Chancellor Recognizes Staff Members for Management and Impact

Recipients have been selected for Chancellor Gary S. May’s new staff award recognizing their exceptional initiative to create significant positive impact on the UC Davis community over the past 18 months.

In all, 12 outstanding staff will receive the inaugural Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Awards for Exceptional University Management and Exceptional University Impact, split evenly across the Davis campus (plus Bodega Marine Laboratory) and UC Davis Health. 


Whether it's preparing dive teams for underwater research missions around the globe or launching a pediatric bone marrow transplant program, their dedication shines through. By creating meaningful connections between faculty and graduate students and opening doors for curious young learners to explore science, these staff are not only advancing research efforts — they’re touching the lives of patients, students and community members in profound ways.

"The selected recipients have truly distinguished themselves by surpassing expectations in advancing the university’s mission through their work supporting our students, employees, patients and community,” May said. “It’s my pleasure to recognize each of them with this highest staff honor at UC Davis.” 

The recipients are:

Exceptional University Management

  • Nichole Mahaffey, clinical trials data team supervisor and assistant director of PRMS, Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Clinical Research
  • Santana Diaz, executive chef, Food and Nutrition Services 
  • Morgan Luthi, director of curriculum and educational technology, Office of Medical Education
  • Wendy Lilliedoll, director of investigations, Office of Compliance and Policy
  • Shannon Tanguay, budget director, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office
  • Jason Herum, diving safety officer, Bodega Marine Laboratory

Exceptional University Impact

  • Kelly Yurosky, pediatric bone marrow transplant coordinator, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
  • Abigail Borbe, senior clinical research coordinator, Pediatrics
  • Leah Galasso, technical project manager, Clinical Informatics
  • Bill Tuck, fiscal officer, Physics and Astronomy
  • Elizabeth Sturdy, director of mentoring and Academic Success Initiatives, Graduate Studies
  • Tabatha Yang, Bohart Museum education and outreach coordinator, Department of Entomology and Nematology

‘Setting the bar’

A total of 179 nominations were submitted in this inaugural year of the award, with some individuals receiving multiple nominations. 

“Each nomination thoughtfully conveyed incredible stories about staff contributions that are making UC Davis and UC Davis Health an even better place to work, learn and receive care,” said Sandy Batchelor, HR WorkLife manager and awards committee chair. “While every nominee is deserving of recognition for how they’re advancing the university’s mission, those we selected are setting the bar for impactful service across UC Davis and UC Davis Health.”

From Staff Assembly Citations of Excellence to Soaring to New Heights Diversity Awards, a number of honors seek to elevate and celebrate the significant impact that staff have on students, patients, their colleagues, the community and the university’s mission.

Stay tuned for the call for nominations for the second annual Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Awards.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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