Sociology. Harmeet transferred to UC Merced as a Sociology major and a Writing minor. After obtaining her Masters and Doctorate degrees, her goal is to work in higher education to help students achieve academic, professional, and personal success. On her free time, Harmeet loves to go bowling, taking scenic photographs, attending concerts, and trying out cuisines from various cultures.

Javier Cano


Javier Cano is a fourth year transfer student majoring in Psychology. He transferred from Rio Hondo College and is planning to apply for graduate school in the field of Student Affairs. He is involved with leadership and environmental stewardship clubs and programs at UC Merced.

Marie Lujan


Marie Lujan is a transfer student from Cosumnes River College in Elk Grove, California. She is a Public Health major. Some of her hobbies consist of baking/decorating cakes, cooking with new recipes, hiking, and traveling. As a future goal she plans to become a Neurosurgeon and work immensely with the mental health and homeless population.

Spencer McDermott


Spencer McDermott grew up in of Elk Grove with his mom and brother. Spencer moved to Modesto to attend Modesto Junior College for 3 years and graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics before transferring to UC Merced to major in Environmental Engineering. His future goal after obtaining his degree is to continue on towards a Masters and PhD studying climate change and water resource. During Spencer's downtime, he enjoys hiking in Yosemite or Pinecrest along with playing pool, going bowling, and enjoying a good movie.