CBS Year-End Awards Celebrate Undergraduate Achievement
Top graduating seniors recognized for excellence in scholarship, research and community service
The college’s top graduating seniors were honored for their achievements at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 3. The event included both college and campus awards.
With promising futures ahead for each, the students took to the mic upon receiving their awards to share their post-graduation plans, including remaining at UC Davis for graduate school, attending medical school and continued volunteer and community service efforts.
Many of the college’s student awards are made possible by the generous contributions of donors to the college’s annual fund, dean’s circle and to those who have established awards in the names of those they wish to honor.
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Dean Keith Simonton Prize
Cell Biology and Cognitive Science
Alyse Lodigiani is a double major in Cell Biology and Cognitive Science. The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Dean Keith Simonton Prize recognizes outstanding undergraduate students for their research, scholarship and creative activity tied to any academic subject and performed while at UC Davis.
College of Biological Sciences Medal
Genetics and Genomics
Alex Neupauer is in the lab of Sean Burgess, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, where he has conducted research on how chromosome-binding proteins are distributed in meiotic zebrafish chromosomes. He has presented his research in posters at two UC Davis undergraduate research conferences, as well as in the pages of the Aggie Transcript in a piece about the current state of research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the genetic disease with which he was diagnosed at age four. After graduating, he will be staying at UC Davis to earn a Ph.D. in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics graduate group.
Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award
Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
Prishha Thiagarajan is a Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior major. The Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award honors a graduating woman who has demonstrated excellence in the areas of leadership, scholarship, integrity and service in the university community. The award was established in 1942 to memorialize the achievements of Gilhooly, who was recognized as an "unofficial goodwill ambassador to every prospective Aggie."
Ronald and Lydia Baskin Research Award
Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Samuel is in the lab of David Olson, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, where he investigates the molecular mechanisms that give psychedelics to their mind-altering effects. He has presented his work at the R. Bryan Miller Symposium, Richard Larock Undergraduate Research Conference, and the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research. He has received the Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship, the Dean Keith Simonton Prize for Creativity in Undergraduate Research Award, and Undergraduate Travel Award, among other awards.
Neeraj is in the lab of Jamal Lewis, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, where he studies biomaterial-based drug delivery strategies to improve clinical outcomes for disease. He has worked as a Cell Line Engineering Intern at Genentech, served as a Biomarker Development Intern for CytomX Therapeutics, a novel oncology drug delivery company, and is the Director of Research for the UC Davis Biomedical Engineering Society where he connects fellow undergraduates to research opportunities.
Rost Family Biology K-12 Education Scholarship
Amaya is originally from Missouri. She plans to teach STEM in K-12 to help students learn to analyze and understand scientific facts. After graduating, she will join “Project Inspire,” a residency program in Chattanooga, Tenn. that works with high-needs schools. The daughter of a teacher, she grew up in the East Bay in proximity to the Oakland Unified School District, and, like her mother, wants to provide stability at her school, and for her students.
Undergraduate of the Year
Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Stephanie serves the UC Davis campus as an EMT for the UC Davis Fire Department, where she is a “Stop the Bleed” instructor and teaches the basics of identifying and treating life-threatening bleeding. She also founded the non-profit Helping Hearts for Hope, which supports people afflicted by stigmatized health conditions. For her Honors Thesis, she created culturally informed educational presentations about cervical cancer, which she shared with women in the Oak Park area of Sacramento to provide a push for preventative medicine that individuals can feel comfortable seeking.
Jiaying is in the lab of Qizhi Gong, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, where she studies olfaction, especially related to the olfactory losses associated with COVID-19 infection. Her work has helped create cell cultures that can streamline studies on signaling in the olfactory system. She serves the UC Davis community as an academic tutor and learning assistant, and has been on the CBS Dean’s Honor list. She is also involved in volunteer programs held by the Imani Student-run Clinic, Kaiser Hospital, and Yolo County Animal Shelter.