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LAURELS: Maisha T. Winn, Top Edu-Scholar

By Dateline Staff on January 21, 2020 in University

Quick Summary

  • Chancellor’s Leadership Professor ranked among 200 with public influence
  • Plant biologist John Harada accorded honorary degree from Nara Institute of Science and Technology
  • Gregory Downs appointed co-editor of The Journal of the Civil War Era
  • Vajra Watson among 3rd Congressional District’s women of the year
  • Engineering Dean Curtis receives Particle Technology Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Cindy Rubio-González receives Better Scientific Software fellowship
  • Plus, a roundup of recent honors at the School of Law

Maisha T. Winn, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor in the School of Education, is among 200 university-based scholars “who did the most last year to shape educational practice and policy,” as ranked by Rick Hess in his Education Week blog, Straight Up.

Maisha Winn mugshot

Simply being included in his RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings is an accomplishment, given the 20,000 or more who might qualify, said Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Winn is the co-founder and co-director of the School of Education’s Transformative Justice in Education Center and author of Justice on Both Sides: Toward a Restorative Justice Discourse in Schools.

Japan’s Nara Institute of Science and Technology, or NAIST, recently presented an honorary doctorate of science to John Harada, professor, Department of Plant Biology, and executive associate dean of student affairs, College of Biological Sciences.

John Harada mugshot

“The honor comes after over a decade of fruitful collaboration between the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences and NAIST,” according to an article on the college’s website. “Working together, the institutions have created an international dialogue in the sciences through an exchange program for graduate students and faculty.”

Harada received the doctorate in December during the NAIST Bio International Student Workshop. He traveled to Japan with a UC Davis contingent that included nine graduate students; Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences; and Henry Ho, assistant professor of cell biology and human anatomy.

“John has been integral to our college’s close and long-standing relationship with NAIST,” Winey said.

Read more about Harada and the exchange program in this article by Greg Watry, science writer and communications specialist, College of Biological Sciences.

Greg Downs mugshot and journal cover
Downs and journal cover

Gregory Downs, professor of history, has been appointed one of two co-editors of The Journal of the Civil War Era.

Downs is a historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction whose books include After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, and Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South. He co-wrote the National Park Service’s Theme Study on Reconstruction.

He was elected in 2018 to the Society of American Historians.

The journal’s other co-editor is Kate Masur, an associate professor at Northwestern University.

Vajra Watson mugshot

Rep. John Garamendi selected UC Davis’ Vajra Watson as one of 50 women of the year in Garamendi’s 3rd Congressional District.

Watson serves as the university’s director of research and policy for equity, and she is the founder of the university-affiliated Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, or SAYS.

“Her poise, work ethic and commitment to making the world a better place stands unmatched,” said John Garamendi, the 3rd District representative.

SAYS, active in schools and the broader community, uses critical literacy and spoken word performance poetry to move high-risk youth to and through higher education. Watson is the author of two books, including most recently Transformative Schooling: Towards Racial Equity in Education.

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, dean of the College of Engineering, is the recipient of the 2019 Particle Technology Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Read more in this article on the College of Engineering’s website.

Cindy Rubio-González, assistant professor of computer science, is the recipient of one of three Better Scientific Software fellowships for 2020.

Sponsored by the Better Scientific Software community, the fellowship program gives recognition and funding to leaders and advocates of high-quality scientific software. Each 2020 fellow received up to $25,000 for an activity that promotes better scientific software, such as organizing a workshop, preparing a tutorial, or creating content to engage the scientific software community.

Law school roundup:

Amagda Perez mugshot
Brian Soucek mugshot

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

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or