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Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship

UC Merced is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a high quality and diverse graduate student population. The prestigious Eugene Cota-Robles (ECR) Fellowship is named in honor of one of the first Mexican-American professors in the University of California system.  This fellowship is intended to help awardees focus on their graduate research and scholarship, and thereby accelerate progress towards achieving their doctoral degrees.  The fellowship program is also intended more generally to increase the number and diversity of qualified candidates for faculty positions both within and outside the University of California system.

This award entails a minimum of four years of support.  The award provides full fellowship support for the first two years of study in a Ph.D. program, contingent on good academic standing by the Graduate Division.  The School will commit two additional years of full academic year support for the recipient, again contingent on good academic standing.  The nature of additional support (e.g. TA or GSR funding) generally will not need be specified in advance, but may include additional fellowships, or research and teaching assistantships.

Eligibility Requirements & Standards

  • All nominees must be Ph.D. applicants entering their first year of graduate study.
  • All nominees must submit a graduate admissions application by January 15, 2022.
  • Eugene Cota-Robles nominees must be United States citizens, permanent residents, or AB540 students.
  • All nominees must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies.
  • Recipients are expected to work closely with a faculty mentor identified by his/her Ph.D. program, who guides the Ph.D. student through the development of a curricular plan.  The goal is to acquire skills and knowledge needed to develop a dissertation topic, on the way to completion of a doctoral degree.
  • UCOP requires the Graduate Division to track recipient progress towards doctoral degree, and job placement after degree completion.  Faculty, staff and students participating in the ECR fellowship must comply with all requests for information from the Graduate Division.
  • The ECR fellowship is intended to enable students to devote their full-time to the pursuit of their graduate degree.

First & Third Years of Support

  • Recipients will receive a fellowship of $22,005, paid monthly over a 9-month academic year period plus payment of Graduate Fees (Resident Tuition, Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (if applicable), Student Services Fee and Health Services Fee), excluding Campus Based Fees, in their first and third years of study.
  • Recipients will also receive a summer award of $7,335 directly following the completion of their first and third years of study.
  • Fellows are not permitted to hold employment during the first and third years of support.
  • Level of support for the third and fourth years will be commensurate with a typical full academic year stipend in the applicant’s graduate program.

Nomination & Review Procedures

  • Each graduate group offering a doctoral degree is eligible to nominate up to two Ph.D. applicants each year.  Any applicant meeting the criteria above is eligible; applicants do not need to apply. Graduate Group Chairs should submit their nominations directly to the Graduate Division.
  • If the graduate group has an applicant pool of 50 or more students, they may nominate one additional Ph.D. applicant.
  • Graduate Groups should nominate applicants on the basis of academic merit and contribution to the diversity of the graduate program, and graduate population.  Diversity may be broadly construed, but nominees are encouraged from cultural, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, who would otherwise not adequately be represented.  In accordance with applicable state laws, applicants to the program may not be given preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or national origin.
  • This fellowship will follow a multiple step review process that considers all applicants.  Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines, intellectual merit and academic qualifications of the applicant.
    • First Review - Nominations submitted by the Graduate Group Chairs should include a brief description highlighting the nominee’s qualifications for the non-expert reviewer, plus any information not in the Ph.D. admissions applications that might help the review committee evaluate the nominees and their fellowship qualifications. Narratives must address how experiences, accomplishments, and points of view of the individual may contribute to diversity in the graduate program and population.
    • Second Review - Nominee admissions applications are provided to the review committee, and the committee then makes recommendations to the Graduate Division.  Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines, the academic qualifications of the nominee, the letters of recommendation, and the nominee's contributions to diversity.
    • Third Review - Final award decisions will be made by the Graduate Dean.

* The Graduate Division reserves the right not to make an award in any given year for which a call for applications/nominations has been issued.



Admissions Application:
January 15, 2022

Graduate Group Nomination:
January 29, 2022

Eugene Cota Robles Fellows


Elena Ramirez
Political Science


Elsie Cortes
Applied Mathematics

Armin Hojjaty
Psychological Sciences


Arabi Seshappan


Leila Wahab
Environmental Systems

May Yang
Interdisciplinary Humanities


Maria Elena Arias-Zelidon
Interdisciplinary Humanities

Karla Higgins
Quantitative & Systems Biology

Jessica Johnson
Cognitice and Information Sciences

Edie Lucero
Political Sciences

Lillie Pennington
Environmental Systems

Cinthia Quesada

Hope Reuschel
Psychological Sciences


Andrea Lopez
Social Sciences

Karie Moorman
Cognitive and Information Sciences

Carlos Ortuno-Quintana
Biological Engineering and Small-Scale Technologies

Maria Ramirez
Psychological Sciences


Cynthia Cardon
Psychological Sciences

Melanie Mendez
Quantitative & Systems Biology


Violet Barton
Social Sciences

Sabah Ul-Hasan
Quantitative & Systems Biology


Alamri Neama
World Cultures

Patricia Cabral
Psychological Sciences

Chelsea Gordon
Cognitive and Information Sciences

Carolina Molina
Social Sciences


Andrew Barr
Applied Mathematics

Richard Gilbert
Quantitative and Systems Biology

Daniel Holman
Cognitive and Information Sciences

Alyse Pittman
Psychological Sciences


Anna Epperson
Psychological Sciences

Paul Carroll
Social and Cognitive Sciences

Derrick Johnson
Applied Mathematics