Faculty, Others Receive Mentoring Awards

Professor Jesse Drew award slide, with his photo
Professor Jesse Drew appears on camera to accept his Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in mentoring Undergraduate Research.

Quick Summary

  • Chancellor's awards for mentors to undergraduate researchers
  • Undergraduates receive awards, too, along with Simonton Prizes
  • Graduate Council honors faculty for work with grad students, postdocs

The end of the academic year brought awards for a key attribute of a UC Davis education: mentoring.

Undergraduate Research


Chancellor Gary S. May headshot, smiling
Chancellor May

Chancellor Gary S. May honored the award-winning mentors during a virtual ceremony, thanking them for their dedication to undergraduate education and for the work they do “to empower these young researchers.”

“It’s true that UC Davis draws many bright students because of the robust opportunities to conduct research as an undergraduate,” he said. “More than 40 percent of our undergraduates participate in a research experience under the mentorship of a professor. This is truly exceptional. Our level of student participation and faculty support exceeds that of many other universities.

“Whether it’s scientific experimentation or the scholarly analysis of literature, performing research heightens the joy of learning and increases interaction with professors. ... The accomplishments of the students we honor today vividly demonstrate the difference between coursework and scholarship. Students become scholars when they take ownership of their learning –– that is, when they bring original and independent thinking to their studies.”

Here are the award recipients:


  • Luis G. Carvajal-Carmona, professor and Auburn Community Cancer Endowed Chair in Basic Science, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine
  • Jesse Drew, professor, Department of Cinema and Digital Media, College of Letters and Science
  • John Richards, professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine

Postdoc and Project Scientist/Specialist

  • Kelly Subramanian, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences

Honorable mention: Nicole B. Coggins, Genome Center; and Michelle Cohn, Department of Linguistics, College of Letters and Science

Graduate Student

  • Ann Holmes, Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Katherine “Kailey” Lawson, Department of Psychology, College of Letters and Science

Honorable mention: Saarah Kuzay, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


Here are the recipients of the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research:

  • Tomer Fidelman, economics and psychology double major
  • Kelly Kagawa, French)
  • Naomi Murray, ecology, evolution and biodiversity
  • Jayashri Viswanathan, biochemistry and molecular biology
Dean Simonton headshot

Each award was accompanied by a $500 Simonton Prize, funded by an endowment established in 1994 by psychology professor Dean Simonton (pictured), who is now a distinguished professor emeritus. “Including this year’s winners, 47 students have benefited from these awards,” Chancellor May said. “Dean Simonton, we thank you for your vision and generosity.”

Honorable mention: Sheridamae Gudez, sociology (law and society) and psychology; Matthew Sotoudeh, computer science and mathethematics; Barath Palanisamy, biomedical engineering; Vincent Pan, animal biology; and Felicia Grace Azzopardi, international relations.


Graduate and Postdoctoral

Four faculty members received awards for mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars:

  • Carolyn Dewa, professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Eleonora Grandi, associate professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine
  • Jeffrey Hoch, professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine
  • David Olson, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Letters and Science; and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine

Each mentoring honoree received a letter of recognition and $1,000.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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