Annual awards recognize outstanding students in the Social Sciences Division

Photo of student with award plaque with faculty members
Amanda Safi, center, receives the Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship from Acting Dean Heather Bullock (right) and Politics Professor Daniel Wirls (left). Photo: Hilda Mulungi
A student speaking at a podium with two other students
Elsie Vizcarra (right) speaks alongside Veronica Salazar (middle) and Suzie Gonzalez (left) after all three students received the Walsh Family Scholarship. Photo: Hilda Mulungi
A student with an award certificate flanked by UCSC faculty and staff
Abigail Kaun (left), Professor Miriam Greenberg (second from right) and Acting Dean Heather Bullock (right) award Wiliam Guerrero (second from left) with the Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award for Teaching Excellence. Photo: Hilda Mulungi

The Division of Social Sciences’ annual Student Awards Luncheon was held on June 2 at College Nine’s Namaste Lounge. Students, faculty, staff, and friends gathered to celebrate, as Acting Dean Heather Bullock presented awards to 26 students, mainly from the Social Sciences Division, in recognition of their scholarship, research, and commitment to social justice. 

“We’re so proud of Social Sciences students, both for their academic achievements and for their positive impact in the world,” Bullock said of the ceremony. “These awards, established by our division’s donors, offer an opportunity to appreciate  students in the Social Sciences and to support the achievement of their goals.”

The 2023 student awardees are listed below. Click each student’s name to read more about them in their linked student profile, and check out a full image gallery here

Division of Social Sciences Awards

Rick Hooper Scholarship for Human Rights

The Rick Hooper Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Richard "Rick" M. Hooper, who died on August 19, 2003 in the terrorist bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Hooper, a 1985 graduate of UC Santa Cruz, spent many years in the Middle East and became one of the UN's chief experts on the region. Recipients are selected based on academic merit and financial need, with preference given to students who are interested in research promoting Middle East peace and conflict resolution, or human rights issues.

  • Daniel Moshayedi, Film and Digital Media
  • Chidinma Onyekonwu, Anthropology

Keeley Coastal Scholars Award

The Keeley Coastal Scholars Award supports underrepresented undergraduates by providing financial assistance to engage in summer research and policy work related to coastal sustainability. Former Assemblyman and Santa Cruz County Treasurer/Tax Collector Fred Keeley is a widely recognized champion of the coastal environment and the author of the Marine Life Management Act.

Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award for Teaching Excellence

Professor Emeritus of Economics David Kaun established this award in 1999 to recognize two talented graduate teaching assistants each year. He was inspired to endow the award and name it after the first recipients, international economics graduate students Garrett Milam and Matt McGinty, who were teaching assistants in Kaun's Intermediate Microeconomic Theory course. Recipients are selected each year based on academic merit, one from Economics and one from another department in the Social Sciences Division.

Benjamin Quaye Memorial Award

The Benjamin Quaye Memorial Endowment for Social Justice was established in 2016 to honor the memory of UC Santa Cruz undergraduate Benjamin Quaye. Ben had a strong commitment to spreading values of tolerance and social justice, and this scholarship supports students pursuing educational and career goals in these areas. 

Walsh Family Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Economics Professor Carl Walsh and his wife, Judy Walsh (MS, '90, applied economics), in honor of Carl's parents Eugene and Bessie Walsh. The award is presented to one or more undergraduates within the Division of Social Sciences, based on academic merit and financial need. This award rotates among the departments in the Division and this year was awarded by the Education Department.

Weiss Family Scholarship

The Weiss Family Scholarship was established in 2005 by Timothy and Jean Weiss to support students in Colleges Nine and Ten (now John R. Lewis College). It is presented to one or more students who are working directly with faculty who are affiliated with a divisional research center.

Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established to honor UC Santa Cruz graduate Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, who was shot and killed in the 2011 attack on U.S. Congressperson Gabrielle Giffords. Zimmerman served as Giffords' Community Outreach Director and they were together at a constituent-engagement event when gunshots rang out. He ran toward Giffords, who was gravely wounded in the assassination attempt. Gabe was killed. The scholarship was established in the weeks after the shooting by UC Santa Cruz graduates Jonathan Klein (Merrill '89, politics) and Alex Clemens (Porter '89, international politics) and has since attracted support from more than 520 donors. It supports undergraduates who are passionate about social issues and committed to social service.

Division of Undergraduate Education Awards

In addition, students in the Division of Social Sciences received campuswide Deans' and Chancellor's Awards. Deans’ Awards recognize outstanding achievement by undergraduates in each academic division. Each student or team works on a senior research or capstone project with the mentorship of a faculty member. A committee in each division selects up to 10 Deans' Award recipients. Of those, the three most outstanding research projects are also selected to receive a Chancellor's Award. 

2022 Chancellor's Award and Deans' Undergraduate Award for Undergraduate Research

2022 Deans' Award for Undergraduate Research