‘Time’ Trailblazer

Portrait photo of UC Davis alumnus and comediant Hasan Minhaj
Hasan Minhaj (photo by Eric Hobbs)

Comedian Hasan Minhaj (B.A., political science, ’07) was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2019. A former senior correspondent on The Daily Show, Minhaj hosts his own weekly talk show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, on Netflix. His first stand-up comedy special, 2017’s Homecoming King, won a Peabody Award and was filmed at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis. 

Photo of UC Davis professor Sarah Stewart in front of image of the moon
Sarah Stewart, MacArthur fellow

MacArthur fellow 

Sarah Stewart, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who combines theory and experiments to understand how planets form, was honored with a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship. She is one of three College of Letters and Science faculty member who have received a five-year “Genius Grant.” 


New minerals named for faculty in the Department of Chemistry. Discovered in Utah’s old uranium mines, “caseyite” and “navrotskyite” honor the geochemical contributions of Professor William Casey and Distinguished Professor Alexandra Navrotsky.


The number of recent College graduates offered 2018–19 Fulbright Fellowships to study, conduct research, or teach English in countries around the world. 

Photo of UC Davis alumnus and Raiders player Keelan Doss running with ball during a Raiders game.
Keelan Doss (photo by Tony Gonzales/Oakland Raiders)

Going Pro

Aggie football standout Keelan Doss (B.A., sociology, ’18), who set campus records for touchdowns and all-purpose yards, is now a wide receiver with the Oakland Raiders. Three other Aggies — all hailing from the College — were invited to NFL spring rookie minicamps: Mason Moe (Philadelphia Eagles), Vincent White (Denver Broncos), and Isiah Olave (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Photo of UC Davis alumna and women's basketball coach Jennifer Gross celebrating with net around her neck
Jennifer Gross (Jason Spencer/UC Davis)


Number of times in the past three seasons that UC Davis women’s basketball coach Jennifer Gross (B.A., sociology, ’97) has been named Big West Conference Coach of the Year. She has led the team to 97 victories, four postseason appearances, three conference championships, and a conference tournament championship.

Photo of teddy bear wearing diaper made from kombucha byproduct
Barbara Molloy photo

Pin that

A compostable diaper created by students for a biodesign course won a 2019 Community Choice Prize in the Design Education Initiative category of Core77 Design Awards. The Sorbit Diaper — made from bacterial cellulose, a kombucha byproduct — was also runner-up in the 2018 Biodesign Challenge competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

photo of UC Davis alums and Hollywood scriptwriters


The number of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that alumni Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have written scripts for — most recently, Avengers: Endgame. The screenwriting duo earned their master’s degrees in English in 1996.illustration of prehistoric marine reptile

“This is a very strange animal.”
Ryosuke Motani, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who, with colleagues, discovered a fossil of a marine reptile with a bill like a platypus.illustration of a chubby cat

Cheeto, the pudgy physics cat, was catapulted to worldwide fame this past spring on social media after funny signs asking people not to feed him went viral. 

Photo of UC Davis physics professor Manuael Calderon de la Barca Sanchez at the Large hadron Collider

Your Guide to the Universe

A new IMAX movie, Secrets of the Universe, stars physics professor Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez as the viewers’ guide inside the biggest machine ever built: the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Scientists use the collider to probe the tiniest particles in the universe. 

Photo of a vervet monkey
Photo by Lynne Isbell/UC Davis

“Evolution isn’t a progression. It’s about how well organisms fit into their current environments.”
Lynne Isbell, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, in a July 14 LiveScience article, “Why Haven’t All Primates Evolved Into Humans?”


Kathleen Holder, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, curated this content for the fall 2019 issue of the College of Letters and Science Magazine