Ronald Tjeerdema
Ronald Tjeerdema


Ron Tjeerdema named to NAS committee on dispersants for oil spills

Ronald Tjeerdema, CA&ES Associate Dean for Environmental Sciences, has been named to a select committee for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that will evaluate the use of dispersants in future oil spills.

 “I am looking forward to contributing my 30 years of experience in oil spill research,” said Tjeerdema, who is a professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology and also holds the Donald G. Crosby Endowed Chair in Environmental Chemistry.

 Tjeerdema is internationally recognized for his research on oil spills and the effects of chemical dispersants on marine organisms. His research on oil spills and dispersants resulted in the development of widely used standardized methods for toxicity assessment.

 The high-profile NAS Committee on the Evaluation of the Use of Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Response will influence oil spill response for many years to come. Its first meeting will be in Washington, D.C. in June.

 Tjeerdema previously served on a number of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration panels advising on the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its aftermath. In addition, he has provided testimony to congressional and legislative committees on dispersant use and toxicology.

Academic Senate honors two in CA&ES

CA&ES Professors Dirk Van Vuren and Frank Zalom are this year’s recipients of Academic Senate awards for distinguished teaching and scholarly public service, respectively.

Van Vuren is a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology (WFCB), while Zalom is a distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology.

“This is a richly deserved honor and we are absolutely delighted that Dr. Van Vuren’s outstanding teaching and mentoring skills, compassion, and dedication to our students have been recognized with such a prestigious award,” said WFCB Department Chair John Eadie.

Van Vuren teaches courses in wildlife ecology, including field methods, field research, and the ecology of human-wildlife conflicts. His commitment to students, passion for subject matter, and clear, concise lecture style are reasons why he was selected for the award. Van Vuren’s research focuses on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of mammals and examines ecological approaches for managing human-wildlife conflicts. He also studies exotic species, especially in island ecosystems.

Hollis Skaife, a professor in the Graduate School of Management and chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Public Service, said of Zalom, “Your public service contributions over the years have been truly outstanding, and we are delighted and honored to be able to recognize them with this award.”

 Zalom has long been a leader in the field of integrated pest management (IPM) since he came to work at UC Davis in 1980 as the Cooperative Extension IPM coordinator at the inception of the Statewide IPM Program. He served as the program’s director of research for 16 years before returning to the entomology department in 2002. He has held many leadership posts, including as president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America. Zalom has conducted pest management research on crops such as strawberries, almonds, stone fruits, olives, tomatoes, and grapes.

Grace Berryhill receives Kinsella Memorial Prize

Grace Berryhill, a Ph.D. candidate in animal biology, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Kinsella Memorial Prize for outstanding research on a doctoral dissertation.

In her dissertation, “Mechanisms of Estrogen-Independent Allometric Mammary Growth Induced by Diet”, Berryhill studied the effects of a particular dietary fat supplement—conjugated linoleic acid—on estrogen-independent mammary gland development in mice. Selection committee members were impressed with the quality of Berryhill’s work, its multidisciplinary approach, and its far-reaching potential applications. Her research has been published in more than five papers.

“Grace’s thesis represents a fantastic scientific exploration,” said her advisor and animal science professor Russ Hovey. “With what started as a serendipitous observation, she went about meticulously unraveling a fascinating mechanism of how the mammary glands grow and develop. Her work has important implications—from how we view and treat human breast cancers, to our understanding of how the udders of dairy animals grow and develop.”

The Kinsella Memorial Prize was established in 1994 by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to honor the late John Kinsella, former dean of the college and a professor of food science and technology. Graduate groups can nominate one dissertation each year for the quality and originality of an individual’s work, its multidisciplinary impact, and its importance to the college’s mission. The award recipient receives a plaque and a $3,500 prize.

Community development student wins Gilhooly Award

Jessica Jones, a community and regional development student with a focus in environmental policy, is the recipient of the Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award for this year's graduating class.

The Mary Jeanne Gilhooly Award honors one graduating woman acknowledged for being outstanding in the areas of leadership, scholarship, integrity, and service to the campus community. The award was established in 1942 to memorialize the achievements of Mary Jeanne Gilhooly, recognized as an unofficial goodwill ambassador to every prospective Aggie. 

“Those of us who have worked with Jessica know that she is truly deserving of this honor and will serve as an excellent ambassador for our program and the campus,” said Anne Visser, an assistant professor of community and regional development in the Department of Human Ecology. Among the accomplishments of Jones while a UC Davis student:

  • Overseeing the Center for Regional Change internship program

  • Conducting an independent study, honors thesis, and two internships

  • Co-authoring an environmental purchasing policy for the Sonoma County Office of Education 

CA&ES Advisors awarded certificates of merit in academic advising

Nann Fangue, Melissa Whaley, and Julie Zech have been awarded certificates of merit from NACADA, the National Academic Advising Association.

  • Fangue received a certificate of merit in the Outstanding Advising Award—Faculty Academic Advising category. She is a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology.
  • Whaley received a certificate of merit in the Outstanding Advising Award—Primary Advising Role category. She is a student affairs officer in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy.
  • Zech received a certificate of merit in the Outstanding New Advisor Award—Primary Advising Role category. She is a student affairs officer in the CA&ES dean’s office.

“It’s such an honor have three individuals in our college recognized for their exceptional contributions to academic advising,” said Susan Ebeler, CA&ES Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs. “These global awards are quite competitive and recognize the high quality and innovative contributions that our faculty and professional staff advisors provide for our students.”

The awards also affirm the valuable partnerships among faculty, department advisors, and dean’s office advisors working to provide a coordinated system of academic support for students.

A ceremony and reception will honor all academic advising award recipients at the annual NACADA Conference in St. Louis, Missouri this fall. NACADA promotes and supports quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students. For additional information, visit the NACADA website.

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