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Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community

2018 Chancellor's Achievement Awardees
2018 Chancellor's Achievement Awardees

Nominations are being requested to help identify individuals deserving special recognition through a campus wide award program. The Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community were established to honor achievements that contribute in substantial ways to the development and well-being of our diverse and evolving community. UC Davis faculty, staff, and students, and local community members are eligible for an award in any of the following categories: 

  • Exemplary service that embodies the Principles of Community through outstanding leadership in areas of social and/or cultural understanding, local or regional community involvement, and/or collaborations leading to increased knowledge or expertise in areas of special interest to the campus
  • Outstanding efforts toward achieving and/or advancing a diverse and principled academic community, including exemplary service in the areas of student, staff, and faculty recruitment and development
  • Exemplary scholarship having a major impact on community and diversity
  • Exemplary contributions to the success of campus-based outreach efforts
  • Exemplary service to the campus and/or community through active leadership, involvement in pre-college partnership initiatives

Selection factors will include, but not be limited to relative impact of each nominee's contribution to diversity and community for the campus and/or community as a whole; relative merit of contribution to a critical area of diversity and/or community; length/duration of contribution; and potential of award to model exemplary service for others (for example, increasing the pool of diverse applicants among student, staff, and faculty ranks; increasing understanding of the role of diversity in education; service and commitment toward building campus-local community relationships; or introducing diversity and community-related curricula in subject areas where such material is not normally featured). 

Seven awards are available, one to a member of each of the following constituencies: Academic Senate, Academic Federation, Staff, Graduate Students, Post-docs, Undergraduate Students, and members of the local community. The award recipients will receive a monetary prize and they will be honored at a special reception. Please click here to submit a nomination application. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Please submit all nominations no later than Monday, November 1, 2021 by 11:59PM. For questions email

Mikael Villalobos
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor
Office of Campus Community Relations

2020 Award Recipients

Academic Senate Faculty | Dr. Frederick Meyers

meyersDr. Frederick Meyers is the Director of the Center for Precision Medicine and Data Sciences and professor of internal medicine/hematology-oncology at UC Davis School of Medicine. His service to the University has included 12 years as Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine followed by 7 years as Executive Associate Dean and Vice Dean of the UC Davis Medical School.  Dr. Meyers currently serves as the president of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS), a national organization. He was also recently appointed president of CARES, Center for Aids Research Education and Services in Sacramento.  In sum, he is a very well-respected internist, oncologist, an expert in precision medicine, and an academician with outstanding records of mentoring and of representing the UC Davis School of Medicine at the national level, publishing frequently on clinical effectiveness research topics.

Academic Federation Faculty | Dr. Hendry Ton

hendtry tonHendry Ton, M.D., M.S., is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UC Davis Health and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. He served as the Director of Education at the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities where he led the development of a training program to help health care leaders make culturally transformational changes at academic, county, and state health organizations. He is also the founding medical director of the Transcultural Wellness Center of Asian Pacific Community Counseling; a community clinic that specializes in serving the mental health needs of Sacramento’s diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Undergraduate Student | Joel Gutierrez

 Joel GutierrezJoel (any pronouns) is a 4th year undergrad double majoring in American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. They have worked at the LGBTQIA Resource Center for three years, during which she has engaged in extensive advocacy work, programming, and outreach around equity for LGBTQIA folks. He presented to the UC Regents in May 2019, speaking on the experiences of trans and non-binary students and how the UC can provide better support for these communities. Joel also acts as a liaison between the LGBTQIA RC and local non-profit Davis Phoenix Coalition by facilitating an LGBTQ+ Youth Group in Davis.

Graduate Student | Jasmin B.T. McInerney

McInerneyJasmin B.T. McInerney is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Environmental Engineering. She studies environmental fluid mechanics with autonomous underwater vehicles. Jasmin has served on the UC Davis Society of Women Engineers executive council since she petitioned for the creation of her position of Graduate Student Representative in 2017. Jasmin is also the Secretary for the Society of Water and Environment Graduate Students. In both of these roles, she seeks to build a community of graduate students that is inclusive and supportive to stem the leaky pipeline of women in STEM. Jasmin also participates in outreach, engaging with the wider community, especially girls, promoting STEM. Upon completing her doctoral studies Jasmin wants to continue to use autonomous underwater vehicles to explore polar regions. 

Postdoctoral Researcher | Arielle Gire-Dumas

Arielle Justine DumasArielle Gire-Dumas grew up along the Sacramento River Delta, in Rio Vista, California. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California. She then obtained her medical degree from the University of California, Davis and subsequently matched into residency here in Obstetrics and Gynecology. As a resident, Arielle has been involved with community outreach and has been instrumental in the creation of the OBGYN department’s first Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Curriculum. She also founded and organized a Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the department, which includes residents, faculty and nursing who focus on cultural humility, drawing attention to the impacts of implicit bias, and promoting a safe and welcoming environment for staff and patients at UCD.

Staff | Blake Flaugher

flaugherBlake’s pronouns are he/him/his. He is the Sexual Well-Being Health Promotion Specialist at Student Health & Counseling Services (SHCS), and has been in the sexual health field for almost a decade. In his role at SHCS, he founded and chaired the Healthcare Equality Index Workgroup and co-chaired the  LGBTQIA+ Task Force (with Jessica Wilson, RD), which were created to improve healthcare access at SHCS for queer and trans students. In 2019, SHCS was named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by Human Rights Campaign; UC Davis was the only UC campus to achieve this status in 2019, and was one of only three college health centers to do so nationally. Blake currently serve as the Chair of the American College Health Association's Sexual Health Promotion and Clinical Care Coalition, which works to improve the sexual health and well-being of college students.

Community Member/Organization

Alecia-Eugene-ChastenAlecia K. Eugene-Chasten is the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer for the Urban Advocates and Achievers, (UAA) and is recognized for her leadership and innovation in the development of the “Student Achiever Resource Program”, designed for marginalized students to receive an equitable education and prepared for college and 21st Century Career Technical opportunities.




Department Recognition

This award recognizes departments for taking the initiative to champion diversity and inclusion across their units by including Diversity Education and other initiatives as part of their organizational and staff development plans. 

Emergency Medicine | Nathan Kupperman, Kara Toles

Human Resources | Karmen Fittes, Lyndon Huling, Christine Lovely

Academic Affairs | Phil Kass, Binnie Singh

Information & Technology, UC Davis Health | Charron Andrus, John Cook, Matthew Foster, Daniel Marenco, Sylvie Ngoyi, Johnny Preyer, Clyve Soriano, Stefan Toma

2019 Award Recipients

Special Recognition Category

Maisha Winn, Center for Transformative Justice in Education
Lawrence Winn, Center for Transformative Justice in Education

Special Recognition Category

Ralph Hexter, Office of the Chancellor and Provost
Philip Kass, Academic Affairs
Raquel Aldana, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Colleen Clancy, Dept of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Med
Cynthia Pickett, Academic Affairs
Binnie Singh, Academic Affairs

Academic Senate

Colleen Clancy, Dept of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Med

Academic Federation

Jann Murray-Garcia, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

Graduate Student

Briana Rocha-Gregg, Dept of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Undergraduate Student

Evan Dumas, Dept of Biotechnology


Fatima Malik, Center for Reducing Health Disparities

Department Category

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Internal Medicine
Student Farm

2018 Award Recipients

Academic Senate

Dr. Natalia Deeb Sossa, Chicana and Chicano Studies

  • Dr. Debb Sossa embodies diversity and inclusion in her socially and politically engaged scholarship, community outreach and invaluable contribution to marginalized communities.

  • Dr. Debb Sossa’s willingness to support student beyond traditional teaching duties was one of the few professors present at the student organization, Scholars Promoting Educational Awareness and Knowledge (SPEAK).  This organization seeks to create a more inclusive campus by promoting awareness and advocating for resources to support the undocumented community.

  • Professor Sossa also marched alongside many UC Davis students in Sacramento after the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also known as DACA.  She also collaborated with colleagues to organize a fundraiser to cover financial needs of undocumented students.

  • Her research studies have also challenged research methods within academia that have been harmful to certain communities.

  • Dr. Sossa's research includes not only learning what the community needs but, working to ensure that those needs are met.  One example is the UCD Chicano/a Studies Knights Landing Bridge Program.  Through this program she learned about genuine needs and experiences of the people, especially that they needed additional academic resources for children to thrive.  This program brought services and support to the Knights Landing community including mentorship by First-generation UCD students, for the low-income, first-generation students of Knights Landing.

  • Dr. Sossa's understands that for students from marginalized communities to succeed they must be supported on multiple levels.  Dr. Sossa is an exemplary model for how faculty can engage in research while promoting diversity, inclusion, and contributing to the local community.

Academic Federation             

Dr. Jorge Garcia, Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine

  • Dr. Jorge Garcia epitomizes the ideals of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.  In his two decades of service, he has inspired generations of underrepresented undergraduate students, medical students, residents, and faculty members to pursue and excel in the field of medicine.

  • The Resident physicians in Internal Medicine voted Dr. Garcia as the Outstanding Ambulatory Care Instructor in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.  He has also won the Outstanding Instructor Award for the Medical School Classes of 2005 and 2007, and the prestigious Kaiser Teaching Award as selected by the Class of 2011.

  • Professor Garcia strives to promote an inclusive learning environment in and outside of the classroom.  Dr. Garcia helped establish the mentoring colleges for the School of Medicine, and assisted in developing the reporting system for student mistreatment.

  • Although he is an accomplished physician he has never forgotten the awkwardness and isolation he felt in embarking on a career in medicine and then in academic medicine.  This is why Dr. Garcia relishes his position as a role model and inspirational coach for underrepresented students in medicine.

  • Dr. Garcia along with his wife Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia regularly open their home to students for informal dinners.  Also each summer for the last 8 years students from the Summer Institute on Race and Health enjoy a weekly "Dinner and a Movie", that highlights diverse cinema and lends insight to the challenge of achieving health equity.

  • As Associate Director, Dr. Garcia helped with the development and implementation of the Kaiser-funded UCD School of Medicine pipeline program, the Preparando Estudiantes Para Ser Medicos (Prep Medico) Program, now in its third year.  Prep Medico is a 6-week residential program for Latino and other students committed to providing excellent care for the region's increasing Latino population.

Graduate Student

Hung Doan, Plant Pathology

  • Hung Doan is a socially conscious scholar who believes that service is at the heart of scholarship.  As a graduate student in Plant Pathology he is helping to bring attention to an issue that is often hidden, food insecurity with the UCD student community, especially among underrepresented students.

  • As an immigrant, Hung knows poverty and hunger all too well, in high school he frequently volunteered at a shelter where he packed and handed out food and clothes for disadvantaged communities.  His desire to serve these communities continued through his undergraduate and graduate career at UC Davis, and he has consistently worked with agencies such as the food bank, homeless shelters and others.

  • Since 2011, Hung has worked as coordinator and head cook for a student-run soup kitchen, "Help and Education Leading to the Prevention of Poverty" also known as H.E.L.P.  He firmly believes that education can prevent poverty.  

  • As an immigrant and first-generation college student he knows how difficult it can be to fit-in at school and to navigate the academic world.  For that reason, he mentors disadvantaged children in the Progress Ranch Education and Mentoring Program.  As a result of his efforts all of the high school students he mentored are now attending college.

  • Aside from mentoring, Hung is also very passionate about teaching.  He also assisted with the development of a seminar course to connect students and postdocs with potential employers from the agriculture science industry and 12 of the course participants found jobs.

  • Hung has many roles in the Plant Pathology Department.  He serves at a TA, President and Graduate Student Representative and director of the UCD Plant Disease Clinic where he diagnosed plant diseases for the Davis community, including small farmers who would otherwise not be able to afford this service.

Postdoctoral Student

Dr. Lauren Libero, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Davis MIND Institute

  • In Dr. Libero's short three years at UC Davis and Sacramento campus, she has poured herself into the task of advocacy, community service, and mentorship.  She has volunteered to serve as co-leader of the UC Davis MIND Institute Social Skills Groups Program for autistic adults and their family members.

  • When a staff retirement threatened to shut down a monthly support group for family members of people on the autism spectrum, Dr. Libero stepped up and advocated for them to continue meeting at a time and place where she could personally serve as the lead staff member at the MIND Institute.

  • Through her work and research at the MIND Institute Dr. Libero learned that the majority of people who are diagnosed with autism are males--there are about 4 males on the autism spectrum for every female.  This led her to the realization that women though diagnosed later, may need additional support.  Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Libero organized a weekly group for women on the Autism Spectrum that she continues to lead.  Her advocacy for autism education and support also extends to the greater Sacramento and Davis communities.

  • Dr. Libero has done presentations for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD's) Autism Awareness Seminar and she works with organizations like McWane Science Center, where she conducted science demonstrations to increase children's interest in STEM.

  • Dr. Libero understands that children and young adults with autism need to engage in activities that help to enhance their communication skills, like theater which can sometimes be a life-changing experience for people on the spectrum.  This lead to additional volunteer opportunities for Dr. Libero to mentor children and young adults with autism in Theater and Improv.



Samantha Y. Chiang, ASUCD

  • As a UCD Associated Student Senator Samantha founded and institutionalized the first UC Davis Mental Health Conference and Mental Health Awareness Month, and because of her work and involvement in this area, students look to her to be their voice for resources and support.

  • Also in her role as ASUCD Senator Samantha worked with students to establish the Disability Rights Advisory Committee which is now the official Student Disability Center (SDC) Advisory Board.  The Board also collaborated with the SDC Director to advocate and win a space in the SDC in the newly renovated Memorial Union.  The space in the MU provides greater visibility for the SDC and makes disability services more accessible to the student community.

  • Samantha also sat on the first ever Counseling Services “Think Tank” and is currently working to institutionalize and transform it into a permanent Student Health and Counseling Services Advisory Board.

  • Always working to improve inclusion, Samantha worked with SHCS to create translated insurance documents in Mandarin and Spanish, to make insurance literacy more accessible to English as a second language speakers.

  • Samantha is currently collaborating with Student Diversity Affairs to create a cultural competency training for all UC Davis students in an effort to combat the campuses rise in xenophobic events and behaviors.

  • Her passion for assisting marginalized and underrepresented communities is a reflection of her deep desire to create a more equitable and inclusive campus environment.















Dr. Lina Mendez, Associate Director of the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success Center

  • Dr. Mendez has made remarkable contributions to the University’s mission of diversity and community.  Through her research as well as her lived experiences and journey in support of the Chicanx and Latinx student communities has focused on channeling their potential in the pursuit of educational excellence, while also working to shape the institutions that serve them.

  • As a graduate student she worked in the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE).  In that role her contributions concentrated on improving the academic instruction for underrepresented group at UCD.  She helped faculty to become better instructors by providing strategies to implement culturally competent and inclusive teaching practices that ultimately improved the learning experiences and educational outcomes of all students.

  • After CEE she was hired as a Post-doc at the UCD Health campus for Reducing Health Disparities.  There, she worked on projects related to mental health prevention and early intervention.  This included engaging in Community Based Participatory Research, where she collaborated with several groups including the Chicanx/Latinx, LGBTQ, Rural, Urban, Professionals, Farmworkers, and Community Health Workers known as Promotoras, on mental health prevention.  These experiences laid the ground work for Dr. Mendez’ current work in student services.

  • Her leadership experience in student equity initiatives related to academic support services and the social needs of underrepresented students is one of her greatest strengths.  In her role as Associate Director of the CLASS Center, she oversees the Center’s day-to-day activities and programming for student retention and success.

  • Dr. Mendez goes above and beyond to assist students in their pursuit of academic excellence.  She believes in a holistic advising model that addresses students personal, financial, and academic issues, as well as, “sense of belonging”, and leadership development.

  • Always aware of the increasing diversity of the UC Davis community she participates in the Davis “Developing Deeper Advising Relationships (DDAR) training series” to ensure that she is prepared to address the needs of groups such as the LGBTQIA community, foster youth and young parents.

Special Recognition Award

Barbara Ashby, Manager, Worklife and Wellness

  • The Worklife programs Barbara developed and oversees support the distinct needs and goals of individuals with a multitude of backgrounds and experiences.

  • Programs such as the Worklife and Wellness unit’s Flexible Work Arrangements, Dependent Care Resources, the Breastfeeding Support Program, Student Parent Child Care Grants, and Community Involvement all address the diverse needs of people Barbara’s programs serve at UCD.

  • She was the Principle Investigator of a Department of Education Grant which awarded over 1.5 million dollars to student parents in the CCAMPIS grant over a period of 12 years.  When the grant changed focus and was no longer being awarded to UC’s, Barbara was crucial in securing funding to continue to aid student parents with child care costs.  This support is essential for the current and increasing population of student parents.

  • Barbara was instrumental in establishing the Hutchison Child Development Center which began with one goal, which was to simply create additional support for campus parents but, Barbara had a larger vision and because of her hard work we now have 3 child care facilities that serve over 300 children.

  • In 1994, Barbara founded the Breastfeeding Support Program (BFSP) at UCD.  The BFSP provides almost 70 lactation rooms with hospital-grade pumps, support and education, and lactation consultation.  Thanks to her persistent advocacy this year, the BFSP will be the first in the UC system to install a Mamava self-contained lactation pod and it will provide space to accommodate many more breastfeeding moms.  Additionally, the program will once again co-sponsor the Sacramento Breastfeeding Coalition’s annual Breast Milk Donation drive in partnership with Yolo County, WIC and Sutter Health.

  • In 2016-17, Barbara collaborated with the Women’s Resources and Research Center to establish the “Caregiver Support Group and education Program” which provides resources and a monthly support group for those on campus who are in a caregiver role.  Also established was the Workplace Flexibility program which allows supervisors the ability to arrange flexible work arrangements for staff with caregiving responsibilities.

  • Barbara also understood the importance of acknowledging leaders who support Worklife balance and in 2017 she held the first “Worklife Champions” manager/supervisor recognition campaign.  This campaign identified managers or supervisors who provide support to employees in managing their professional and personal demands.  The response was significant with over 250 nominations for about 200 managers/supervisor.

Community Achievement Award

Cassandra Jennings, President and CEO, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento

  • Cassandra Jennings serves as the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) President and CEO.  Since 1968, GSUL has been a local resource hub to help a diverse “hard-to-reach and hard-to-keep” client base to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Understanding this challenge, Cassandra has cleared the way for GSUL to expand its physical footprint, better integrated technology, and build meaningful, purposeful relationships that directly impact GSUL’s clients and the organization’s overall approach.

  • She envisions GSUL as an incubator for civic activism where the organization can assist in fostering and facilitating community advocacy and empowerment around policies void of equity, diversity and inclusion, and economic social-economic access.  The key here is to ensure that when our clients and students successfully complete our programs they see themselves as part of a life-long community of social justice at GSUL to design, advance and advocate for positive socio-economic policy.

  • A strong champion for diversity and inclusion, Cassandra has used her role as President and CEO of GSUL to go beyond the Sacramento city limits to UC Davis in assisting the University’s outreach efforts in underserved communities in Sacramento through the SAYS Program, which, as a result of her leadership, is now co-located at GSUL’s headquarters in Del Paso Heights.

  • Additionally, Cassandra leads the charge in the recognition and celebration of some of the regions firsts, which included local and state elected officials, business leaders and community leaders.  In recent months, there have been many first’s in our region including the appointment of UC Davis’ first African-American Chancellor, Dr. Gary S. May, the hiring of Sacramento Police Department first African-American Chief of Police, Daniel Hahn and others.

  • Cassandra is a leader in the region and has earned respect because of her passion for the community at-large and her sincere commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as, social-economic access.

Department Recognition

  • This award category was added in recognition of departments for taking the initiative to champion diversity and inclusion across their units by including training as part of their organizational and staff development. These efforts are in support of the UC Davis Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and it is our hope that the campus community will be inspired by these departments’ proactive measures in operationalizing our Principles of Community, and in striving towards a more diverse and inclusive UC Davis.

  • The departments recognized below have taken a leading role in integrating diversity and inclusion in their staff development opportunities and programming.  The three departments and their dedicated staff are being recognized by the Office of Campus Community Relations (OCCR), and the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI), Sacramento campus.

  • These training opportunities began with individuals who ultimately brought about change to their entire departments. After participating in the Office of Campus Community Relations’ annual Diversity Awareness Workshop, these individuals worked with their department leaders and with OCCR to organize a training series on topics including cross-cultural communication, generational differences, conflict management, implicit bias, and living the Principles of Community. Furthermore, these departments and their dedicated staff have remained committed to fostering greater inclusion in the workplace, and OCCR has proudly partnered with them to provide ongoing training opportunities as they continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their development.

  • Today, we recognize these departments, and especially the individuals within them who have led the efforts to champion diversity and inclusion education among their staff and colleagues.  We are honored to present each department with the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community.


UC Davis Health Information Technology Division

John Cook, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Charron Andrus, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Daniel Marenco, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Katie Holland, Information Technology Services

Richard Falcon, Information Technology Services

Stefan Toma, UCDH IT Applications Operations

Myrene Abot, Information Technology Services

School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program

Jose A. Morfin, UCDH Department of Nephrology

Elio A. Gutierrez, UCDH Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Student Housing and Dining Services

Emily Galindo, Student Affairs Vice Chancellor’s Office

Catrina Wagner, Student Housing

Corey Pope, Student Housing

Connie Quintero, Student Housing

Duane Lindsay, Student Housing


2017 Award Recipients

Academic Senate

Lorena B. Oropeza, Associate Professor, History

  • As Associate Professor of History Dr. Lorena Oropeza, embodies the diversity and inclusion as well as, the Principles of Community in multiple ways, especially her socially and politically engaged scholarship, community outreach, unique approach to undergraduate teaching, and invaluable contributions to graduate mentorship.   
  • Dr. Oropeza's contributions to diversity stand out in her scholarship and she is currently finishing a book about one of the most influential leaders in the Chicano land-grant movement of New Mexico, Reies Lopez Tijerina.
  • This incredibly engaging tale traces Tijerina’s grassroots Chicano political movement as he drew on intersectional interests with Pan-Africanists and civil rights leaders in the United States and abroad.
  • Dr. Oropeza also merges her intellectual and community interests through her active involvement in an arts and education non-profit located in San Pablo, California. Since 2012, she has served as board president of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy.
  • This multifaceted organization offers weekly dance and music Mexican roots classes to hundreds of children throughout the Bay Area.  It also serves as a safe space for children to develop a sense of self-affirmation through cultural learning and ownership of living traditions. 

Academic Federation

Koen Van Rompay, Professional Researcher, California Nattional Primate Center

  • Dr. Van Rompay is an internationally recognized HIV researcher at the UC Davis California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC).
  • His groundbreaking HIV research has built the scientific foundation for a number of antiviral drug strategies that are now widely used to prevent or treat HIV infection and have saved millions of lives, including the clinical development of the number one HIV drug in the world.
  • But what sets him apart is his humanitarian work outside of the laboratory.   Dr. Van Rompay’s efforts have helped to overcome obstacles in HIV/AIDS work and inspired others to action.
  • In 1999, he established the nonprofit organization, Sahaya, an international organization focused on making the world a better place for HIV/AIDS patients.  Under his leadership, the HIV/AIDS research program at UC Davis and Sahaya have successfully garnered international support from organizations, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gilead Sciences Foundation, World Bank and Global Strategies for HIV Prevention.
  • This support not only saved the lives of many HIV­ infected children in rural India but, also significantly improved the life of entire communities by providing access to health, education and socioeconomic resources, that allowed the local people to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
  • For his work, Dr. Van Rompay has received several prestigious awards, including the 2006 Alumnus of the Year award by the University of Antwerp (Belgium), and the 2010 Excellence in Research Award from UC Davis.
  • Dr. Van Rompay’s work also captured the attention of Academy Award winning actor Jeremy Irons who recently volunteered to narrate the film produced by Sahaya International titled, “Sahaya Going Beyond”.

Graduate Student

Marisella M. Rodriguez, Political Science

  • Marisella Rodriguez, is a graduate student in the Political Science Department.  She is committed to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in undergraduate and graduate education and, she has served the UC Davis campus community in a number of different capacities.
  • One of Marisella's most notable contributions to the UC Davis campus community is her organization of the Political Science Women's Roundtable sessions, which is a supportive network of female faculty and graduate students. She did so in response to a high attrition rate of female graduate students in the Political Science department and to address the workplace environment that made the department less inclusive of female graduate students, particularly for females from traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Marisella collaborated with the Women's Resource and Research Center and the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program to facilitate four roundtable sessions during the 2015-2016 academic year.  As a result of her efforts, the roundtables are continuing through this academic year.    
  • Marisella has also focused on improving undergraduate education in her work with the Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC) program at the UC Davis Center for Educational Effectiveness.  In this role, Marisella has helped hundreds of UC Davis graduate students and postdocs make their classrooms more inclusive for diverse student populations.
  • Her work has helped Teaching Assistants (TA’s) implement effective teaching strategies that foster supportive learning conditions for nontraditional students.   The professional development sessions Marisella has led include “The Effects of Implicit Bias in Academia”.  Through her work with the TAC program, Marisella has assisted hundreds of UCD instructors to make their classrooms more inclusive for diverse student populations.
  • What sets Marisella apart from other graduate students is her clear commitment to the UC Davis Principles of Community and her dedication to making UC Davis an inclusive space for traditionally underrepresented groups.

Postdoctoral Student

Alberto L. Aguilera, Nutrition

  • Since September 2015, Dr. Aguilera has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis.  Dr. Aguilera’s scholarship and community service exemplify inclusion and the Principles of Community. 
  • Over the past five years, Dr. Aguilera was the lead nutrition doctoral student, and now postdoctoral fellow on a multi-disciplinary community-based participatory research intervention, to prevent obesity in Mexican-origin children in California's Central Valley.
  • Dr. Aguilera played a pivotal role in forming a bridge between nutrition, medical, and social scientists in addressing a critical health issue in a very high-risk population.  He continually demonstrated respect for and sensitivity to the needs of community members and worked collaboratively with all members of the UC Davis and field office team. 
  • Dr. Aguilera brought his insights related to nutrition assessment, database management, and community engagement to this project. This project, in a hard-to-reach population, was exceedingly challenging, but Dr. Aguilera's perseverance, analytical skills, ability to communicate and dedication, contributed to the success of the intervention.  He has co-authored four peer-reviewed journal articles and has three more currently under review.
  • Beyond his research, he has a record of truly outstanding service, reflecting a strong, deeply-felt commitment to diversity and community. Dr. Aguilera has served as president of the Latino/Latina Graduate Student Association. His work with this association also provided mentorship of undergraduate students through a program that paired undergraduates with graduate students.
  • At Clinica Tepati, the UC Davis Clinic focused on Latino/Latina health. Dr. Aguilera has been a nutrition educator for the Diabetes Interest Group. He also met with undergraduate students and guided them as they worked on developing a standard of care curriculum that was culturally and linguistically adapted for a predominantly Spanish-speaking audience.
  • It is through his efforts as a UC Davis researcher and scholar that facilitated a nexus of caring support to improve the health of the Latino community. 


Katherine J. Parpana, Academic Counselor, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Katherine Parpana, is an Academic Counselor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  She is an exemplary leader in her commitment and service to diversity and inclusion on this campus. 
  • Katherine has served the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community since 2013, and in this role, she has been instrumental in her outreach to the Filipino and other underrepresented Asian groups.  Katherine serves as the advisor for the Filipino Graduation Celebration ceremony held in June. This is an important role because there are few Filipino identified staff and faculty on campus, even fewer who are available to support the community.
  • Katherine also works with other API communities at UC Davis, including the Hmong community and serves as a member of the API Retention Initiative Committee. Katherine has mentored many students in the API community and continues to support these students even post-graduation.  She is a vital resource for them and plays a critical part in their success and retention at UC Davis.
  • Katherine has also worked with the international student population.  In this role, she participates on the International Community Retreat committee.  This program is part of the community retention initiative created by the Cross Cultural Center and Services for International Students and Scholars under Student Affairs. Katherine was identified as a campus partner representing academic advising when this program was initiated in 2014 and has continued to work with this program to present day.
  • As a social justice advocate, Katherine is able to align with university initiatives as they relate to diversity, inclusion and retention. Her participation in the Developing Deeper Advising Relationships (DDAR) professional development series for advisors is evidence of this alignment. In DDAR, Katherine assisted in the creation and implementation of the professional development advising series. This series focused on a student-centered holistic advising that embodied culturally sensitive, relevant and inclusive practices.

Honorary Service

David A. Acosta, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, UCDHS

  • Dr. David Acosta is a visionary leader who joined the UC Davis Health System in 2014.  As the Associate Vice Chancellor of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, he has had a significant impact on the health system through his ongoing commitment to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive health care system.
  • He provides meaningful mentorship and thinks strategically about how to leverage the strengths of individuals, so that they can thrive and make a difference within the health system. He works tirelessly to live and exemplify the mission of UC Davis to promote community engagement and equity of underserved communities. He is a true collaborator and leader.
  • As a member of the Carnegie Classification Task force, Dr. Acosta was instrumental in UC Davis being recognized for community engagement, in both its own neighborhoods and around the world.  In January of 2015, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced that UC Davis would be one of the colleges and universities to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification.
  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership has also facilitated the collaboration of health professionals throughout the Sacramento region to focus attention and resources on underserved communities.  He has been instrumental in hosting The Permanente Medical Group Latino Health Conference. This year marks the 3rd year of its success. The Latino Health Conference seeks to address health disparities in the Latino/ Hispanic community by sharing evidence-based practices and clinical research, promoting diversity in the healthcare workforce, and creating linkages between community health organizations and healthcare providers.
  • A large part of his work to improve service to underrepresented communities involves cultivating culturally sensitive, equitable health care services and providers.
  • In September 2016, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)/Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) awarded UC Davis Health System Office for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion a grant in the amount of $12,000 a year, for 3-years, to pilot an innovative, first-of-its-kind toolkit designed to assess practices, policies, and programs that improve campus climate for diversity and inclusion.  Dr. Acosta was Principal Investigator and slated to lead the effort to accelerate UCDHS towards a more inclusive climate.  The results of the pilot will inform legislative and educational policymakers about the toolkit as a strategy for increasing diversity in higher education and the workforce.
  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership in health-care and education included his serving as Principle Investigator on the I0-year grant, awarded to UC Davis by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group.
  • Dr. Acosta built his vision of an innovative pipeline program called Preparando Estudiantes para ser Medicos or Preparing Students to be Physicians (Prep Medico for short).
  • This multi-faceted initiative provides scholarships, mentorship and internship opportunities, a residential program, intensive language training, volunteer service opportunities, and hands-on clinical experiences for pre-med and medical students. The initiative provides a holistic, comprehensive, and longitudinal approach to supporting students with the potential to provide culturally-sensitive health care to underserved communities, with an emphasis on Latino communities. The goal is to expand diversity in medicine and ultimately increase the number of Latinos who choose to become physicians.
  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership demonstrates his life-long commitment to diversity and inclusion in advancing equity in health care for underserved communities and in impacting the systems that serve them. 

Department Recognition

This award category was added in recognition of departments for taking the initiative to champion diversity and inclusion across their units by including training as part of their organizational and staff development. These efforts are in support of the UC Davis Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and it is our hope that the campus community will be inspired by these departments’ proactive measures in operationalizing our Principles of Community, and in striving towards a more diverse and inclusive UC Davis.

The departments recognized today have taken a leading role in integrating diversity and inclusion in their staff development. In the last two years, they required their entire department staff to participate in training, which also supported each employee’s development as part of the EPAR process.

These training opportunities began with individuals who ultimately brought about change to their entire departments. After participating in the Office of Campus Community Relations’ annual Diversity Awareness Workshop, these individuals worked with their department leaders and with OCCR to organize a training series on topics including cross-cultural communication, generational differences, conflict management, implicit bias, and living the Principles of Community. Furthermore, these departments and their dedicated staff have remained committed to fostering greater inclusion in the workplace, and OCCR has proudly partnered with them to provide ongoing training opportunities as they continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their development.

Today, we recognize these departments, and especially the individuals within them who have led the efforts to champion diversity and inclusion education among their staff and colleagues.  We are honored to present each department with the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community.

Accounting & Financial Services

Michael Allred, Associate Vice Chancellor Finance

Rebecca Hartman, Business Office Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Carmichael, Manager

Shared Services Center

Sara Reed, Director

Megan Glide Villasenor, Operations Manager

Development & Alumni Relations

Shaun Keister, Vice Chancellor

Kari Woodard, Program Manager

Debra R. Coleman, Business Manager

2016 Award Recipients

Academic Senate

Edward Callahan, Associate Dean Academic Personnel, UCDHS: Medical Dean's Office

  • Dr. Callahan has over 30 years of service at UC Davis and the UC Davis Health System. He was appointed as a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in 1985 and as Associate Dean of Academic Personnel in the School of Medicine in 2006.
  • Dr. Callahan has embodied the UC Davis Principles of Community throughout his many years of work and in all of his roles. He leads passionately with the goal of reducing health disparities faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community.
  • Most recently, he formed the Task Force for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Electronic Health Record. This Task Force brought LGBTQI and ally faculty, staff, and students together to improve the patient health outcomes, and spawned other projects: a policy audit to make Medical Center policies more inclusive of LGBTQI patients; staff ally ship trainings; and the development of an LGBTQI-Welcoming Provider list.
  • This work has led to the UC Davis Medical Center being recognized as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index for five consecutive years.  
  • He has also taken responsibility for extending knowledge of LGBTQI patient care by developing the Improving Outcomes Conference in 2015. In its inaugural year, the two-day conference brought 125 healthcare professionals from all over California to learn about culturally competent care for LGBTQI patients.
  • Dr. Callahan has also contributed to the development of LGBTQI curriculum in the School of Medicine alongside Dr. Hendry Ton. He was instrumental in developing a curriculum retreat comprised of health care educators, LGBTQI advocates, and students to plan a 4-year longitudinal curriculum, one of the first in the country.
  • Dr. Callahan then helped to inspire, recruit, and mentor faculty to teach in this curriculum, while also teaching directly to students from the Schools of Medicine and Nursing on this critical topic. Two years after the retreat, over 70% of the desired learning objectives were implemented which is a testament to Dr. Callahan’s collaborative leadership.
  • Dr. Callahan is a trusted and well-respected leader who strives to maintain a climate of equity and justice for all.

Academic Federation

Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCDHS: Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

  • Dr. Ackerman-Barger Assistant Adjunct Professor and Assistant Director for the Master's Entry Program for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.  In that capacity, she has advocated for the development of a holistic admissions process to ensure the cognitive diversity of the cohort of students admitted. This involved leading colleagues in a collaborative effort to develop a mission statement for the Admissions Committee that identifies the School's commitment to diversity and inclusion. She also worked with the Admission Committee Chair to develop strategies for recruitment of a diverse pool of students.
  • Additionally, Dr. Ackerman-Barger has represented the School at the National Black Nurses Association and the National Hispanic Nurses Association meetings in order to generate enthusiasm among the attendees for our graduate programs.
  • Dr. Ackerman-Barger also serves on several UC Davis Health System committees related to diversity and inclusion, including Under-Represented Groups in Medicine & Biomedical Science where she served on the Faculty Toolkit Subcommittee and the Networking Event Subcommittee. Dr. Ackerman-Barger's contributions and insights regarding diversity are reflected in her appointment to several important university search committees: Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Diversity and Director of Institutional Climate and Community Engagement.
  • Dr. Ackerman-Barger is developing an important area of scholarship on the topic of "stereotype threat susceptibility" among underrepresented minority students. Stereotype threat occurs when a person's social identity is attached to a negative stereotype. In the case of students of color, those susceptible to stereotype threat will tend to underperform in a manner consistent with that negative stereotype. She has received intramural funding to support her research. Dr. Ackerman-Barger presented this research at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in 2015.
  • Dr. Ackerman-Barger also volunteers as a facilitator of the Team Peace Curriculum Committee. Team PEACE (Professionalism, Ethics and Cultural Enrichment) is a four-year curriculum thread that prepares UC Davis medical students to uphold the tenets of health care professionalism, to work effectively in inter-professional teams and to provide culturally relevant and ethical care to all patients.
  • Team PEACE includes nursing, medicine and physician-assistant students who meet in seminar format to explore the sociocultural dimensions of health and illness while recognizing personal biases and reactions to persons from diverse backgrounds.
  • Dr. Ackerman-Barger works tirelessly to ensure that diversity and inclusion is integrated into all aspects of the health profession, including admissions, teaching, research and patient care.  

Graduate Student

Orlando Carreon, Associate-In, Student, Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education

  • Orlando's service to our campus in diversity, community, and social justice has been outstanding during his tenure here as a PhD student.
  • From the moment he arrived on campus, Orlando focused his School of Education activism on building community and transforming consciousness of faculty and students toward social justice. When School of Education (SOE) was caught up in incidents of inflammatory racist discourse among students it was clear that something had to change.
  • Orlando was one of a handful of students who stepped forward to try to make a difference.  He became one of the founders, and one of the leaders - of the student-created SOE Social Justice Education Committee. Supplied by the Office of Graduate Studies and the campus administration, this committee has since become the campus­ wide Social Justice Education Coalition (SJEC).
  • One of the early actions of the organization was to create a "Critical Consciousness Speaker Series," in which Orlando was again, a leader.  The Speaker Series has brought world-renowned scholars and educators to UC Davis to speak on issues of equity. Now in its fifth year, it draws audiences from all over the UCD campus.  The importance of this series for opening minds and educating the campus community about race, social justice, and transformation is great.
  • Orlando was also deeply involved in creating an advisory board for the SJEC that brings together influential UC Davis scholars and administrators, including the Director of the Office of Campus Community Relations, Graduate Studies Diversity Director, Campus Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Director of Research and Policy for Equity in SOE, Dean of SOE, and two senior faculty members in the SOE. 
  • The creation of this advisory board should not be minimized: the advisory board has not only provided valuable mentorship to both the student-led coalition, SOE administration and faculty, but it has also created a sustainable model of campus partnerships dedicated to equity, diversity, and social justice that embody the campus Principles of Community.
  • Orlando has also been an intensely involved participant of the Graduate Academic Achievement & Advocacy Program (GAAAP) mentorship project, which pairs graduate students with undergraduate students to demystify the graduate school experience and encourage more representation of students of color at the graduate school level.
  • He has worked with five under-represented students for the past two years, all of whom have now graduated and are currently applying for admission to graduate programs. Orlando is a remarkable teacher, student, scholar, and educational leader committed to social change in education.

Undergraduate Student

Juli Apte, Junior, Services for International Students & Scholars, Global Affairs

  • Jui Apte is a wonderful student leader, as well as an ambassador of diversity and inclusion for UC Davis.  Jui has played a crucial in the success of the Global Ambassadors Mentorship Program. Her enthusiasm for assisting international students in their academic journey is grounded in her personal experience. 
  • Jui understands how it feels to be suddenly immersed in a new culture.  She knows the struggle of being far from home and trying to build relationships while navigating through the complexity of the University system.
  • Jui found those connections in the Global Ambassadors Program where she has attended all of the workshops, and served as a volunteer.  She also encouraged other students to get involved.  
  • As a mentor Jui goes above and beyond to provide guidance and support to her fellow international students, especially in times of distress. 
  • Jui is also instrumental in the Global Ambassadors Program operations where she assists in organizing events and marketing programs. 
  • Administrators acknowledge that without Jui's help, the program would not have exhibited the organization and inclusion that it does today. Jui is a true ambassador of diversity and inclusion.


Cara Harwood Theisen, Educational Specialist, Center for Educational Effectiveness

  • Dr. Theisen is the Teaching Assistant (TA) Consultant Coordinator at the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE).  Cara is her dedication to raising awareness among UC Davis faculty and instructors about effective teaching and learning practices that support student diversity and inclusivity in the classroom. In winter 2015, under Cara's guidance, the TA consultants created a workshop series for graduate instructors titled, "Student, Classroom, and Instructor: Strategies for Aligning Teaching with Learning."
  • During our planning, Cara pushed TA’s to think collectively and collaboratively about how to encourage other graduate instructors to reflect on diversity and what strategies may be employed to help students to be successful in the classroom.
  • This motivated the TA’s to develop workshop ideas that covered topics such as educational equity, various modes of participation across disciplines, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  • This past summer, Cara and Amanda O’dell co-wrote the TA's Guide to Effective Teaching at UC Davis. Due to her ongoing commitment to ensuring that TAs are aware that student diversity extends beyond statistics, they wrote a chapter dedicated to illustrating who students are at UC Davis, the benefits of engagement for student learning and retention, and approaches for supporting first-generation, and other college students.
  • Dr. Theisen has also developed and implemented outreach and hiring practices for the TAs that will encourage a more diverse applicant pool and more transparent application and interview evaluations.
  • Under Dr. Theisen's leadership, program outreach materials  now reflect the team's commitment to  cultural competence and the principles of community; program outreach is focused on diverse graduate student populations in a concerted effort to diversify the applicant  pool;  the application process now includes a diversity statement; the application review process is now governed by a rubric to help reduce implicit bias; and the interview protocol now includes questions about inclusive education and cultural humility.
  • Dr. Theisen's practices have far-reaching implications for campus climate and beyond as she continues the efforts of building a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

Honorary Service

Griselda Castro, Deputy Director, Office of the Provost

  • Griselda Castro retired Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.  
  • After retirement, Griselda led the effort in completing the promise of the 2007 AGR Room Reconciliation Proposal, a project that has its roots in the fall of 1975 upon discovery of the “Lupe” song, a fraternity pledge song that graphically describes the sexual exploits of a Mexican woman.
  • In her role as Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and after her retirement, Griselda was a tireless champion to see this project through. She has been instrumental in engaging the Chicano/Latino Community and greater campus community in working together for a path forward that brings some restorative resolution to the events of 1975.
  • Griselda was instrumental in shepherding the major components of the AGR Room Reconciliation Proposal: establishment of the “Lupe Social Justice Scholarship Fund” and the creation of a major public-outdoor art piece to be placed at the Buehler Alumni Center.
  • With the scholarship fund being established in 2007-2008, Griselda was recalled from retirement to complete the last component of the reconciliation proposal. 
  • In the last year, she has led the effort in the creation of the art piece, working with the identified artist and consulting with various constituencies on the concept of the sculpture so that it will symbolize both its premise and promise of healing while honoring the respectful role of Mexican women in our state and society at large.
  • After numerous consultations, bringing campus community members together to take ownership of the reflective and educational power of “The Voice of Lupe,” the public sculpture was formally dedicated on November 12, 2015 to an audience that values the power of community coming together in our collective efforts to move forward.
  • Since the drafting of the reconciliation proposal, it was Griselda's leadership that guided the promise of the proposal while serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and completing that promise after her retirement. 
  • As a staff member, Griselda has been an important champion for diversity and inclusion. Even in her retirement, her commitment to the power of UC Davis as an institution for changing hearts and minds is illustrated in her commitment to seeing this important project to completion

2015 Award Recipients

Academic Senate

Tonya Fancher, Physican, UCDHS: Division of General Medicine

  • Dr. Fancher has worked tirelessly to address disparities among minority groups by implementing several community-based teaching programs focusing on the care of vulnerable populations. For example, she led the Transforming Education and Community Health residency program (TEACH), which is a primary care teaching partnership with the Sacramento County clinic. The program trains Internal Medicine residents to provide culturally competent care in medically underserved communities of California and beyond.
  • She started a similar program in the School of Medicine called TEACH- Medical Students attracting students from diverse backgrounds to become primary care physician leaders in urban underserved communities.
  • Dr. Fancher also helped launch the San Joaquin Valley PRIME Program in 2011 and serves as its Associate Director for Curriculum. This program provides students with first-hand experience with interdisciplinary health care in medically underserved communities, as well as a curriculum emphasizing a true understanding of the factors and conditions impacting quality of health care in the Central Valley.

Academic Federation

Carol Hom, IGERT/Academic Coordinator, Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences

  • Dr. Hom has been the Academic Coordinator for three major NSF Programs, Biolnvasions, REACH and the NSF- IGERT funded Collaborative Learning at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology (CLIMB) undergraduate training program.  
  • For each of these programs Dr. Hom collaborates with faculty, students and staff from multiple departments and her personal leadership functions include, coordinator, mentor, instructor, and project manager. 
  • Dr. Hom is instrumental in the documented achievements of these highly interdisciplinary and challenging programs that have served students from the broadest spectrum of academic, social, and cultural backgrounds.
  • The BioInvasions, REACH, and CLIMB programs were all extremely successful, in promoting diversity and career placement. The REACH IGERT trained 21 graduate students total, including 12 women and 2 students from underrepresented groups in the STEM fields; and the for the NSF IGERT program she trained 19 students, including 9 women and 2 Latinos.

Judith Kjelstrom, Director, Biotechnology Program, Molecular and Cellular Biology

  • Dr. Kjelstrom is a lecturer for the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and has severed as the lecturer at several university and college institutions. She is on the board for several local organizations and participates in numerous outreach projects.
  • She is the Co-PI for a joint NSF project at American River College that focuses on  Applied Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Training for High School Teachers.  She is also the co- Founder and member of Advisory Board for BioTech SYSTEM, a regional biotech consortium.
  • Dr. Kjelstrom is a champion of women issues and she strives to promote equity for women in all walks of life. 
  • Dr. Kjelstrom not only organizes programs, she encourages her students to seek positions within the community that serve elementary and middle school children.  She stresses to her students the importance of planting seeds in the minds of young people, so they will be excited about seeking careers in the STEM fields. 

Post-doc Fellow

Amandeep Kaur, Fellow, Chancellor & Provost Office

  • Amandeep Kaur, is a Chancellor's Science Fellow. She is a trailblazer whose many efforts to foster diversity and inclusion have inspired administrators, faculty staff and students.
  • Amandeep spearheaded a campaign to address the issue of Non Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) for international PhD students. Her relentless advocacy and passion to create equity for international students resulted in creation of new RST fellowships.
  • Last year as Graduate Ally Coalition Coordinator to improve campus climate she initiated the Diversity Dialogues on Graduate Education.    To understand the needs of various student communities, such as undocumented, international, LGBTQIA, Student veterans, students of color, graduate student parents and women in STEM, she conducted surveys of each student population.  Her survey findings uncovered critical issues that needed to be address.  The dialogues facilitated community building and helped to improve campus climate.

Marcus Tang, AB540 Center, Law School

  • Marcus Tang is the human embodiment of this Award. He is currently the AB540 Post Graduate Legal Fellow at UC Davis, where he works with the new AB540 Center by consulting with staff, offering presentations, training, legal services, and information and also represents clients at UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic.
  • As a law student, he worked as a student legal advocate with the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic, as a summer law clerk with Legal Services of Northern California and with Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and as a judicial extern for Alameda County Superior Court Judge Delbert C. Gee, among other roles.
  • However, he is best known for his work with the UC Davis and King Hall community.  He organizes and collaborates with students and faculty to address urgent and important issues affecting low-income, marginalized, and people of color communities. 
  • During his time at King Hall, Marcus was involved in ensuring that the Legal Repayment Assistance Program would be held strongly in place for current students and alumni, working with immigrant and undocumented communities.
  • Most importantly, all organizations and students knew Marcus as a tireless, kind, and empathetic advocate who worked for and with others, not himself.  

Graduate Student

Lauren Jabusch, Graduate Student Researcher, Biological & Ag Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Lauren is engaged in sustainability efforts on and off campus. She was the leader in the California Student Sustainability Coalition and served as co-director of the Campus Center for the Environment and as a Sustainability Intern for Student Housing.
  • She coordinated workshops for the campus on several topics in the area of sustainability including Climate Issues, Energy Efficiency/Alternative Energy, Equity, Food Systems and Agriculture, Green Building, Campus Operations and Green Housing, Greening Your Career, Institutionalizing Sustainability, and Social equity.
  • Lauren has continued her sustainability efforts with the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors and with the campus, as a committee member on the College of Engineering, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering's Safety Committee.
  • Laruen is currently in her second year as an NSF GK-12 Fellow with the Renewable Energy Systems Opportunity for Unified Research Collaboration and Education program (RESOURCE). The RESOURCE program leverages our campus commitment to energy research and partnerships with local Math and Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) programs that elementary and middle schools work with to develop and demonstrate a reproducible model for Graduate and K-12 research and teaching partnerships.

Undergraduate Student

Ana Maciel, Junior, Chicano Studies, College of Letters and Science

  • Ana Maciel is an outstanding student leader, as well as an ambassador of diversity and inclusion for UC Davis.  Ana is a well-respected student leader for immigration reform on our campus, in the City of Davis, and throughout the state. She is a strong advocate of social justice and human rights as demonstrated by her leadership in the creation of the AB.540 Undocumented Student Center, a new resource center for undocumented students at UC Davis.
  • Ana has worked tirelessly on behalf of undocumented students and their families to create awareness of their issues, and to organize resources to support their educational goals.
  • She has been involved in the UC Davis student organization, SPEAK (Scholars Noting Education, Awareness and Knowledge) which has been instrumental in providing peer initiated support services for undocumented students prior to the establishment of the center.
  • This year she is the acting co-chair and the only undergraduate student representative appointed to the University of California, President's Advisory Council on Undocumented Students.   


Nathan Ellstrand, Office Coordinator, Cross Cultural Center

  • Nathan Ellstrand has lived in Davis for a short three years.   In    that time he has firmly established himself as   the social justice hub of not only the campus but the city of Davis.
  • His passion and commitment to equity are driven by the axiom that words without action are dead. All ideas that cross his path become action items.
  • Nathan campus contributions include his outstanding work on Staff Assembly where he has been instrumental in outreach efforts to increase membership.  As an advisor to student organizations affiliated with the Cross Cultural Center, Nathan has championed successful programs that have brought together Middle Eastern/South Asia community with the Chicano/Latino Community Asian American Community and the Undocumented student community.
  • He is the heartbeat of the Cross Cultural Center and the campus greatly benefits from his authentic relationships with so many members of the campus community and genuine support for advancing excellence in inclusion, affirmation, validation and celebration of the great diversity at UC Davis.  

Community Member

Sandy Lynne Holman, Business Community, The Culture C.O-O.P. and United in Unity, Davis

  • She is the Director of an organization called The Culture C.O.-O.P., and United in Unity, which focus on promoting respect for equity, diversity, cultural competency, and  quality education for all.  
  • Some of her achievements include mentoring scores of youth who come from vulnerable populations and helping them realize their potential, and to have hope for a better future
  • Ms. Holman was pivotal in writing a grant and starting the "Mentor Life Skills Center, "in Yolo County which created a collaborative to recruit, train, and match adults with youth facing an array of challenges.
  • She instituted a National campaign called " WE All Have A Heritage, "which focuses on anti-bullying efforts, respect for diversity/differences, reading and the importance of literacy, and a quality education for all.
  • Ms. Holman continually produces educational materials such as books, papers, guides and commentary, to educate people and promote respect for different cultural groups. 
  • She also helped to create one of the largest International Festivals in Davis, which bought together up to 4000 people in its third year.  

2014 Award Recipients

Academic Senate

Barbara Horwitz, Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Behavior

  • Advancing a more diverse and principled academic community
  • Maximizing Student Diversity/Development (IMSD) for the past 13 years
  • Mentored underrepresented minority students in the graduate program to completion of their PhD's
  • Mentored Fellows in progress to their PhD's
  • Mentored Juniors and Senior underrepresented honor students headed for research careers in biomedical areas
  • Strengthened existing programs that promote faculty diversity and advancement including the Partner Opportunity Program (POP), for dual couple hires; and the family-oriented "work-life" programs (including accommodation for child bearing/child leaving)
  • Instrumental in receiving a $250,000 Alfred P. Sloan Award in 2006 to expand programs that support career flexibility for tenured and tenure-track faculty

Academic Federation

Suzanne Eidson-Ton, M.D., M.S., Family and Community Medicine

  • Actively promoted, designed, and taught cultural competence curricula for the students in the schools of medicine and nursing, readying the new generations of health care providers to care for culturally diverse communties.
  • As Director of Rural-PRIME, a UC initiative dedicated to improving medical services to underserved communities, has been an instrumental driver in recruiting and training diverse and community-oriented students who go on to practice in regions where threre are physician shortages.
  • As an advocate of underserved communities, Dr. Eidson-Ton led efforts to reopen the Knights Landing Clinic that is run by Rural-PRIME students.  She has also contributed to medical students matching in primary care disciplines at a higher rate than the national average, which is vital given the shortage of primary care physicians.
  • Dr. Eidson-Ton has been instrumental in helping UC Davis Health System develop systems for sensitively soliciting sexual orientation and gender identity information to improve care for lisbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients.


Dr. Carolina Balazs, Environmental Justice and Drinking Water in California

  • Regional planning to address dringking water impacts in environmental justice and environmental justice for communities;
  • Cumulative impacts of drinking water and health;
  • Water system capacity and sustainability;
  • Structural analysis of disproportionate drinking water burdens.
  • Published articles on nitrate contamination of drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley
  • A strong advocate forlow income Latino communities in the Central Valley where some of California's most egregious water violations are found
  • Her research and engagement have already made important contributions to solving these crucial environmental justice issues, and advancing knowledge about the social, economic, political, and technical variables that influence environmental justice outcomes.

Graduate Student

Cristian Heredia, Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • As an underrepresented student in the STEM
  • EM field, he provides mentorship to other underrepresented students in STEM, acting as a translator, and served as a mentor to young male Latinos.
  • In the same role of Para Educator at Rio Linda Prep Academy he promoted STEM through science modules taught to 5th and 6th graders, as well as fostered team building and leadership in students through weekly science activities.
  • As a National Science Foundation Fellow he teaches science modules to 5th graders in traditionally underserved schools, as well as help with after school programs.
  • Christian's long-term vision is to deploy low-cost solar harvesting technology to developing countries in hopes of providing an alternative to fossil fuel dependency.

Undergraduate Student

Kriti Garg, Letters and Science Dean's Office

  • An outstanding student leader, an ambassador of diversity and inclusion for UC Davis.
  • Her internship at the Cross-Cultural Center, Kriti has forged relationships with students across all social and cultural identifies.
  • Served as lead coordinator for the Students of Color Conference UC Davis delegation, and she was instrumental in recruiting 95 students to travel to the UCLA conference last November.  At the conference, she led a workship on how to build a peer led diversity and social justice program that can be duplicated at any campus.
  • Kriti is also the ASUCD Chair of the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission where she leads a committee of 10 students in advancing programs and policies that impact diversity and inclusion.  In January 2014, she was the Co-coordinator of the 14th Annual Reaffirming Ethnic Awareness and Community Harmony Retreat (REACH).
  • Her passion for social justice is infectious and inspires many of her peers to join movements or participate in projects to advance equity and inclusion.


Tanya Whitlow, Engineering Dean's Office

  • Tanya's role at the LEADR Student Center is to establish and improve retention of students historically underrepresented in engineering and to increase diversity in the college.
  • She has helped to raise over $200,000 to assist in serving underrepresented students in engineering
  • She is involved with the Special Transition Enrichment Program (STEP).  STEP is a campus-based program designed to recruit and retain underrepresented students.  Funds raised by Tanya have been applied toward supporting additional students in STEP.  She has partnered with the advisers in the dean's office to provide summer advising and mandatory quarterly advising for all STEP students.  Of the 34 engineering students who participated in STEP, 32 have been retained in engineering.  This is remarkable considering the overall retention rate of freshmen in engineering is close to 50%.

Community Member                   

Georgia West, Underground Books, Sacramento

  • Underground Books has helped the campus strengthen its relationship with the Sacramento community at large and the Oak Park community in particular.  Oak Park is a historically African-American community in Sacramento whose residents have not always felt UC Davis was within their reach in terms of admission opportunities and community educational programming.
  • Playing a pivotal role through co-sponsorship of several Campus Community Book Project events over the last several years.  Featured books have brought dialogue about race relations, racial identity development and the educational achievement gap between the races. 
  • The bond between the UC Davis campus and the Oak Park community has been greatly strengthened by the collaborative work, support and co-sponsorship of the CCBP by Underground Books.  This partnership has planted a seed that will provide a pathway for Oak Park students and their families to deepen their connection to the University facilitating the goal of increasing the enrollment of African American Students.