Student Awards 2015
Visit the Undergraduate Education website to learn more about additional honorees, including the Outstanding Senior Awards.
Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award
The Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award honors the graduating woman believed to be the most outstanding in the areas of leadership, scholarship, integrity and service in the campus community. The award was established in 1942 to memorialize the achievements of Mary Jeanne Gilhooly, recognized as an “unofficial goodwill ambassador to every prospective Aggie,” who died while a student at UC Davis.
Tara Storm has demonstrated a commitment to service advocating for reform around issues of student hunger and food insecurity. Last year, she volunteered at the Yolo County Food Bank, contributed more than 500 hours at the ASUCD Food Pantry, established a scholarship program that provides students with the resources to purchase healthier perishable food items not distributed by the food pantry, and partnered with the Student Farm to provide fresh produce to students. Tara has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills leading a team of student volunteers while serving as the Co-Director and Director of Events for We Are Aggie Pride and through her work with the ASUCD Food Pantry. Tara also demonstrates a commitment to academics, with membership in the Davis Honors Challenge program for four years, a 3.67 grade point average, and recognition on the Deans List on a number of occasions. Tara Storm exemplifies a true commitment to leadership, scholarship, integrity and service.
Veloyce Glenn Winslow, Jr. Award
The Veloyce Glenn Winslow, Jr. Award honors the graduating man believed to be the most outstanding in the areas of leadership, scholarship, integrity and service in the campus community. This award was established in 1966 to memorialize the achievements of Glenn Winslow, Jr., who died while serving as vice president of the student body at UC Davis.
Hiep “Patrick” Ma has used his personal experience and story of triumph as a mental health consumer to rally behind others in need of support. He has served as a volunteer and board member for Mental Health America working with children and youth with mental health challenges. Drawing on his own experiences as a homeless youth, Patrick joined the National Homeless Task force and through their Stop Stigma Sacramento Speaker Bureau and began to share his story of triumph over homelessness and as a mental health consumer. Patrick has demonstrated a commitment to reducing health inequities through his continued work within the community. In addition to his commitment to leadership and service, Patrick will be graduating with a bachelors degree in Human Development with a 4.0 GPA, demonstrating his commitment to scholastic achievement. It is for these reasons and more that Hiep “Patrick” Ma is the winner of this years Veloyce Glenn Winslow, outstanding graduating man award.
Social Justice and Inclusion Award
The Social Justice and Inclusion Award honors the graduating student of any gender who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to social justice in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and service. This award honors a student who has served as a change agent and made a tangible impact on campus community promoting equity and inclusion.
The recipient of this year's Social Justice and Inclusion Award, Kriti Garg has worked on improving campus climate and retention of students through community-based advocacy. She has been an organizer of the annual statewide Student of Color Conference and peer educator with the Cross Cultural Center’s Peer Education and Community Empowerment program. She is graduating with degrees in Community and Regional Development, History, and Global & International Studies. Her approach to social justice is motivated by building relationships, seeking education, establishing goals, taking risks, challenging herself, and empathizing with others.
Margarita Robinson Student Leadership Award
The Margarita Robinson Student Leadership Award for outstanding junior honors students for their outstanding service and leadership through involvement in recognized student groups and activities. Established in 1982, this award serves as a memorial to Margarita Robinson, who was house mother at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity for 30 years and a founder of the Prytanean Honor Society at UC Davis.
Shalvi Prasad is the recipient of this years’ Margarita Robinson Student Leadership Award. Shalvi is a first-generation student who contributes to the UC Davis by campus serving as a chemistry tutor with the Student Academic Success Center (SASC), a peer adviser with the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP), interning with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and her involvement with the Fijian Student Association. Her most notable campus contribution comes through the creation of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) chapter at UC Davis, which serves minority, under-represented, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students planning careers in the health fields. HOSA equips students with leadership, professional, and mentorship skills and opportunities to explore career options, and succeeded in funding student members to attend the State Leadership Conference with many attending the National Leadership Conference to represent the state of California.
Student Promoting Advocacy and Redefining Community Award
The Student Promoting Advocacy and Redefining Community Award (SPARC) recognizes a rising student activist who has displayed a passion for advocacy and engagement across multiple communities.
Azka Fayyaz advocates for marginalized communities. She has been an ASUCD Senator, a member of ASUCD's External Affairs Commission, and UC Davis delegate for the West Coast's Muslim Student Association. She has been involved with the Pakistani Student Association, Afghan Student Association, Arab Student Union, and Students for Justice in Palestine. She has worked with Student Affairs to advocate for more resources for Muslim students and other faith communities. She is studying History and Middle East/South Asia Studies and hopes to continue her long-term advocacy work as a graduate student studying the effects of colonialism and imperialism in contemporary Pakistan.
Global Engagement Award
The Global Engagement Award recognizes a registered student organization that demonstrates a commitment to exposing UC Davis students to global perspectives, promoting cross-cultural awareness, and exploring intersections of identity between domestic and international communities.
During their seven-year history as a club here at Davis, Engineers Without Borders has implemented sustainable engineering projects to support two (going on three) communities abroad, while providing transformative experiences to enrich the global perspective of responsible student leaders. From Uganda to Bolivia to Peru, Engineers Without Borders are intentional in their five-year commitment to communities, in which they communicate effectively, seek feedback and provide solutions that support the unique needs of cultures different than our own. They are committed to sustainably and realistically improving communities through empathetic understanding and two-way communication. Members are challenged to understand diverse global and cultural perspectives and reach beyond their own circumstances to work for a goal bigger than themselves.
Kaplan Test Prep Excellence in Student Collaboration Award
The Kaplan Test Prep Excellence in Student Collaboration Award is open to any registered Center for Student Involvement undergraduate, graduate, or professional student organization. The award recognizes student groups that demonstrate a collaborative and inclusive approach to their projects and a commitment to utilizing diverse frameworks in developing their contributions to education.
Vietnamese Cancer Awareness Research and Education Society is being recognized for their project, Working Together Toward Cancer Prevention and Education, which focused on combatting the high rates of cervical cancer incidents among Vietnamese women. VN CARES recruits, educates, and screens patients for cervical, breast, prostate, colorectal, and liver cancers - and has impacted the lives of nearly 400 patients since their project launched. VN CARES interns, who are selected and trained for language proficiency, clinical skills, and sufficient knowledge of cancer prevention, strive to emphasize the importance of preventative care in the underserved Asian community in Sacramento. In order to carry out the magnitude of this project, VN CARES utilizes three main teams: Clinical, Research and Education, and Public Relations - each of which is charged with collaborating strategically with campus and community partners to achieve their goals.
Balanced Leaders Award
Successful student leaders balance multiple academic, work, leadership, service and other personal commitments. The Balanced Leaders Award recognizes a registered student organization that best develops members' skills to support time management, academic commitments, and social engagement. Balanced leaders aspire to achieve academic goals while also maintaining co-curricular involvement and personal wellness.
The Davis chapter of Pi Kappa Phi provides an optimal foundation of time management for all its members to enjoy the life of a college student - one that encompasses academics, personal growth, and socialization. Instead of internalizing just one of those ideals, the chapter prides itself on elevating all three. There are twice-weekly study sessions, where brothers work together on their academic priorities; biweekly ritual exercises, each focusing on an aspect of emotional development; and at least one brotherhood event a week that ensures that the college experience does not lack in social interaction and fun. Major philanthropy events are planned far ahead of time and given the attention they deserve from all brothers, and they were recently honored among all Greek organizations for having the most involvement with the campus and community. Hard work, introspection, fun, and a genuine dedication to humanity - these aren’t just ways to manage time in college, but pillars for a healthy and valuable life.
Advancing Academic and Career Goals Award
The Advancing Academic and Career Goals Award recognizes a registered student organization that successfully promotes academic achievement and provides opportunities for a diverse range of students to explore new areas of interest and develop academic and/or professional qualifications for future success.
The Biomedical Engineering Society at UC Davis strives to provide exceptional professional and academic experiences for not only biomedical engineering undergraduates, but students from all disciplines. Opportunities range from an active research community, interdisciplinary events, and networking with a warm and supportive group of faculty members and graduate students. BMES regularly plans professional development events, such as mock interviews workshops on resumes and internships. Their inaugural Medical Make-a-thon competition occurred this year and provided hands-on engineering design experience and networking opportunities. In focusing on advancing academic and career goals, BMES members and friends can be prepared for research, graduate school and future career success following college.
Inspirational Aggies Award
The Inspirational Aggies Award recognizes the registered student organization that demonstrates a commitment to creating and sustaining a healthy campus climate at UC Davis through programs, activities and/or initiatives that promote a campus climate of inclusion and respect.
Throughout the last academic year, the Pakistani Student Association (PSA) worked with different student organizations on campus, such as the Muslim Student Association, Arab Student Union, and Afghan Student Association, to create a positive campus climate. They effectively coordinating events with board members of these organizations to raise awareness for impoverished Afghan and Syrian refugees. In collaboration with the Afghan Student Association, the PSA helped collect money for the charity organization, Zam Zam Water. Their mission is to increase socio-economic opportunities and promote peace, justice, and democratic values in Afghanistan. Additionally, they worked with the Arab Student Union in a fundraising event to help Syrian refugees. This event donated all proceeds to the Karam Foundation, which provides medical and humanitarian aid to families affected by the horrific war in Syria. Through PSA’s leadership and professionalism, the group helped promote tolerance and consciousness for these marginalized communities, both on campus and abroad.
Organizational Improvement Award
The Organizational Improvement Award recognizes the registered student organization that has taken significant steps in order to improve its overall effectiveness from one year to the next. Areas of improvement may include: member academic success, membership recruitment and retention, budget management, program planning, and leadership while fulfilling the mission and goals of their organization.
The Armenian Students Association currently has forty active members that consider the ASA their cultural oasis and home-away-from-home. The retention rate of the new members is 100 percent, and the attendance at events has been consistent and has more than doubled this year compared to last. This is due to an increase in dynamic and effective outreach by the current executive board. At the beginning of this school year, the ASA also implemented organized study hours for its members to bolster their academic success. This past February, the ASA hosted a mock Armenian Wedding as its main fundraiser, exposing the UC Davis community to Armenian traditions and hosting two hundred and fifty non-Armenian and Armenian attendees alike - from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz - creating a multi-cultural and multi-UC bonding experience. The event was a colossal success, allowing the ASA enough funds to donate to two non-profit organizations that do charity work in Armenia.
The Adams Award
In honor of Ted Adams, former director of the UC Davis Student Programs and Activities Center, who wished to recognize student leaders, The Adams Award honors individual leadership and accomplishment within registered student organizations. The Adams Award is presented annually by the Center for Student Involvement to a leader of a registered student organization who has effectively directed or influenced the student organization, campus and/or wider community.
Vinay Nittur serves as the Undergraduate Board Training Coordinator for the Imani Clinic, a student-run health clinic that seeks to address the healthcare inequalities that plague the African-American community in Sacramento's Oak Park. In his role, Vinay supports the training of new volunteers while emphasizing cultural competency and empathy. He is never satisfied with the status quo of clinic protocol and works diligently to improve patient care and the efficiency of clinic volunteers. Vinay constantly seeks feedback to inform and motivate himself and others to be innovative and expand Imani Clinic services, such as a newly implemented tiered appointment system he created to combat long wait time. As a result of his collaborative efforts with Legal Services of Northern California, Imani Clinic will be featuring free legal referrals and even pro-bono work for community members over the next year. His nominators describe Vinay as a leader who humbly empowers others, supports team cohesion and designs impactful improvements.
Principles of Community Awards
The Office of Campus Community Relations, in partnership with the Student Assistants to the Chancellor, presents the 2014-2015 Principles of Community Awards. The purpose is to provide funding for registered student organizations that are committed to fostering the Principles of Community at UC Davis, and that seek to implement activities or programs that exemplify and promote the Principles of Community throughout the student community.
|VN CARES is a student run organization that promotes cancer awareness and assists the medically underserved Vietnamese community in Sacramento. Above all, VN CARES strives to foster a strong sense of community among our undergraduate members at UC Davis through academic and cultural collaborations by bridging the cultural-linguistic gap between medical professionals and Vietnamese patients. VN CARES offers research and education internships which gives provides interns with the opportunity to develop their public presentation skills while maintaining cultural sensitivity while celebrating the Vietnamese community and enabling individuals to connect with one another.|
|Davis Political Review stands as a nonpartisan, nonprofit political commentary magazine dedicated to providing the Davis and Sacramento community with an ongoing political dialogue in the hope of stimulating reactions, activism and awareness of the state, nation and world in which we live in. Our mission is to inform and educate students about political topics that they may not have paid attention to otherwise. Davis Political Review serves primarily as an organization that facilitates democratic practices, encourages participation, and creates a better informed electorate. This allows all students, regardless of political ideology or religious backgrounds, to openly express their opinions and views respectfully and freely.|
|Wild Campus works to enhance local wildlife on and off campus through improvement of habitat for local wildlife through conservation and restoration, increase public interest in wildlife conservation through educational events for all ages and the facilitating community involvement in wildlife conservation, provide valuable experience to future conservation professionals by providing real world wildlife management experience to students and connecting them with the expertise of faculty on campus and by improving campus visitor experience through increased opportunities to observe wildlife and entertaining educational and community involvement events.|
|SickSpits Spoken Word Collective at UC Davis wants everyone's voice to be heard—especially those who have had their voices taken away from them by history. We use spoken word as a form of healing and education, as a way to learn and to teach, as a way to embrace and amplify. We have weekly Writers' Workshops to help students craft their poetic voice, and bi-monthly Open Mics so they can share those voices on a stage. The handful of core members of SickSpits (who host and organize the events) also perform at a variety of other on- and off-campus events to further spread our voices and our messages.|
Community Service and Civic Engagement Awards
Community Service and Civic Engagement Awards are bestowed upon individuals who have given dedicated service to others that is substantial in breadth, quality and time commitment. These awards recognize individual students and organizations whose service has resulted in a substantive and positive community impact. Recipients of these awards not only excel in the areas of leadership and scholarship, but also apply their individual abilities in innovative ways to improve the lives of others. Successful applications must also demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion.
Ching Chen is a first-year economics student whose desire to travel and serve different communities inspired her to take a gap year to engage in volunteer projects around the world. She flew to Iceland to garden and maintain the environment of the botanical gardens and promote environmental awareness; then flew to Finland for another volunteer project where she shared Taiwanese culture through casual presentations and designed games for more than 30 Finnish kids and teenagers in the Kids Camps. She has traveled to 15 countries and served a variety of communities for distinct purposes; immersing herself in local life and earning a deep appreciation for the differences between cultures. Through her 140 hours of service, she learned that volunteers who are spiritually compelled to make physical and financial contributions are most passionate about living; and that volunteering is a most meaningful adventure that gives clarity about what to pursue in life.
Hanane Omari is a fourth-year international relations major who has worked primarily with WEAVE, a Sacramento-based organization that provides resources and support to survivors of domestic violence. She has worked there as a crisis line advocate, Arabic and French interpreter, and speaker with WEAVE’s speaker's bureau. She has also served as an on-call interpreter for Tahirih Justice Center clients, where she assisted the clients through interpreting, making a huge difference to survivors who found support from her service and their shared cultural background. Hanane dedicated over 455 hours of service last year.
|Sam Alavi is a second-year political science and sociology major who has worked extensively to impact students of color and queer students. She has helped pass vital legislation pertaining to the rights of LGBT students and students of color, and was invited to the White House in recognition of her contributions. She has served as commissioner of ASUCD’s Gender and Sexuality Commission and is part of many other campus committees and organizations that are helping to recognize the needs of various underrepresented communities. Sam dedicated over 1,188 hours of community service last year.|
|Alyssa Kramer is a senior in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior who has given over 740 hours of community service in the past year. She served as Director of Camp Kesem UC Davis, ensuring that it was a success for children of parents with cancer. With cancer, everything effects a family’s life: either celebrating their parents’ survival, life, or something in between; but no one ever celebrates the children, which is why running Camp Kesem became so important to Alyssa. She also served in the Knights Landing One Health Clinic, a very impactful site that provides healthcare that community members could not possibly afford otherwise, as well as nutrition guidance and assistance with each patient’s pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.|
Carolina Tavárez Varela, a graduate student in Spanish linguistics and public health, participated in a McNair research internship at the Harvard School of Medicine last year, which reinforced her desire to embrace a career in global health and alleviate poverty in Hispaniola. She founded Ann Prepare Lavni, INC., a non-profit organization created to build the first library in southeast Haiti; which has expanded over the years to help more and more people with necessary services and has included over 9,100 hours of service from its members in the past year. In addition to being a full time student, teaching Spanish on campus, serving as a youth leader at her local church, and running her own non-profit; Carolina participates in a number of community service projects locally and abroad. Her activities have included serving as an interpreter for Haitian immigrants at a border city hospital in the Dominican Republic, helping Haitians get proper documentation to travel and get treatment, assisting the Sunset Rotary Club of Davis in collecting books for schools in Kenya, and much more.
Mercer Clinic is a monthly free veterinary clinic run by UC Davis’s veterinary students for pets of those in the homeless community. Veterinary students perform a variety of free services including checkups, spaying and neutering, and vaccinations; and Mercer even covers the costs of more difficult procedures that are referred to other local clinics. Undergraduate students also assist in the clinic as well as sell homemade doggy biscuits at the Davis farmers market to raise money. For the homeless community this is an incredibly valuable service, because for some, their pets might be all that they have left; and these animals deserve to have high-quality care.