Awards ceremony caps Student Achievement Week

Neuroscience senior Yonathan Essaw describes his research on transmission of the infectious bacteria Wolbachia in wild fruit flies at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on June 7, one of many events during Student Achievement Week. (Photo: Tim Stephens)
From left, Loren Steck is joined by Julia Burke; her son, Sebastian Burke, who received the Steck Award for best senior thesis; and his faculty adviser, associate professor of digital media Lawrence Andrews.

Students, staff, faculty, family, and friends crowded the College Nine/College Ten Multipurpose Room on Friday, June 8, as accomplishments in an array of disciplines were recognized at the annual Student Achievement Awards.

The ceremony was part of Student Achievement Week, a showcase of student research, artwork, and performances.

The event included a welcome from Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal, with William Ladusaw, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education serving as emcee. Presentation of the Deans' and Chancellor's Awards was made by the leaders of each academic division. Loren Steck presented the Steck Award and spoke to the gathering.

Awards and scholarships included:

Loren Steck Award. The Loren Steck Award honors the finest senior thesis completed during an academic year, with the winner chosen from the Chancellor's Award candidates. Sebastian Burke was selected for his thesis, "The Creative Process: A Film on Physicist Richard Feynman and his Perspective on the Nuclear bomb in Relation to Science." His faculty adviser is film and digital media associate professor Lawrence Andrews.

Strauss Award. Each year, the Strauss Scholarships fund at least 14 public-service projects proposed by college juniors in California. The late Donald Strauss of Newport Beach demonstrated a strong commitment to public service. His widow, Dorothy M. R. Strauss, established the foundation in 1997 as a tribute to her husband. This year's Strauss Award winners, Ariel Tenebaum and Justin Wiley, plan to use the $10,000 scholarship to establish an educational hands-on gardening and nutrition program at a local high school for at-risk youths whose population is predominantly Latino. Nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, have been on the rise in the United States, and have impacted many Latino communities. Tenebaum and Wiley's project will teach students about nutrition and is designed to empower them to take direct action toward improving students' access to healthy food options at school and in the community. Strong advocates of this startup program/new initiative include Santa Cruz United Way, Life Lab Science Program, and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Kenneth and Ann Thimann Scholarship. Professor emeritus of biology at UCSC Kenneth Thimann and his wife, Ann (both now deceased), established this pledge of support to UCSC in recognition of future UCSC graduate science scholars. The scholarship award of $2,000 is intended for use in graduate studies. David Dawson, who will receive his bachelor's of science in applied physics, received the award. Dawson has been accepted to Stanford University's graduate program in aeronautics and astronautics, where he will study fluid physics.

Deans' and Chancellor's Awards. These awards recognize outstanding achievements by undergraduate students. Ten Deans' Awards are awarded to students within each division (Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Physical & Biological Sciences, Social Sciences). Of those students, up to three in each division can be selected to receive a Chancellor's Award. Students as well as their mentors were recognized at the ceremony.

See list of Student Achievement Week winners.