UC Davis College of Letters and Science Magazine

Editor’s Note

The UC Davis College of Letters and Science releases its annual alumni magazine in the fall. Each issue is a celebration of the College’s diversity, programs, research and people. We feature articles about student, faculty and alumni accomplishments, important milestones and research breakthroughs. Most importantly, we seek to advance a greater understanding of the value of the liberal arts and sciences and create a sense of community and connection to the College. 

The Future Built Here

Portrait photo of UC Davis College of Letters and Science Dean Elizabeth Spiller

This issue of the College of Letters and Science Magazine illustrates how our faculty, students and alumni combine scholarly expertise and productivity with a passion to tackle this century’s biggest challenges with bold, new ideas. Read Dean Elizabeth Spiller's full message


Behind the Bots

Illustration of a man speaking through the mouth of a giant mask

Researchers pull back the curtain on online conversations

Bots (short for robots) are snippets of software designed to carry out online tasks. Sometimes they’re helpful. Sometimes they meddle. Faculty and students in the College of Letters and Science are developing sophisticated analytical tools to study the effects of bots


Global Poverty Fighters

Photo of UC Davis alumna and World Bank vice president Laura Tuck planting a tree saplingEconomics alumni are helping the World Bank achieve its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. 

Deborah Harkness

Portrait photo of best-selling author and UC Davis alumna Deborah Harkness

Read a Q&A with Deborah Harkness (Ph.D., history, ’94), the author of the best-selling All Souls Trilogy

Big Ideas for Tomorrow's Challenges

image of hand holding glowing orb surrounded by connecting network

College of Letters and Science faculty are engaged in several of UC Davis' Big Ideas to make a better world


Portrait photo of UC Davis alumnus and comedian Hasan Minhaj

A selection of the many people and accomplishments we love to brag — or rodomontade — about. 

Steeped in Tea

Photo of glass tea pot with tea leaves steeping in water

Seminar gives students a wide view of the world's most consumed brew. 

Classes That Cast a Spell

historic engraving of witches and the devil

Courses explore the history of witch hunts that led to the executions of about 60,000 people in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bedrock of Geology Ed

Illustration of mountain range above forestsThe summer field camp is going strong in its second half-century.

What's Your Major?

photo of two female graduating studentsThe answers to that perennial question have changed over the years. 

Playful and Potent

Photo of artist surrounded by his artworks in his studio

Artist Tavarus Blackmon embraces the light and dark. 

Ethnic Studies at 50

Photo of mural with images from Chicano, African American, Asian American and Native American histories and cultures

Programs born of student movement expand their focus to serve new generations. 

Designing It Forward

Photo of UC Davis student presenting a design

Alumnus makes a planned gift of $1 million to the College to support undergraduates majoring in design.

Meet Brian Burwell

Portrait photo of UC Davis alumnus Brian Burwell

New chair brings strategic expertise to Dean’s Advisory Council.

Psychedelic Science

DMT crystals

Chemist David Olson investigates microdosing — taking tiny amounts of psychedelic drugs to boost mood and battle mental disorders.

Winston Ko's Enduring Impact

Author Assist

Portrait photos of prize benefactor and 2019 winner
Best-selling author John Lescroart, left, established the Maurice Prize to encourage alumni writers. Alumnus Peter Shahrokh won the 2019 prize.

Maurice Prize encourages alumni to keep writing.