Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community

2018 Chancellor's Achievement Awardees

2018 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.

2018 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community Recipients

Academic Senate

Dr. Natalia Deeb Sossa, Chicana and Chicano Studies

  • Dr. Debb Sossa embodies diversity and inclusion in her socially and politically engaged scholarship, community outreach and invaluable contribution to marginalized communities.

  • Dr. Debb Sossa’s willingness to support student beyond traditional teaching duties was one of the few professors present at the student organization, Scholars Promoting Educational Awareness and Knowledge (SPEAK).  This organization seeks to create a more inclusive campus by promoting awareness and advocating for resources to support the undocumented community.

  • Professor Sossa also marched alongside many UC Davis students in Sacramento after the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also known as DACA.  She also collaborated with colleagues to organize a fundraiser to cover financial needs of undocumented students.

  • Her research studies have also challenged research methods within academia that have been harmful to certain communities.

  • Dr. Sossa's research includes not only learning what the community needs but, working to ensure that those needs are met.  One example is the UCD Chicano/a Studies Knights Landing Bridge Program.  Through this program she learned about genuine needs and experiences of the people, especially that they needed additional academic resources for children to thrive.  This program brought services and support to the Knights Landing community including mentorship by First-generation UCD students, for the low-income, first-generation students of Knights Landing.

  • Dr. Sossa's understands that for students from marginalized communities to succeed they must be supported on multiple levels.  Dr. Sossa is an exemplary model for how faculty can engage in research while promoting diversity, inclusion, and contributing to the local community.

Academic Federation             

Dr. Jorge Garcia, Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine

  • Dr. Jorge Garcia epitomizes the ideals of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.  In his two decades of service, he has inspired generations of underrepresented undergraduate students, medical students, residents, and faculty members to pursue and excel in the field of medicine.

  • The Resident physicians in Internal Medicine voted Dr. Garcia as the Outstanding Ambulatory Care Instructor in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.  He has also won the Outstanding Instructor Award for the Medical School Classes of 2005 and 2007, and the prestigious Kaiser Teaching Award as selected by the Class of 2011.

  • Professor Garcia strives to promote an inclusive learning environment in and outside of the classroom.  Dr. Garcia helped establish the mentoring colleges for the School of Medicine, and assisted in developing the reporting system for student mistreatment.

  • Although he is an accomplished physician he has never forgotten the awkwardness and isolation he felt in embarking on a career in medicine and then in academic medicine.  This is why Dr. Garcia relishes his position as a role model and inspirational coach for underrepresented students in medicine.

  • Dr. Garcia along with his wife Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia regularly open their home to students for informal dinners.  Also each summer for the last 8 years students from the Summer Institute on Race and Health enjoy a weekly "Dinner and a Movie", that highlights diverse cinema and lends insight to the challenge of achieving health equity.

  • As Associate Director, Dr. Garcia helped with the development and implementation of the Kaiser-funded UCD School of Medicine pipeline program, the Preparando Estudiantes Para Ser Medicos (Prep Medico) Program, now in its third year.  Prep Medico is a 6-week residential program for Latino and other students committed to providing excellent care for the region's increasing Latino population.

Graduate Student

Hung Doan, Plant Pathology

  • Hung Doan is a socially conscious scholar who believes that service is at the heart of scholarship.  As a graduate student in Plant Pathology he is helping to bring attention to an issue that is often hidden, food insecurity with the UCD student community, especially among underrepresented students.

  • As an immigrant, Hung knows poverty and hunger all too well, in high school he frequently volunteered at a shelter where he packed and handed out food and clothes for disadvantaged communities.  His desire to serve these communities continued through his undergraduate and graduate career at UC Davis, and he has consistently worked with agencies such as the food bank, homeless shelters and others.

  • Since 2011, Hung has worked as coordinator and head cook for a student-run soup kitchen, "Help and Education Leading to the Prevention of Poverty" also known as H.E.L.P.  He firmly believes that education can prevent poverty.  

  • As an immigrant and first-generation college student he knows how difficult it can be to fit-in at school and to navigate the academic world.  For that reason, he mentors disadvantaged children in the Progress Ranch Education and Mentoring Program.  As a result of his efforts all of the high school students he mentored are now attending college.

  • Aside from mentoring, Hung is also very passionate about teaching.  He also assisted with the development of a seminar course to connect students and postdocs with potential employers from the agriculture science industry and 12 of the course participants found jobs.

  • Hung has many roles in the Plant Pathology Department.  He serves at a TA, President and Graduate Student Representative and director of the UCD Plant Disease Clinic where he diagnosed plant diseases for the Davis community, including small farmers who would otherwise not be able to afford this service.

Postdoctoral Student

Dr. Lauren Libero, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Davis MIND Institute

  • In Dr. Libero's short three years at UC Davis and Sacramento campus, she has poured herself into the task of advocacy, community service, and mentorship.  She has volunteered to serve as co-leader of the UC Davis MIND Institute Social Skills Groups Program for autistic adults and their family members.

  • When a staff retirement threatened to shut down a monthly support group for family members of people on the autism spectrum, Dr. Libero stepped up and advocated for them to continue meeting at a time and place where she could personally serve as the lead staff member at the MIND Institute.

  • Through her work and research at the MIND Institute Dr. Libero learned that the majority of people who are diagnosed with autism are males--there are about 4 males on the autism spectrum for every female.  This led her to the realization that women though diagnosed later, may need additional support.  Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Libero organized a weekly group for women on the Autism Spectrum that she continues to lead.  Her advocacy for autism education and support also extends to the greater Sacramento and Davis communities.

  • Dr. Libero has done presentations for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD's) Autism Awareness Seminar and she works with organizations like McWane Science Center, where she conducted science demonstrations to increase children's interest in STEM.

  • Dr. Libero understands that children and young adults with autism need to engage in activities that help to enhance their communication skills, like theater which can sometimes be a life-changing experience for people on the spectrum.  This lead to additional volunteer opportunities for Dr. Libero to mentor children and young adults with autism in Theater and Improv.



Samantha Y. Chiang, ASUCD

  • As a UCD Associated Student Senator Samantha founded and institutionalized the first UC Davis Mental Health Conference and Mental Health Awareness Month, and because of her work and involvement in this area, students look to her to be their voice for resources and support.

  • Also in her role as ASUCD Senator Samantha worked with students to establish the Disability Rights Advisory Committee which is now the official Student Disability Center (SDC) Advisory Board.  The Board also collaborated with the SDC Director to advocate and win a space in the SDC in the newly renovated Memorial Union.  The space in the MU provides greater visibility for the SDC and makes disability services more accessible to the student community.

  • Samantha also sat on the first ever Counseling Services “Think Tank” and is currently working to institutionalize and transform it into a permanent Student Health and Counseling Services Advisory Board.

  • Always working to improve inclusion, Samantha worked with SHCS to create translated insurance documents in Mandarin and Spanish, to make insurance literacy more accessible to English as a second language speakers.

  • Samantha is currently collaborating with Student Diversity Affairs to create a cultural competency training for all UC Davis students in an effort to combat the campuses rise in xenophobic events and behaviors.

  • Her passion for assisting marginalized and underrepresented communities is a reflection of her deep desire to create a more equitable and inclusive campus environment.















Dr. Lina Mendez, Associate Director of the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success Center

  • Dr. Mendez has made remarkable contributions to the University’s mission of diversity and community.  Through her research as well as her lived experiences and journey in support of the Chicanx and Latinx student communities has focused on channeling their potential in the pursuit of educational excellence, while also working to shape the institutions that serve them.

  • As a graduate student she worked in the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE).  In that role her contributions concentrated on improving the academic instruction for underrepresented group at UCD.  She helped faculty to become better instructors by providing strategies to implement culturally competent and inclusive teaching practices that ultimately improved the learning experiences and educational outcomes of all students.

  • After CEE she was hired as a Post-doc at the UCD Health campus for Reducing Health Disparities.  There, she worked on projects related to mental health prevention and early intervention.  This included engaging in Community Based Participatory Research, where she collaborated with several groups including the Chicanx/Latinx, LGBTQ, Rural, Urban, Professionals, Farmworkers, and Community Health Workers known as Promotoras, on mental health prevention.  These experiences laid the ground work for Dr. Mendez’ current work in student services.

  • Her leadership experience in student equity initiatives related to academic support services and the social needs of underrepresented students is one of her greatest strengths.  In her role as Associate Director of the CLASS Center, she oversees the Center’s day-to-day activities and programming for student retention and success.

  • Dr. Mendez goes above and beyond to assist students in their pursuit of academic excellence.  She believes in a holistic advising model that addresses students personal, financial, and academic issues, as well as, “sense of belonging”, and leadership development.

  • Always aware of the increasing diversity of the UC Davis community she participates in the Davis “Developing Deeper Advising Relationships (DDAR) training series” to ensure that she is prepared to address the needs of groups such as the LGBTQIA community, foster youth and young parents.

Special Recognition Award

Barbara Ashby, Manager, Worklife and Wellness

  • The Worklife programs Barbara developed and oversees support the distinct needs and goals of individuals with a multitude of backgrounds and experiences.

  • Programs such as the Worklife and Wellness unit’s Flexible Work Arrangements, Dependent Care Resources, the Breastfeeding Support Program, Student Parent Child Care Grants, and Community Involvement all address the diverse needs of people Barbara’s programs serve at UCD.

  • She was the Principle Investigator of a Department of Education Grant which awarded over 1.5 million dollars to student parents in the CCAMPIS grant over a period of 12 years.  When the grant changed focus and was no longer being awarded to UC’s, Barbara was crucial in securing funding to continue to aid student parents with child care costs.  This support is essential for the current and increasing population of student parents.

  • Barbara was instrumental in establishing the Hutchison Child Development Center which began with one goal, which was to simply create additional support for campus parents but, Barbara had a larger vision and because of her hard work we now have 3 child care facilities that serve over 300 children.

  • In 1994, Barbara founded the Breastfeeding Support Program (BFSP) at UCD.  The BFSP provides almost 70 lactation rooms with hospital-grade pumps, support and education, and lactation consultation.  Thanks to her persistent advocacy this year, the BFSP will be the first in the UC system to install a Mamava self-contained lactation pod and it will provide space to accommodate many more breastfeeding moms.  Additionally, the program will once again co-sponsor the Sacramento Breastfeeding Coalition’s annual Breast Milk Donation drive in partnership with Yolo County, WIC and Sutter Health.

  • In 2016-17, Barbara collaborated with the Women’s Resources and Research Center to establish the “Caregiver Support Group and education Program” which provides resources and a monthly support group for those on campus who are in a caregiver role.  Also established was the Workplace Flexibility program which allows supervisors the ability to arrange flexible work arrangements for staff with caregiving responsibilities.

  • Barbara also understood the importance of acknowledging leaders who support Worklife balance and in 2017 she held the first “Worklife Champions” manager/supervisor recognition campaign.  This campaign identified managers or supervisors who provide support to employees in managing their professional and personal demands.  The response was significant with over 250 nominations for about 200 managers/supervisor.

Community Achievement Award

Cassandra Jennings, President and CEO, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento

  • Cassandra Jennings serves as the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) President and CEO.  Since 1968, GSUL has been a local resource hub to help a diverse “hard-to-reach and hard-to-keep” client base to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Understanding this challenge, Cassandra has cleared the way for GSUL to expand its physical footprint, better integrated technology, and build meaningful, purposeful relationships that directly impact GSUL’s clients and the organization’s overall approach.

  • She envisions GSUL as an incubator for civic activism where the organization can assist in fostering and facilitating community advocacy and empowerment around policies void of equity, diversity and inclusion, and economic social-economic access.  The key here is to ensure that when our clients and students successfully complete our programs they see themselves as part of a life-long community of social justice at GSUL to design, advance and advocate for positive socio-economic policy.

  • A strong champion for diversity and inclusion, Cassandra has used her role as President and CEO of GSUL to go beyond the Sacramento city limits to UC Davis in assisting the University’s outreach efforts in underserved communities in Sacramento through the SAYS Program, which, as a result of her leadership, is now co-located at GSUL’s headquarters in Del Paso Heights.

  • Additionally, Cassandra leads the charge in the recognition and celebration of some of the regions firsts, which included local and state elected officials, business leaders and community leaders.  In recent months, there have been many first’s in our region including the appointment of UC Davis’ first African-American Chancellor, Dr. Gary S. May, the hiring of Sacramento Police Department first African-American Chief of Police, Daniel Hahn and others.

  • Cassandra is a leader in the region and has earned respect because of her passion for the community at-large and her sincere commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as, social-economic access.

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 below have taken a leading role in integrating diversity and inclusion in their staff development opportunities and programming.  The three departments and their dedicated staff are being recognized by the Office of Campus Community Relations (OCCR), and the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI), Sacramento campus.

  • 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.

UC Davis Health Information Technology Division

John Cook, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Charron Andrus, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Daniel Marenco, UCDH Clinical Information Systems

Katie Holland, Information Technology Services

Richard Falcon, Information Technology Services

Stefan Toma, UCDH IT Applications Operations

Myrene Abot, Information Technology Services

School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program

Jose A. Morfin, UCDH Department of Nephrology

Elio A. Gutierrez, UCDH Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Student Housing and Dining Services

Emily Galindo, Student Affairs Vice Chancellor’s Office

Catrina Wagner, Student Housing

Corey Pope, Student Housing

Connie Quintero, Student Housing

Duane Lindsay, Student Housing