Universitywide Headquarters & Staff
University of California
3324 Olmsted Hall
Riverside, CA 92521
tel. (951) 827-3519
fax (951) 827-3856
Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra
Director and Professor of Plant Ecology
Exequiel Ezcurra, whose 30-year career as a noted plant ecologist honored worldwide for his contributions both as an academic and as an active conservationist, assumed the directorship of UC MEXUS on November 3, 2008. He also holds the position of professor of plant ecology with UC Riverside Department of Botany and Plant Sciences.
Ezcurra's research and policy interests range from nature conservation, the ecology and biogeography of coastal deserts and wetlands, land-ocean interactions, the application of mathematical modeling in ecology and conservation, and the management of natural resources in areas under traditional use.
Ezcurra came to UC MEXUS from the San Diego Natural History Museum's science and research program, the Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias, where he was director from 1998-2008, with a four-year hiatus to serve as President of the National Institute of Ecology. He was also Provost of the Museum from 2005-2008. He also served as an adviser to the UCR Center for Conservation Biology. He was a principal researcher at the Instituto de Ecología, Mexican Museum of Natural History, from 1979 to 1987 and full professor and head of the Community Ecology Lab at the National Autonomous University of Mexico from 1987 to 1998. In 1992, he was also appointed Director General of Natural Resources in the Mexican Federal Government. Born in Argentina, Ezcurra moved to Mexico early in life. He completed his higher education at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, where he received a master's and a doctorate in plant ecology.
Executive Assistant to the Director
María LaBarrie provides administrative assistance to the director. LaBarrie came to the United States from Peru on a Fulbright scholarship to Pasadena College. She graduated from UC Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies.
OPERATIONS, ADMINISTRATION, AND FINANCE
Director of Administration
David Kropf carries the overall responsibility for institutional adherence to policies, procedures and governmental regulations, along with operational management oversight of programs, facilities, budget and personnel activities. He is a veteran UC administrator who has decades of experience at the University—beginning at the Los Angeles and Irvine campuses and medical facilities, and then coming to UC MEXUS in 1998. Kropf, has an eclectic educational background in business administration, botany, ornamental horticulture, environmental and interior design, and music.
Dora A. Baltazar
Dora Baltazar helps the Administrative Director with the financial affairs of the office and with office administration. She also is responsible for the process of general ledger reconciliation and funding transactions and transfers for grant recipients. Baltazar has been with UC MEXUS for since shortly after the institute came to the Riverside campus. She was raised in Lima, Peru, and studied administration in the United States.
Irene handles the reception area and arranges travel both for members of the office and for guests. When guests come to town, it’s most likely she who will handle their arrangements. Irene earned her baccalaureate in environmental science from UCR .
The Institute hires several year-round office assistants to help with special projects and daily office business.
Dr. Wendy DeBoer
Director of Academic Programs
Wendy DeBoer is in charge of academic programs which include the UC MEXUS-CONACYT doctoral and postdoctoral research fellowship programs. She received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California and holds bachelors degrees in English Literature and Social Sciences from UC Irvine. Her dissertation There Goes the Neighborhood: Tattoo Removal, Stigma, and the Context of Culture examines relationships between geography, social class, race, and gender through the lens of tattooing and tattoo removal. Prior to attending graduate school, DeBoer worked at the Institute for International Education in Mexico City where she coordinated CONACYT fellowships. In joining UC MEXUS, she follows in the footsteps of her grandfather who spent much of his life forging U.S.-Mexico academic ties.
Academic Programs Officer
Susana Hidalgo coordinates the UC MEXUS international programs, which includes research exchange fellowships for postdoctoral researchers, faculty visits, and sabbatical stays. In addition, she works closely with CONACYT graduate students entering doctoral programs at UC. Hidalgo comes to UC MEXUS from Washington, D.C., where she worked with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture coordinating short-term training programs. She recently completed a master's program in International Training and Education at American University and UC MEXUS hopes to utilize her cross-cultural skills to address the needs of the Mexican students and scholars.
Academic Programs Coordinator
Veronica Sandoval is the first point of contact for Mexican fellows pursuing their doctoral degrees at the University of California. She also provides support to Mexican scholars throughout their UC stays, as well as direct assistance to Susana Hidalgo and Wendy DeBoer. Sandoval completed her bachelor of science degree in business administration at UCR and has worked extensively in higher educational settings.
Dr. Andrea Kaus
Director of Research Programs
Martha Bernal Ponce
As the initial liaison and contact person for the UC MEXUS grants programs, Martha Ponce interacts with campus research offices, faculty, and students, within the UC system and in Mexico. She receives and processes new proposals, tracks all active grants, and maintains the program administrative information database. Martha came to UC MEXUS after devoting thirteen years to graduate and undergraduate student services in the UCR Economics Department.
Louise Bachman is responsible for tracking and recording the project results, advancements, and activities that result from the original seed grant awards. Louise earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Cal Poly, Pomona. Prior to her employment at UC MEXUS, she spent 10 years in the nonprofit sector publishing newsletters, as well as designing websites and databases.
Bob Gay maintains the UC MEXUS website. He is responsible for posting, and updating all relevant information supplied by the UC MEXUS offices. Bob is a graduate of Cal-State Long Beach with additional study at Cal-State Dominguez Hills and continues his studies through enrichment classes offered by various Internet sources.