LAURELS: Innovation and Creative Vision, Excellence in Teaching, Telly Awards

The latest Laurels column in Dateline UC Davis has news on awards for teaching and research, as well as communications and other activities that support the academic mission. Read on for more information.

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Award for Innovation and Creative Vision

Christina Pasparakis
Christina Pasparakis

Environmental toxicologist Christina Pasparakis, who is an assistant professor based at Bodega Marine Laboratory, is the winner of the 2024 UC Davis Award for Innovation and Creative Vision.

The prize is funded by Susie and alum Riley Bechtel and supports outstanding non-tenured early career faculty. It comes with a $40,000 research award that Pasparakis plans to use to launch a long-term, community-based microplastic monitoring program in the Bodega Marine Reserve.

“Getting this grant has given me a boost and now allows me to get this idea kickstarted and get everything we need to move forward,” said Pasparakis, who runs the Toxicology, Physiology, Ecology and Conservation, or ToPEC, Lab. 

Emily C. Dooley

ASUCD Excellence in Teaching Award

Joel Ledford
Joel Ledford

Joel Ledford, an associate professor of teaching in the Department of Plant Biology, has received the 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Associated Students of UC Davis, or ASUCD. The annual award celebrates teaching faculty for their dedication to students and undergraduate education.

“Getting an award like this from students means a lot to me,” Ledford said. “It’s an inspiring thing, and it makes you want to be a better teacher.”

In nominating Ledford, one student said that “his commitment to teaching is one of the greatest I've seen here at UC Davis so far. He brings a positive energy and engages everyone.” Another student noted that Ledford is “very organized, understanding and clear in explaining difficult concepts, and he knows what students should focus on and what to ignore.”

— Liana Wait

UC Distinguished Emeriti Award

Suad Joseph
Suad Joseph

The University of California has honored Suad Joseph with the 2023-2024 Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award in recognition of her career in research, teaching and service.

Joseph, a distinguished research professor emerita of anthropology and gender, sexuality and women’s studies in the College of Letters and Science, is a leading scholar of women and gender in the Middle East. She is the fourth UC Davis faculty member to receive the award since it was established in 1983.

“We are all so proud to see Professor Joseph’s continuing contributions to our college and university so highly recognized by this award,” said Estella Atekwana, dean of the College of Letters and Science. “She has long been a powerful driver of growth in her research field while also paving pathways as a mentor to her colleagues and students.”

— Alex Russell

Yolo Vegan Chef Challenge Awards

Mushroom burger
A mushroom burger that was available at Spokes.
Overhead photo shows falafel plate
A falafel plate that was available at The Gunrock.

The results are in from the Yolo Vegan Chef Challenge, and two on-campus eateries were recognized for their new vegan dishes. Spokes’ mojo mushroom burger received the award for best burger, and The Gunrock received second place overall and best dish for its falafel plate.

Previous coverage: Vegan Chef Challenge Brings New Dishes to Campus 

Telly Awards

Three video projects from the Office of Strategic Communications have won gold in the Telly Awards, a competition founded in 1979 that receives thousands of entries from around the world and this year also honored the likes of PBS, National Geographic and MTV. The winning projects from UC Davis were:

Epic Awards

The Office of Strategic Communications won recognition from the California Association of Public Information Officials, or CAPIO, for crisis and emergency communications trainings held last year. The trainings earned an Award of Distinction for crisis communications response in CAPIO’s Epic Awards, announced last month.

CAPIO also provides training and hosts conferences, seeking to “strengthen and engage communities and advance public sector communications.”

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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