11 Hellman Fellows in Program’s 11th Year

Academic Affairs Vice Provost Phil Kass recently named UC Davis’ 11th class of Hellman Fellows: 11 assistant professors who received a total of $244,000 in grants for research in a wide range of disciplines.

In engineering, for example, Seongkyu Lee is researching the noise generated by electrical vertical aircraft, a mode of transportation he calls transformative and an enhancement to human life. He is working toward “quiet” operation as a way to “increase public acceptance of small-sized urban aircraft flying in heavily populated cities.”

Anthropologist Cristina Moya is taking advantage of “a rare opportunity to study the origins and spread of a new ritual,” in this case an annual celebration of an apparition of Jesus’ face as seen in 2013 on a rocky outcrop in Peru. Moya said she aims “to understand why people adopt novel religious behaviors and ideas.”

With this year’s awards, UC Davis have awarded almost $3 million in total Hellman Fellowship grants since 2008, given to 136 early-career faculty members.

Phil Kass mugshot

“UC Davis is grateful for the opportunity the Hellman Fellows Fund provides for our early-career faculty members,” Kass said. “At this stage of their research, they don’t always have the support they need — so this can help them get to the next level.”

That was the intent of the late Warren and Chris Hellman of San Francisco when they started the fellowship program in 1995 at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego. The Hellman Fellows Fund now provides grant money to all 10 UCs (it’s the only privately funded, systemwide program) and four private institutions — supporting more than 100 junior faculty members annually.

Each campus sets up its own process for applications, review and selection. Preference is given to faculty members who exhibit the potential for great academic distinction, but who have garnered only modest support and have not received other young investigator awards.

Here are our new UC Davis Hellman Fellows, listed with their departments and fellowship project titles. Click on any of the boxes to see the complete project description.

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