LAURELS: Deeb-Sosa Earns Thong Hy Huynh Award



  • Natalia Deeb-Sossa, College of Letters and Science
  • Renetta Garrison Tull, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Visual and social media teams, Office of Strategic Communications

Natalia Deeb-Sosa headshot, UC Davis faculty
Natalia Deeb-Sosa

Professor Natalia Deeb-Sossa of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies has been named one of seven recipients of the city of Davis’ annual round of Thong Hy Huynh Awards, named in memory of a high school stabbing victim from 1983 and given to community members and organizations whose actions exemplify the goals of diversity, community, social justice and equal rights.

Gloria Partida, City Council member and former mayor, and chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, nominated Deeb-Sosa for the award, saying: “Natalia has been a stalwart supporter of the Latinx community in Davis for many years. ... Her work with our migrant community has created the ability for families to thrive and children to succeed.

The City Council as a whole agreed, stating: “While she is comfortable bringing their issues to the halls of power like the [Davis Joint Unified School District] board, the Davis City Council and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, she has unwavering faith that they can come to those halls of power themselves and make their needs known.

“She can step forward to insist on their inclusion, and she can step back to support their voices and ensure they are heard.

“The Spanish-speaking immigrant community is often out of the awareness of the larger Davis community, while comprising a significant percentage of it. Natalia is not only bringing their issues to the attention of our city and county leadership, she is paving the way for them to speak directly to that leadership in their own voices.”

Vice Chancellor Renetta Garrison Tull recently received the Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity and Inclusion, given by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET, in recognition of “extraordinary success in achieving diversity in the technological segments of our society.”

Renetta Garrison Tull headshot, UC Davis faculty and administration
Renetta Garrison Tull

ABET accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

The award’s namesake, as a member of ABET’s board of directors from 1998 to 2004, “was a driving force for inclusion and led the first committee to formally bring the issue of diversity to the attention of the board.”

Tull received the award during the ABET Symposium, held April 20-23 in Nashville, Tennessee, and presented under the theme of “Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Sustainability (IDEAS) as Key Drivers for Building a More Resilient World.” She was a presenter herself, sharing her diversity, equity and inclusion journey in STEMM mentoring (in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) and her approach to building a future of resilience that integrates DEI, especially as it relates to global crises.

The visual and social media teams of the Office of Strategic Communications recently earned honors in separate communications competitions.

A video celebrating Chancellor Gary S. May’s five-year anniversary with UC Davis earned bronze recognition in the Telly Awards, a global program “honoring excellence in video and television across all screens.”

The social media team received two honorable mentions in the Executive Communication Council’s inaugural national awards program, one for the Thursday Thoughts video series, the other for a campaign promoting trust in the administration, entries that stood alongside those from such larg the corporations as Intel, T-Mobile and Walmart.

The professional organization Pro Rhetoric established the Executive Communication Council earlier this year, and the council in turn launched its awards program to recognize excellence in all aspects of leadership communication.

Here is more information on UC Davis’ honors:

Telly Awards

Executive Communication Council

  • External/Executive Conversations Series — Thursday Thoughts, a weekly series featuring Chancellor May and LeShelle May in casual conversation, answering questions from the community. The first episode went out March 7, 2019, but the name Thursday Thoughts did not come about until the following week. New episodes have been coming on a fairly regular basis ever since — nearly 150 in all. Thursday Thoughts is no stranger to awards, having won bronze in this year’s Educational Advertising Awards.
  • Social Media Campaign — “Building Trust in the Administration Through Social Media,” for work done behind the scenes of Chancellor May’s institutional accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, managed by Strategic Communications’ social media team. (Chancellor May also has a personal Facebook account, which he maintains himself.) “Building Trust in the Administration Through Social Media” earned Grand Gold — the highest honor — in the 2022 Circle of Excellence competition organized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE.

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to

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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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