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Titans Read @ Pollak Library: Meet Denyz Melchor & Kimberly Lopez-Zepeda

Posted in About the Library, Academic Communities, Academic Disciplines, and General News

For a number of years, the American Library Association (ALA) has created READ @ Your Library posters featuring celebrities and their favorite books. Pollak Library proudly carries on this tradition by creating posters of CSUF faculty, staff and students and the books they love.

2019 Barry Goldwater Scholars
Denyz Melchor (left) and Kimberly Lopez-Zepeda (right)

Denyz Melchor

Denyz is a Physics major and does research in astrophysics. She will be attending UCLA to obtain her Ph.D. in astrophysics. She is one of the first two CSUF students to be selected as 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar.

Who are your inspirations?

My mom has been a huge inspiration to me, her work ethic and her compassionate nature have been something I strive to emulate in my academics and my interactions with others. More specifically in my major, I would say I look up to all the women and all the people of color who have sat in all-male or all-white physics and math classes but continued to proceed in their career and produce amazing work.

What achievements are you most proud of?

I recently received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and I can say that it is one of my proudest achievements. However, I was accepted into 11 Ph.D. physics and astrophysics programs without submitting a subject GRE score and I am proud of this because I don’t agree with standardized exams so this clearly proves at least in my field that it is an unnecessary qualification for being admitted to graduate school.

What book did you choose to highlight?

Two summers ago, I was in Australia doing research on black holes, and it was the first time I hadn’t lived at home. I was in a new country around the globe and I began to feel homesick. There weren’t any Mexican restaurants where I lived and there wasn’t anyone I could speak to in Spanish. I wanted to read something by a Mexican author and found Like Water for Chocolate, which I realized was translated to English so I quickly searched for the original version in Spanish. The book made me feel closer to home as I read the recipes at the beginning of every chapter and the stories of family that followed. After reading it, I asked my mom to send me recipes for some of my favorite dishes she makes for me.

Kimberly Lopez-Zepeda

Kimberly is a Chemistry major with a minor in Mathematics, going into her senior year. She is also one of the first two CSUF students to be selected as a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar.

Who are your inspirations?

Before majoring in Chemistry, I was working towards becoming an Art major but circumstances did not allow me. By chance, I took an introduction to chemistry course that was taught by Professor Guy Dadson at Fullerton College. Mr. Dadson had become a great influence on my academic career and inspired me to pursue a profession in academia. It was his guidance and encouragement that filled me with ambition and enthusiasm in pursuing a career as a faculty professor in the field of Chemical Engineering.

What achievements are you most proud of?

During my sophomore year as a Chemistry major, I applied to my first research experience for undergraduates. I had very little knowledge in chemistry during that time but to my surprise, I was accepted to an REU at the University of California, Riverside. Having been the only community college student accepted into the REU, I was intimidated and scared. Nonetheless, I did my best in staying up to par with my cohort and focused on my research assignment. All my hard work had landed me my first co-author publication in the Journal of American Chemical Society and has been one of my proudest and most accomplished achievements. 

What book did you choose to highlight?

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that shape our made-made world was a book handed to me by my mentor from community college. I wanted to advocate this book because does a great job connecting science to our everyday lives. The book focuses on the scientific history of materials like spoons, coffee mugs, paper, etc. If not by accident, most materials have been known to be inventions stemmed from failed experiments. It is truly interesting and inspirational to learn how chemistry has helped create some of the most essential items that our society depends on. In addition, the author promotes the use of imagination in the sciences, acknowledging that scientists must take a chance, fail, but continue to try and succeed.

The Pollak Library is here to help and serve you as readers and learners. Feel free to share why you choose to read and what book inspires you.