Alumni News

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Kathryn Sullivan (photo courtesy of NOAA) 

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Joost Hiltermann

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Elizabeth Butler (photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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Banana Slugs have made waves in Hollywood recently, including with alumnus Rick Carter’s Oscar win for production design on the acclaimed historical drama Lincoln.

Banana Slugs in high places

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has appointed alumna Kathryn Sullivan (Earth sciences '73) to serve as acting administrator for NOAA. She replaces Jane Lubchenco, who announced last year her intention to step down at the end of February as NOAA administrator and under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere.

Since 2011, Sullivan has served as assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and as deputy administrator for NOAA. She will continue to serve in these roles in addition to her new position as acting administrator. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is responsible for monitoring the nation's climate, weather, oceans, fisheries, and coasts.

Joost Hiltermann, who received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Santa Cruz in 1988, has been named chief operating officer of the International Crisis Group based in Brussels.

As the number two executive for the independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organization, Hiltermann is responsible for the oversight and management of its programs and operations around the world. He also leads the organization's strategic planning process.

In memoriam: Detective Elizabeth Butler

Detective Elizabeth Butler (Kresge '96, community studies), a member of the Santa Cruz police force, was killed in the line of duty on February 26. She was 38.

Butler and fellow Santa Cruz police detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker were shot when they went to question a suspect in an alleged sexual assault.

They were the first Santa Cruz police officers killed in the line of duty. Thousands mourned the two fallen officers at a memorial in San Jose on March 7.

For more alumni In Memoriam notices, see Alumni Notes

Success in Tinseltown

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Rick Carter won an Oscar this year for production design on Steven Speilberg's acclaimed film, Lincoln.

This marks the second academy award for the former UCSC art major (Kresge '74).

Carter previously won an Oscar for his art direction on James Cameron's Avatar. As a production designer, Carter helps create movie atmospheres and "worlds" that fulfill the director's artistic vision and serve the story, whether he's bringing dinosaurs to life in Jurassic Park or evoking the 19th century environment of Lincoln.

Another UCSC alum was also backstage at this year's Oscars ceremony.

Dency Nelson (Porter '74, theatre arts) has been a stage manager for the past 25 years, working behind the scenes at the Academy Awards, the Grammys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Teen Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, and a host of other major awards shows.