Our current crop of Chancellor’s Fellows, brilliant researchers and teachers who engage undergraduates in their exciting discoveries.
Our current crop of Chancellor’s Fellows, brilliant researchers and teachers who engage undergraduates in their exciting discoveries.

Chancellor’s Fellows keep UC Davis strong

By Cari DuBois-Wright

We could all use a little brain stimulation during the long summer break. I’m pleased to offer you an opportunity to learn from some of the most esteemed researchers on campus—our Chancellor’s Fellows.

The three talks available here, presented exclusively to the Davis Chancellor’s Club last month, showcase the breadth and depth of UC Davis discovery. We hear from winemaking guru Andrew Waterhouse, whose Chancellor’s Fellows award in 2000—the first year the awards were granted—allowed him to launch his early work on wine oxidation, which became the foundation of his influential research program. We hear from neuroscientist Charan Ranganath, who advances our understanding of memory, in particular memory and the aging brain. And we hear from political scientist Amber Boydstun, whose study of “media storms”—the viral explosion of particular stories in the news—strengthens our critical understanding of the interplay between media and politics.

It’s very gratifying to hear from Chancellor’s Fellows of past years because they can present the fruits of their awards. The $25,000 awarded to Fellows is seed money that often reaps millions in external support. That’s quite a return on investment!

How do our students benefit? They have a front seat to discoveries in the making, and very often they play a hands-on role. Our Chancellor’s Fellows engage students at every level in their labs and in the field—and the relationship is very much a two-way street.

As Chancellor’s Fellow William Ristenpart, a chemical engineer whose work on airborne spread of COVID-19 through speaking earned him headlines this past year, puts it: “My favorite moment as a teacher is when a student asks me a totally unexpected question that makes me stop, think—and perhaps launch a whole new line of scientific inquiry.”

That’s why when we look at the most recent crop of Chancellor’s Fellows, we can dream about the exciting directions their research might take—and how our students will benefit from those journeys.

During the next academic year, I’ll present several Chancellor’s Fellows stories in this column. They offer amazing insight into the research and education that make UC Davis so great.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families a wonderful summer. I’m already looking forward to the year ahead. See you in August, in the next edition of In the Know!

For more information about how parent giving makes a difference in students’ lives, contact Cari DuBois-Wright, Associate Director of Development in Parent Giving, at caduboiswright@ucdavis.edu, 510-388-3605. You can visit our Parents Fund website here as well as learn more about our Family Fellows

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