Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community

2017 Chancellor's Achievement Awardees

2017 Chancellor's Achievement Awardees

The Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community were established to honor achievements that contribute in substantial ways to the development and well-being of our diverse and evolving community.  UC Davis faculty, staff, and students, and local community members are eligible for an award in any of the following categories:

Exemplary service that embodies the Principles of Community through outstanding leadership in areas of social and/or cultural understanding, local or regional community involvement, and/or collaborations leading to increased knowledge or expertise in areas of special interest to the campus

Outstanding efforts toward achieving and/or advancing a diverse and principled academic community, including exemplary service in the areas of student, staff, and faculty recruitment and development

Exemplary scholarship having a major impact on community and diversity

Exemplary contributions to the success of campus-based outreach efforts

Exemplary service to the campus and/or community through active leadership, involvement in pre-college partnership initiatives, etc.

2017 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community Recipients

Academic Senate

Lorena B. Oropeza, Associate Professor, History

  • As Associate Professor of History Dr. Lorena Oropeza, embodies the diversity and inclusion as well as, the Principles of Community in multiple ways, especially her socially and politically engaged scholarship, community outreach, unique approach to undergraduate teaching, and invaluable contributions to graduate mentorship.   

  • Dr. Oropeza's contributions to diversity stand out in her scholarship and she is currently finishing a book about one of the most influential leaders in the Chicano land-grant movement of New Mexico, Reies Lopez Tijerina.

  • This incredibly engaging tale traces Tijerina’s grassroots Chicano political movement as he drew on intersectional interests with Pan-Africanists and civil rights leaders in the United States and abroad.

  • Dr. Oropeza also merges her intellectual and community interests through her active involvement in an arts and education non-profit located in San Pablo, California. Since 2012, she has served as board president of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy.

  • This multifaceted organization offers weekly dance and music Mexican roots classes to hundreds of children throughout the Bay Area.  It also serves as a safe space for children to develop a sense of self-affirmation through cultural learning and ownership of living traditions. 

Academic Federation             

Koen Van Rompay, Professional Researcher, California National Primate Research Center

  • Dr. Van Rompay is an internationally recognized HIV researcher at the UC Davis California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC).

  • His groundbreaking HIV research has built the scientific foundation for a number of antiviral drug strategies that are now widely used to prevent or treat HIV infection and have saved millions of lives, including the clinical development of the number one HIV drug in the world.

  • But what sets him apart is his humanitarian work outside of the laboratory.   Dr. Van Rompay’s efforts have helped to overcome obstacles in HIV/AIDS work and inspired others to action. 

  • In 1999, he established the nonprofit organization, Sahaya, an international organization focused on making the world a better place for HIV/AIDS patients.  Under his leadership, the HIV/AIDS research program at UC Davis and Sahaya have successfully garnered international support from organizations, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gilead Sciences Foundation, World Bank and Global Strategies for HIV Prevention.

  • This support not only saved the lives of many HIV­ infected children in rural India but, also significantly improved the life of entire communities by providing access to health, education and socioeconomic resources, that allowed the local people to build a better future for themselves and their communities.

  • For his work, Dr. Van Rompay has received several prestigious awards, including the 2006 Alumnus of the Year award by the University of Antwerp (Belgium), and the 2010 Excellence in Research Award from UC Davis.

  • Dr. Van Rompay’s work also captured the attention of Academy Award winning actor Jeremy Irons who recently volunteered to narrate the film produced by Sahaya International titled, “Sahaya Going Beyond”.

Graduate Student

Marisella M. Rodriguez, Political Science

  • Marisella Rodriguez, is a graduate student in the Political Science Department.  She is committed to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in undergraduate and graduate education and, she has served the UC Davis campus community in a number of different capacities.

  •  One of Marisella's most notable contributions to the UC Davis campus community is her organization of the Political Science Women's Roundtable sessions, which is a supportive network of female faculty and graduate students. She did so in response to a high attrition rate of female graduate students in the Political Science department and to address the workplace environment that made the department less inclusive of female graduate students, particularly for females from traditionally underrepresented groups.

  • Marisella collaborated with the Women's Resource and Research Center and the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program to facilitate four roundtable sessions during the 2015-2016 academic year.  As a result of her efforts, the roundtables are continuing through this academic year.    

  • Marisella has also focused on improving undergraduate education in her work with the Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC) program at the UC Davis Center for Educational Effectiveness.  In this role, Marisella has helped hundreds of UC Davis graduate students and postdocs make their classrooms more inclusive for diverse student populations.

  • Her work has helped Teaching Assistants (TA’s) implement effective teaching strategies that foster supportive learning conditions for nontraditional students.   The professional development sessions Marisella has led include “The Effects of Implicit Bias in Academia”.  Through her work with the TAC program, Marisella has assisted hundreds of UCD instructors to make their classrooms more inclusive for diverse student populations.

  • What sets Marisella apart from other graduate students is her clear commitment to the UC Davis Principles of Community and her dedication to making UC Davis an inclusive space for traditionally underrepresented groups.

Postdoctoral Student 

Alberto L. Aguilera, Nutrition

  • Since September 2015, Dr. Aguilera has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis.  Dr. Aguilera’s scholarship and community service exemplify inclusion and the Principles of Community. 

  • Over the past five years, Dr. Aguilera was the lead nutrition doctoral student, and now postdoctoral fellow on a multi-disciplinary community-based participatory research intervention, to prevent obesity in Mexican-origin children in California's Central Valley.

  • Dr. Aguilera played a pivotal role in forming a bridge between nutrition, medical, and social scientists in addressing a critical health issue in a very high-risk population.  He continually demonstrated respect for and sensitivity to the needs of community members and worked collaboratively with all members of the UC Davis and field office team. 

  • Dr. Aguilera brought his insights related to nutrition assessment, database management, and community engagement to this project. This project, in a hard-to-reach population, was exceedingly challenging, but Dr. Aguilera's perseverance, analytical skills, ability to communicate and dedication, contributed to the success of the intervention.  He has co-authored four peer-reviewed journal articles and has three more currently under review.

  • Beyond his research, he has a record of truly outstanding service, reflecting a strong, deeply-felt commitment to diversity and community. Dr. Aguilera has served as president of the Latino/Latina Graduate Student Association. His work with this association also provided mentorship of undergraduate students through a program that paired undergraduates with graduate students.

  • At Clinica Tepati, the UC Davis Clinic focused on Latino/Latina health. Dr. Aguilera has been a nutrition educator for the Diabetes Interest Group. He also met with undergraduate students and guided them as they worked on developing a standard of care curriculum that was culturally and linguistically adapted for a predominantly Spanish-speaking audience.

  • It is through his efforts as a UC Davis researcher and scholar that facilitated a nexus of caring support to improve the health of the Latino community. 


Katherine J. Parpana, Academic Counselor, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Katherine Parpana, is an Academic Counselor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  She is an exemplary leader in her commitment and service to diversity and inclusion on this campus. 

  • Katherine has served the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community since 2013, and in this role, she has been instrumental in her outreach to the Filipino and other underrepresented Asian groups.  Katherine serves as the advisor for the Filipino Graduation Celebration ceremony held in June. This is an important role because there are few Filipino identified staff and faculty on campus, even fewer who are available to support the community.

  • Katherine also works with other API communities at UC Davis, including the Hmong community and serves as a member of the API Retention Initiative Committee. Katherine has mentored many students in the API community and continues to support these students even post-graduation.  She is a vital resource for them and plays a critical part in their success and retention at UC Davis.

  • Katherine has also worked with the international student population.  In this role, she participates on the International Community Retreat committee.  This program is part of the community retention initiative created by the Cross Cultural Center and Services for International Students and Scholars under Student Affairs. Katherine was identified as a campus partner representing academic advising when this program was initiated in 2014 and has continued to work with this program to present day.

  • As a social justice advocate, Katherine is able to align with university initiatives as they relate to diversity, inclusion and retention. Her participation in the Developing Deeper Advising Relationships (DDAR) professional development series for advisors is evidence of this alignment. In DDAR, Katherine assisted in the creation and implementation of the professional development advising series. This series focused on a student-centered holistic advising that embodied culturally sensitive, relevant and inclusive practices.  

Honorary Service             

David A. Acosta, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, UCDHS

  • Dr. David Acosta is a visionary leader who joined the UC Davis Health System in 2014.  As the Associate Vice Chancellor of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, he has had a significant impact on the health system through his ongoing commitment to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive health care system.

  • He provides meaningful mentorship and thinks strategically about how to leverage the strengths of individuals, so that they can thrive and make a difference within the health system. He works tirelessly to live and exemplify the mission of UC Davis to promote community engagement and equity of underserved communities. He is a true collaborator and leader.

  • As a member of the Carnegie Classification Task force, Dr. Acosta was instrumental in UC Davis being recognized for community engagement, in both its own neighborhoods and around the world.  In January of 2015, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced that UC Davis would be one of the colleges and universities to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership has also facilitated the collaboration of health professionals throughout the Sacramento region to focus attention and resources on underserved communities.  He has been instrumental in hosting The Permanente Medical Group Latino Health Conference. This year marks the 3rd year of its success. The Latino Health Conference seeks to address health disparities in the Latino/ Hispanic community by sharing evidence-based practices and clinical research, promoting diversity in the healthcare workforce, and creating linkages between community health organizations and healthcare providers.

  • A large part of his work to improve service to underrepresented communities involves cultivating culturally sensitive, equitable health care services and providers.

  • In September 2016, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)/Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) awarded UC Davis Health System Office for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion a grant in the amount of $12,000 a year, for 3-years, to pilot an innovative, first-of-its-kind toolkit designed to assess practices, policies, and programs that improve campus climate for diversity and inclusion.  Dr. Acosta was Principal Investigator and slated to lead the effort to accelerate UCDHS towards a more inclusive climate.  The results of the pilot will inform legislative and educational policymakers about the toolkit as a strategy for increasing diversity in higher education and the workforce.

  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership in health-care and education included his serving as Principle Investigator on the I0-year grant, awarded to UC Davis by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group.

  • Dr. Acosta built his vision of an innovative pipeline program called Preparando Estudiantes para ser Medicos or Preparing Students to be Physicians (Prep Medico for short).

  • This multi-faceted initiative provides scholarships, mentorship and internship opportunities, a residential program, intensive language training, volunteer service opportunities, and hands-on clinical experiences for pre-med and medical students. The initiative provides a holistic, comprehensive, and longitudinal approach to supporting students with the potential to provide culturally-sensitive health care to underserved communities, with an emphasis on Latino communities. The goal is to expand diversity in medicine and ultimately increase the number of Latinos who choose to become physicians.

  • Dr. Acosta’s leadership demonstrates his life-long commitment to diversity and inclusion in advancing equity in health care for underserved communities and in impacting the systems that serve them. 

Department Recognition

  • This award category was added in recognition of departments for taking the initiative to champion diversity and inclusion across their units by including training as part of their organizational and staff development. These efforts are in support of the UC Davis Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and it is our hope that the campus community will be inspired by these departments’ proactive measures in operationalizing our Principles of Community, and in striving towards a more diverse and inclusive UC Davis.

  • The departments recognized today have taken a leading role in integrating diversity and inclusion in their staff development. In the last two years, they required their entire department staff to participate in training, which also supported each employee’s development as part of the EPAR process.

  • These training opportunities began with individuals who ultimately brought about change to their entire departments. After participating in the Office of Campus Community Relations’ annual Diversity Awareness Workshop, these individuals worked with their department leaders and with OCCR to organize a training series on topics including cross-cultural communication, generational differences, conflict management, implicit bias, and living the Principles of Community. Furthermore, these departments and their dedicated staff have remained committed to fostering greater inclusion in the workplace, and OCCR has proudly partnered with them to provide ongoing training opportunities as they continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their development.

  • Today, we recognize these departments, and especially the individuals within them who have led the efforts to champion diversity and inclusion education among their staff and colleagues.  We are honored to present each department with the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community.

Accounting & Financial Services

Michael Allred, Associate Vice Chancellor Finance

Rebecca Hartman, Business Office Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Carmichael, Manager

Shared Services Center

Sara Reed, Director

Megan Glide Villasenor, Operations Manager

Development & Alumni Relations

Shaun Keister, Vice Chancellor

Kari Woodard, Program Manager

Debra R. Coleman, Business Manager