Congrats to this UC Davis Trio of Distinguished Award Winners

Congrats to Professors Diane Ullman and Joanna Chiu of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. 

Ullman and Chiu, both incredible teachers (as well as researchers and mentors) are recipients of the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2022 Distinguished Teaching Awards. Leal, widely known for his research, teaching, mentoring and public service,  won the Academic Senate's Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award for his outstanding series of webinars educating the public about COVID-19. His four online or virtual symposiums drew more than 6000 viewers from 35 countries. 

Joanna Chiu. "Professor Joanna Chiu is known for her ability to help students visualize and internalize abstract interactions that are invisible to the naked eye. Students and colleagues praise her desire to demystify pathways to success in science. She's admired for her compassion and dedication to students at all levels, whether they are visiting high school students, undergraduates, or graduate students. Her graduate students have landed jobs in academia, industry, and medicine, and they seek her counsel well into their professional lives. Professor Chiu has also created training programs and financial awards to increase diversity and inclusivity in her field."--UC Davis Academic Senate.

Professor Chiu, vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the co-administrator of the campuswide Research Scholars in Insect Biology, which aims to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. A 2019-23 Chancellor's Fellow, she received the 2019 Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology and music from Mount Holyoke College, Mass., and a doctorate in molecular genetics from New York University. She served as a postdoctoral fellow in chronobiology--molecular genetics and biochemistry, at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  (See news story for comments on her teaching)

Diane Ullman. "Professor Diane Ullman has provided superb teaching and mentoring for many years, not only in the Department of Entomology and Nematology but as a leader in the Science and Society program. She has brought art-science fusion alive in innovative ways. Her nominees and students rave about her deep dedication, care, and knowledge in all teaching interactions, as well as her overall commitment to student success. One student nominee summed it up best: "My experience in her course last spring was one that lifted my spirits, enriched my education, and strengthened my love for art and science during a time when it was difficult to feel positive about anything.”--UC Davis Academic Senate.

Professor Ullman, both an entomologist and an artist, received her bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1991 after serving as an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hawaii. Her credentials include: chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, 2004-2005; associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2005 to 2014; and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in September 2006.

A Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the Entomological Society of America (2011), Ullman was named the 2014 recipient of the ESA National Excellence in Teaching Award.  (See news story for comments on her teaching)

Walter Leal. “Distinguished Professor Walter Leal helped to address the critical need for accurate and accessible COVID-19 information,” according to the Academic Senate notice. “He conceptualized, organized, and moderated four COVID-19 symposia for the public. Through meticulous research, he brought together physicians, former patients, and public health experts to provide the most up-to-date information early in the pandemic, including highlighting equity gaps in treatment. Professor Leal dedicated much of his sabbatical time to developing valuable public resources, thus providing high-quality information during a time of rampant misinformation,” the Academic Senate related. “He also champions global learning, putting long-term efforts into global collaborations to enhance education.”--UC Davis Academic Senate.

A native of Brazil and fluent in three languages, Leal was educated in Brazil, Japan and the United States, pursuing the scientific fields of chemical engineering, agricultural chemistry, applied biochemistry, entomology and chemical ecology. After serving in a leadership capacity in Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries for five years, he  joined the Department of Entomology faculty in 2000. Leal chaired the department from 2002 to 2013 before accepting an appointment as a professor of biochemistry with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 

Leal is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Academy of Sciences, Royal Entomological Society and the Entomological Society of America (ESA). The UC Davis Academic Senate named him the recipient of its  2020 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, and the Pacific Branch of ESA presented him with its 2020 Award of Excellent in Teaching.  (See news story for comments on his work)

Challenges met, challenges won.