Alumni News

‘A Monumental Step’ in Reclaiming a California Indigenous Language

For his graduate research comparing languages around the world, Lewis Lawyer couldn’t find a single published reference book on Patwin, an endangered language once spoken in hundreds of Northern California communities, including what is now Davis. So, on his way to completing his UC Davis doctorate, Lawyer wrote one. With the release of "A Grammar of Patwin," the findings of his dissertation are now available to scholars as well as to Patwin/Wintun people working to revitalize their ancestral language.

Alumni Honor Father With Gift to Department of Chemistry

When it came to commemorating their father’s life, two alumni and another sibling followed his lifelong example by giving back. Emery Pharma founder Ron Najafi (Ph.D., chemistry, ’89), ophthalmologist Kathryn (Katy) Najafi-Tagol (B.S., chemistry, ’90), both pictured above, and brother Alex established the Dr. Mohsen Najafi Pharmaceutical Chemistry Research Fund in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry.  

Alumnus Part of Nobel Peace Prize-Winning Organization

Humanitarian work has taken Jon Brause (B.A., international relations, ’83) all over the world — to North Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Philippines and more. As director of the Washington Liaison Office at the United Nations World Food Programme, he is immersed in global crises the organization was created to address. That work was rewarded in December, when the WFP won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

‘Aggie for Life’ Bill Hollingshead Will Be Missed

A self-described “Aggie for life,” alumnus Bill Hollingshead (B.A., political science, ’60) died in early February. Hollingshead and his wife, Dianne, were longtime donors to UC Davis and devoted patrons of the Department of Music. He was well-known for his enthusiastic love of his alma mater. In 2012, he received the Aggie Service Award from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, which honors alumni who demonstrate exemplary Aggie pride and commitment of time, energy, volunteerism and leadership to UC Davis.

Young Alumna Awarded Prestigious US State Department Fellowship

Recent graduate Nina Forest is unsure where in the world her UC Davis bachelor’s degree in international relations will take her. But after receiving a prestigious national scholarship, she knows how she’ll get to professional destinations around the globe — via a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

1977 - Cynthia Friend

Cynthia Friend (B.S., chemistry, ’77), a professor of chemistry and materials science at Harvard University, was recently named incoming president of the Kavli Foundation. The foundation supports the advancement and public understanding of science, establishing research institutes at universities and awarding $1 million Kavli Prizes in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.

Alumna Earns Prestigious Marshall Scholarship

A recent UC Davis College of Letters and Science graduate has been awarded a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, a decades-old British government program that pays for American students to pursue advanced degrees at British universities. Valencia Scott (B.A., anthropology and international relations, ’20) will pursue a doctorate in criminology at the University of Oxford, where she will focus her studies on the criminalization of Black immigrants. She is planning a career in international human rights law.

Three Newly Elected California Leaders Reflect College’s Civic Impact

A student and two alumni of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science assume new positions as elected public officials this month — science and technology studies major Hipolito Angel Cerros on the city council in the Tulare County community of Lindsay and political science graduates Alex Lee and David Cortese in the California Legislature.

Art History Alumna Wants to Make Everyone ‘ArtCurious’

Since shortly after its launch four years ago, Jennifer Dasal’s ArtCurious podcast has been a hit, garnering kudos from art historians and nods from O: The Oprah Magazine, Salon and National Public Radio. Now Dasal (B.A., art history, ’02) has taken some of those podcast stories and added many more for her book Art Curious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History