Three to receive top honors from UC Santa Cruz Alumni Association

A senior writing lecturer, an epidemiologist in the international fight against AIDS, and a staff member who helps nontraditional students thrive have been selected to receive the UCSC Alumni Association's highest honors for the 2005-06 year.

Don Rothman will receive the Distinguished Teaching Award; Cheryl Scott, the Alumni Achievement Award; and Corinne Miller, the Outstanding Staff Award. The three will be honored along with 31 student award winners at the Alumni Association Awards Luncheon February 4.

Students reflecting on courses with teaching award-winner Don Rothman describe him as "amazing," "exceptional," and "bursting with enthusiasm." When asked how the course could be improved, many offered such comments as "It's perfect," "don't change a thing," or "don't retire." In nominating Rothman for the award, former student Alija Mujic (Porter College, 2004) described his exemplary commitment to students. "Frequently, I found myself with Don in discussion both inside and out of class poring over ideas that our reflective writing had brought to mind...he has displayed to me the highest level of commitment to the quality of education offered by UCSC."

Rothman's 32-year teaching career has been closely connected with UCSC's Oakes College. He began at the college in its early years and helped define its academic vision and its focus on diversity. He also served as Oakes provost for a time in the 1990s.

Rothman was instrumental in creating and shaping the UCSC Writing Program and has been generous in sharing his expertise. In 1977 he founded the Central California Writing Project, dedicated to helping elementary and secondary teachers and university faculty improve the teaching of writing across all disciplines. He has published many articles on the promise of writing to enhance democracy, and was honored in 2002 with a Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSC Center for Teaching Excellence.

As director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operations in Tanzania from 2001 to 2005, alumni award-winner Cheryl Scott was in the thick of the global battle against AIDS. Nearly 1.5 million Tanzanians, or an estimated 10 percent of the population, were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003. Under Scott's leadership, CDC-Tanzania assisted the Tanzanian government to improve its national HIV/AIDS surveillance system, strengthen laboratory services, advance blood-transfusion safety, and develop a network of antenatal health centers that target prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Scott's work in Tanzania was part of a wide-ranging public health and clinical career that has taken her around the world, with experiences in the Ivory Coast, Kenya, India, and the Caribbean. Scott began her CDC career in 1993 as an investigator in the elite Epidemic Intelligence Service and also has worked in maternal and child health and disaster epidemiology in California, New York, and New Jersey, where she was the state maternal and child health epidemiologist. She has recently returned to the United States and is working as a medical director at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.

A 1974 Oakes graduate in biology, Scott earned her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1982 and a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins in 1986. She completed a preventive medicine residency at CDC headquarters in 1995. Scott is published in the areas of reproductive and child health, disaster epidemiology, and HIV surveillance and laboratory strengthening. She is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and has received several Public Heath Service awards.

What began as a small support system for "nontraditional" women students-those not fitting the 18- to 22-year-old profile--has blossomed under staff award-winner Corinne Miller's leadership. Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS) now welcomes more than 3,000 transfer and nontraditional students and has a solid record for student success. "As a testament to the quality of these programs, a greater proportion of transfer and re-entry students are elected to Phi Beta Kappa than from the general population," wrote Ronaldo Ramirez, director of development in Student Affairs, in nominating Miller for the staff award. Last year, STARS took another program under its wing, becoming the administrative base for the Renaissance Scholars Program and the Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society, serving foster and homeless youth.

Miller's leadership and advocacy inspired the UCSC Women's Club, the Soroptimist International, and the American Association of University Women to fund endowed scholarships for STARS students. Another group STARS works closely with, the UCSC Lifelong Learners organization, has developed a UCSC scholarship endowment.

Miller's skill at finding housing, tutors, and jobs for students is matched by an amazing talent for motivation. "After you spend time with her, you really feel like there is nothing you can't do," said Yvonne W. Rodriguez, a 2001 physics graduate now working on her Ph.D. in physics at UCSC. "Thank goodness she has an open-door policy so that you can stop in anytime you need support."

In her more than 20 years of helping students, Miller's commitment has gone beyond any job description. "Corinne Miller and her staff created a small haven for those of us who did not fit into the normal college scene," wrote former re-entry student Patricia E. Boyer, who went on to get a master's degree from Harvard after graduating from UCSC.

The Alumni Awards Luncheon will be held at noon on Saturday, February 4, at the College Nine/College Ten Multipurpose Room. In addition to Rothman, Scott, and Miller, the luncheon will honor student winners of awards funded by the UCSC Alumni Association. RSVPs are required by January 27, and may be made by calling (831) 459-2530, (800) 933-SLUG, or going online ( The cost of the luncheon is $18.