DEI Fellowships Bestowed on 5 Faculty Members

Chancellor Gary S. May and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity recently announced their selections for the 2023 Chancellor’s Fellowships for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Four are members of the Academic Senate:

  • Javier Arsuaga, College of Biological Sciences and College of Letters and Science
  • Setareh Rafatirad, College of Engineering
  • Crystal Rogers, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • David Wittman, College of Letters and Science

The fifth is a member of the Academic Federation:

  • Kupiri “Piri” Ackerman-Barger, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

The committee, which includes representatives of the Academic Senate and Academic Federation, recommended the five faculty members, and Chancellor May concurred.

The fellowships recognize exceptional contributions in supporting, tutoring, mentoring and advising underrepresented students and/or students from underserved communities. In letters to the recipients, Chancellor May cited their “commitment to reducing opportunity gaps.”

Each recipient receives $5,000 in one-time Academic Enrichment Funding.

The write-ups below are from the Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity:

Kupiri “Piri” Ackerman-Barger headshot, UC Davis faculty
Kupiri “Piri” Ackerman-Barger

Kupiri “Piri” Ackerman-Barger, health sciences clinical professor, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing (Academic Federation) — Professor Ackerman-Barger has an extensive record of working for equity in her school and in the broader community. Most notably, she developed and launched the Summer Health Institute for Nursing Exploration and Success (SHINES) Program, a model health care workforce pathway connecting local high school students to training in the health professions. At the national level, she has been recognized for her research on microaggressions in academic health settings and is a senior health fellow for the Campaign for Action. She currently serves as associate dean for health equity, diversity and inclusion at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Javier Arsuaga headshot, UC Davis faculty
Javier Arsuaga

Javier Arsuaga, professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences; and Department of Mathematics, College of Letters and Science (Academic Senate) — Professor Arsuaga has contributed to DEI efforts across all UC campuses, having served first as chair of the Affirmative Action and Diversity Committee at UC Davis and subsequently as chair of the systemwide University Committee on Affirmative Action, Diversity and Equity. He also participated in the task force that led to the Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative, has been a member of the Cal-Bridge program leadership, and organized a workshop on the role of DEI in STEM fields. He currently directs the NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Math, focusing on underrepresented students.

Setareh Rafatirad headshot, UC Davis faculty
Setareh Rafatirad

Setareh Rafatirad, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering (Academic Senate) — Professor Rafatirad currently serves as vice chair of the College of Engineering DEI Committee and is a member of the Student Recruitment Subcommittee. Though a recent arrival at UC Davis, she has already contributed to teaching and mentoring underrepresented students, including efforts to recruit women and minorities into computer science, develop a summer coding course for high schoolers interested in the field, and collaborate with the Avenue E program to help transfer students succeed in STEM. Presently, her research examines the impact of race and gender biases in data science education.

Crystal Rogers headshot, UC Davis faculty
Crystal Rogers

Crystal Rogers, assistant professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine (Academic Senate) — Professor Rogers is a faculty scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS) and a mentor with the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). Throughout her career, she has mentored students from historically excluded and underserved backgrounds. She is part of the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology DEI committee, bringing a holistic review and an equitable and inclusive space to the largest graduate group at UC Davis. In addition, she is a member and chair-designate of the Inclusion and Outreach Committee for the Society for Developmental Biology.

David Wittman headshot, UC Davis faculty
David Wittman

David Wittman, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Letters and Science (Academic Senate) — Professor Wittman’s contributions to DEI have benefited many undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at UC Davis. He helped found Cal-Bridge North, which recruits diverse scholars, supports their progress, and matches them with suitable mentors. He also participated in the creation and implementation of a departmental climate survey, led the formation of a UC Davis team for the American Physical Society Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA) and contributed to his department’s proposal to become a partner in the APS Bridge Program. Currently, he serves on the Physics and Astronomy DEI faculty committee.

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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