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.

Ezcurra's UCR laboratory


Cynthia A Parish
Director of Administration
(951) 827-4753

Cynthia Parish oversees all administrative functions at UC MEXUS and has been with the UC system for 33 years. Before joining the UC MEXUS team, Cynthia served as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at UC Riverside’s Office of Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.

Crystal Petrini
Financial Analyst
(951) 827-6368

Crystal Petrini assists with budgeting, financial reporting and the tracking of financial results. She is responsible for the UC MEXUS Director’s research and grant management and provides direct assistance to the Institute’s Director of Administration. Crystal received her MBA from the University of Redlands with an emphasis on global business. She attended UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate and holds dual bachelors’ degrees in political science/international relations and Spanish. Prior to joining UC MEXUS, Crystal worked at UC Riverside’s housing administration as resident accounts manager and has extensive experience in both the public and private sector.

Irene Dotson
Financial Assistant
(951) 827-4317

Irene Dotson is responsible for the collection and management of data for UC MEXUS financial reports on activities. She prepares day-to-day budget expenses/balances summaries, coordinates departmental payroll, and assists with administration of program funds. Irene began working at UC MEXUS as a work study student in October 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in environmental sciences.

Anna Medina
Administrative Assistant
(951) 827-7340

Anna Medina provides administrative support to UC MEXUS and the Institute’s Director. She oversees the Director’s calendar and correspondence, and receives guests and incoming communications to the Institute. She also serves as travel and event coordinator. Anna previously worked at UC Riverside’s School of Business. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from UC Riverside.

Office Assistants
The Institute hires several year-round office assistants to help with special projects and daily office business.


Dr. Wendy DeBoer
Director of Academic Programs
(951) 827-7339

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.

Susana Hidalgo
Academic Programs Officer
(951) 827-4744

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.

Veronica Sandoval
Academic Programs Coordinator
(951) 827-3582

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
(951) 827-3586

Andrea Kaus oversees the UC MEXUS Research Programs, which include the UC MEXUS-CONACYT collaborative research grants for teams of UC and Mexican researchers and the UC MEXUS research grant programs for UC faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from UC Davis and completed her doctorate in anthropology from UC Riverside in 1992. Based on extensive fieldwork working with cattle ranchers in the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve in northern Mexico, her dissertation research examined the sociocultural aspects of local cooperation and participation in protected area management, She continues to work on environmental conservation issues in Mexico and the United States.

Martha Bernal Ponce
Grants Analyst
(951) 827-4773

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
Reporting Analyst

(951) 827-4306

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

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.