UC Davis Faculty Award Recipients to Be Celebrated May 13

UC Davis Faculty Award Recipients to Be Celebrated May 13

Congratulations again to the recipients of the 2024 UC Davis Academic Senate and Academic Federation awards.

As mentioned earlier, two members of the Academic Senate's winners' circle are UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (and former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology), and Professor Louie Yang of the Department of Entomology and Nematology (ENT).

Leal won the Distinguished Faculty Research Award (see Feb. 22 Bug Squad blog) and Yang won a Distinguished Teaching Award, undergraduate category (see Feb. 26 Bug Squad blog). UC Davis Distinguished Professor Bruce Hammock of ENT nominated Leal, while Joanna Chiu, professor and chair of ENT, nominated Yang.

The awards reception is Monday, May 13; more information is pending. "In all, 15 faculty members have received awards from the two groups at UC Davis," UC Davis Dateline reports. (See list of the recipients.)

Leal is the first UC Davis faculty member to win all three of the Academic Senate's most coveted awards: in research, teaching, and public service.  In 2020, the Academic Senate awarded him the Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, and in 2022 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award.

“Dr. Leal is an internationally recognized entomologist and a world leader in his field for his groundbreaking and transformative research in insect olfaction and chemical ecology,” Hammock wrote.  "Walter is truly a renaissance man. "He chaired our entomology department from 2006 to 2008, and under his tenure, our department was ranked No. 1 in the country. I've long admired (1) his rigorous fundamental research programs supported by National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture, and other agencies, (2) how he tackles and solves multiple challenging problems in insect olfaction and chemical ecology, (3) his grasp of how to organize and moderate highly successful worldwide research webinars (4) his generosity in helping other succeed and (4) his finely honed sense of humor."

Wrote Chiu: "I have watched him (Professor Yang) engage, inspire, and challenge his students, fostering creative and critical thinking like no one else I've ever seen. We deeply appreciate and admire his innovative and inclusive teaching, his exemplary work ethic, his welcoming demeanor, his dedication to his students, and his nationally recognized ecology expertise. Louie has received many well-deserved teaching and mentoring awards for his teaching contributions on and off campus.”

Of special note, too, is the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award, given annually to a member of the Academic Federation for "a distinguished record in research, teaching, and/or public service." This year the award went to Kirsten Gilardi, director of Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, and a health sciences clinical professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine. 

Wrote Dateline: "Health Sciences Clinical Professor Kirsten Gilardi has been part of the UC Davis Community since 1989. She is currently the director of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, a research, service and teaching center of excellence. In 2005, she founded the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Program, which hires experienced commercial scuba divers to remove gear and other marine debris from near-shore waters in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner. This program continues to help reduce the potential impact of losing fishing gear and marine debris on living marine resources and underwater habitat. Beyond her significant accomplishments in her field, her colleagues around the world highlight her passion for her position at UC Davis 'that expects her to protect wild animals and wild places.'"

Check out the Dateline website which includes a 2013 image of Gilardi with a silverback gorilla (image courtesy of Sandy Buckey.)

They all do UC Davis proud!