Distinguished Undergraduate Student Award
Jocelyn T. Rodriguez
The 2020 Distinguished Undergraduate Student Award is awarded to Jocelyn Taylor Rodriguez. Jocelyn is an ecologist and ornithologist in Dr. Rebecca R. Hernandez's Lab the Hernandez Lab and is the newly appointed peer advisor for the Environmental Science and Management major. Jocelyn receives this award owing to her excellence in interdisciplinary research focused on understanding the impacts of novel renewable energy infrastructure on biodiversity. Her ongoing research investigates avian interactions with floating solar arrays on constructed freshwater bodies of water across different biome types.
Distinguished Graduate Student Award
The 2020 Distinguished Graduate Student Award is awarded to Kelsey Brewer. Kelsey Brewer is a Ph.D. Candidate in his 4th year with the Soils and Biogeochemistry (SBG) Graduate Group. His thesis research applies multiple analytical approaches, with the aim to narrow agroecological and biogeochemical knowledge gaps within perennial integrated crop-livestock management systems. He specifically focuses on the plant-grazer-soil interactions of these systems and the yet understudied implications for agroecosystem biodiversity and productivity, with a particular focus on soil carbon and nutrient cycling and storage dynamics. Beyond that, he works to collaborate with others in developing participatory and stakeholder-engaged research frameworks and approaches that address complex ecological and social challenges within diverse working landscapes and food systems at-large.
Alex E. Cagle
The 2020 Distinguished Graduate Student Award is awarded to Alex Cagle. Alex is a Ph.D. Student in the Energy Graduate Group in Dr. Rebecca R. Hernandez's Lab. He investigates the environmental impacts and potential co-benefits of floating solar photovoltaics on human-made bodies of water such as irrigation ponds and water treatment reservoirs. Alex recently published findings on the land-sparing opportunities of siting solar atop water bodies in a first-authored publication in the journal Sustainability. Currently, Alex is researching the water quality, panel performance, and biodiversity implications of floating solar photovoltaics across four floating solar arrays across the United States as a part of a multi-year, collaborative research endeavor with the Florida Solar Energy Center.
Distinguished Postdoctoral Awards
The 2020 Distinguished Postdoctoral Award is awarded to Dr. Bin Chen. Bin is a geographer and remote sensing scientist keen to leverage geospatial and remote sensing data and analytics to address a wide range of global environmental change challenges. While serving his role as a Postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Yufang Jin's Lab, he worked on several projects in agriculture and forest monitoring, and interactions between vegetation, climate change, human activities, and wildfires using quantitative, modeling, and computational skills. He receives this award owing to his research excellence in data-driven agricultural monitoring, historical analysis of California's wildfires, and global land cover and land-use changes. Recently, Bin joined the University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor working in the direction of future urbanity and sustainable environment.
The 2020 Distinguished Postdoctoral Award is awarded to Dr. Elad Levintal. Elad is a hydrologist in Dr. Helen Dahlke's Lab, focusing on an emerging method for sustainable groundwater management named agricultural managed aquifer recharge. In his research, Elad leads large-scale field experiments at three different sites in California’s Central Valley. The outcomes of his research will be used by California stakeholders to better design and implement projects to overcome California’s growing groundwater overdraft. In addition to his fundamental research, he developed new, inter- and intra-connected open-source monitoring systems that are affordable yet provide high-resolution spatiotemporal data for big data analysis, precision agricultural, and data-driven decisions.
Distinguished Teaching Award
The 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award is awarded to Dr. Sanjai Parikh. Dr. Parikh is recognized for his commitment to teaching and dedication to students. He focuses his teaching to deliver both foundational and applied knowledge while challenging students to develop their critical thinking skills. In 2020, Dr. Parikh enjoyed teaching Environmental Soil Chemistry (SSC 102/202) and Soils in our Environment (SSC 010), with students commenting “great teacher, very caring”, “Prof. Parikh is amazing!”, “the best professor I had in UCD”, “he was so excited about soil it made me want to come to class”, “he cares that students learn the material”, and “such a great presence on my screen this quarter”. Students also appreciated his well-organized lectures and easy to navigate and content-rich course websites.
Distinguished Service Award
The 2020 Distinguished Service Award is awarded to Timothy "Tad" Doane. Tad has worked as a Staff Research Associate in LAWR for six years. His exercises include preparation of LAWR's laboratory-based classes, maintenance of departmental equipment, serving as safety representative, general support of research efforts in LAWR, and occasional heavy lifting.