Chancellor welcomes new CAMPOS scholars

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi recently welcomed UC Davis’ newest faculty members recruited here as CAMPOS scholars: Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, Natalia Caporale, Juliana Maria Leite Nóbrega de Moura Bell, Fernanda Ferreira and Alexis Patterson.

They were the honored guests at a reception held Nov. 13 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The five women comprise the university’s second class of CAMPOS Faculty Scholars.

CAMPOS stands for Center for Advancing Multicultural Perspectives on Science, which is an initiative of UC Davis ADVANCE. The latter is funded through the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Program, aimed at promoting women’s participation and advancement in academic careers in STEM, which, in this case, stands for science, social science, technology, engineering and matheramtics.

The chancellor, speaking at the reception, noted the success of NSF ADVANCE on campuses across the country, but that white participants comprise a majority of the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Hispanic women make up only 1 percent of the U.S. science and engineering work force.

“When we came together to organize the ADVANCE program on our campus, we recognized that we have a wonderful opportunity to diversify,” Katehi said.

And CAMPOS was born, providing a support network of mentorship and resources to help boost the number of Latinas in STEM academics. “This is truly a UC Davis product — the only campus in the NSF ADVANCE program to look at the nexus of race and gender,” the chancellor said.

“We are 100 percent committed that diversity in STEM fields is possible,” Katehi said.

Here are the new faculty scholars, selected for their transformative thinking, unique perspectives, interdisciplinary approaches and leadership potential, and each believed to have the ability to make an impact in her field in profound and enduring ways.

  • Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, assistant professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, College of Biological Sciences — Her research focuses on how changes in the physical, chemical and social environment affect health and reproduction, particularly at the level of the brain.
  • Natalia Caporale, lecturer with potential for security of employment in the Department of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, College of Biological Sciences — She researches new strategies to improve learning in college courses in STEM subjects.
  • Juliana Maria Leite Nóbrega de Moura Bell, assistant professor of food science and technology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — She is developing environment-friendly alternatives to existing technology for extracting major food components such as oils, protein and carbohydrates.
  • Fernanda Ferreira, professor of psychology, Division of Social Sciences, College of Letters and Science — Her research concerns linguistics and how humans generate language.
  • Alexis Patterson, assistant professor of elementary science education, School of Education — Patterson’s work addresses the challenges of diversity and access in science education.

With their arrival, the campus now has 12 faculty scholars (including the inaugural class from last year). CAMPOS aims to bring a total of 16 scholars as the university ramps up faculty hiring under the chancellor’s 2020 Initiative.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, whose districts include UC Davis, were among those who attended the reception. Other special guests included Diana V. Albarrán, co-founder, Empower Educational Services and Latinas in STEM; and a representative of Alejandra García Williams, Mexico’s consul general in Sacramento.

Katehi thanked two key players in CAMPOS and UC Davis ADVANCE: Marylou de Leon Siantz, professor of nursing and founding director of CAMPOS; and Karen McDonald, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and faculty director of UC Davis ADVANCE.

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