UC Merced Connect: Student lands prestigious Chevron internship

Jose Garcia, a fourth-year student, will spend next summer as the only intern in Chevron Oronite’s Tribology Division, joining a small group of researchers who delve into lubricants, additives and the relationship between machines and fluids.

For the past two years, the division has chosen an MIT student for the summer position.

“It’s going to be a great experience,” said Garcia, who is from the Ventura County city of Santa Paula and is majoring in mechanical engineering.

The internship opportunity came through Professor Ashlie Martini’s connections with Chevron, which has its headquarters in Richmond. Martini has been working with some of its scientists, sharing knowledge and her expertise in tribology — the study of friction.

“Chevron is one of the biggest players in my field,” she said, “so I really wanted to set up this connection.”

Tribology isn’t a big field in California — most of the work is done in the Midwest and on the East Coast, where there’s more manufacturing. UC Merced doesn’t have a tribology emphasis yet, but Martini’s lab in the School of Engineering centers on the topic. She said she hopes to develop a program at the campus, which will add to list of ways UC Merced graduates can contribute to the economy.

She said she worked with the Career Services office to put the word out to students who wanted to apply for the Chevron position, and they got back about 40 applications. Chevron selected five students to interview, and Garcia was their top choice for the paid position.

Garcia’s selection is an example of how UC Merced and its exceptional leadership opportunities are preparing students for futures in cutting-edge industries.

Like the others interviewed, Garcia has little experience with tribology, but his leadership experience as president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is what set him apart, he believes.

“They asked a lot of behavioral questions, about things like dealing with conflict with people who don’t agree with you, problem solving and teamwork,” Garcia said. “A lot of the company’s vision ties in with how I try to do things – to work well with people.”

Garcia will live in Richmond for the summer before returning to campus next fall.

Winter Concert on Dec. 15

Arts UC Merced Presents, College One and the UC Merced Chorale will hold a winter concert entitled “A Shining Night of Stars and Song” on Dec. 15.

The performance features UC Merced students from Arts 190 and Arts 2B, directed by Lorraine Walsh and accompanied by Denise Bumgarner. Guitarist John Albano and flutist Sandra Stocking will also return to join the choir.

Attendees will experience music that depicts nights filled with stars and winter scenes, as well as a few seasonal favorites. The majority of the pieces will be presented by the mixed chorus along with a few pieces by the first Men’s Chorus.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 5 p.m. in the Lakireddy Auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information, contact or (209) 228-4566.