2023 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Award

The Division of Graduate Studies, Arts Division, Baskin School of Engineering, Humanities Division, Physical and Biological Sciences Division, and Social Sciences Division present the 2023 class of graduate student alumni honorees.

Professional Skills: Networking

Jennifer BevanJennifer Bevan
Baskin Engineering
Ph.D. Computer Science 2006

Engineering Productivity Software Engineer

Jennifer Bevan is an accomplished software engineer who has spent the past 17 years at Google developing testing infrastructure and tools to improve products and the end-user experience. Everything seen on Google’s web browser was tested using the first two frameworks she developed. In addition to her innovative testing tools and applications leading to more robust products, they also have led to major improvements in accessibility. A strong advocate for making sure every product meets the needs and abilities of a diverse range of users, Bevan’s internal and open source accessibility testing technology has helped empower engineers to create new products through an accessibility lens. Her passion for testing first began while working as a TA during her graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. She vividly recalls the experiences that helped set the foundation for a life-long dedication to developing and employing novel tests to improve software systems.

Bevan is a strong proponent for increasing female representation in tech. She frequently speaks at events and on podcasts to help represent the work she does and put a spotlight on the importance of diversifying the engineering workforce.

jake-kendall-cropped.jpgJake Kendall
Social Sciences Division
Ph.D. Economics 2008

Founder, Director, Partner

Jake Kendall is a co-founder of the DFS Lab, an early stage investor and accelerator investing in companies building a modern digital economy for Africa. The DFS Lab has invested in over 35 African companies to date and helped them grow and raise money from top global investors including Tiger Global, Y Combinator, Accel, and SoftBank.

He was formerly a deputy director on the Financial Inclusion team at the Gates Foundation, where his team invested over $1B in mobile money and digital payments projects around the world. There he led major research projects like the Global Findex and invested in building the global data architecture for measuring progress on financial inclusion.

Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Kendall spent time as an economist with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) within the World Bank and in two startups in the field of cryptography. In addition to the Ph.D. in economics from UC Santa Cruz, Kendall holds a B.S. in physics from MIT. Following MIT, he spent two years in Zambia as a fisheries extension agent with the U.S. Peace Corps. Kendall is a published researcher and author, and some of his research appears on his author page on SSRN (Social Science Research Network). As a side interest, Kendall is co-PI with Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinnman on a few large-scale randomized field trials testing financial interventions.

cora-randall.jpgCora Randall
Physical and Biological Sciences Division
Ph.D. Chemistry 1985

Distinguished Professor Emerita, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC)
Senior Research Scientist, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)
University of Colorado Boulder

Cora Randall is a senior research scientist in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. After an initial career focused on time-resolved laser spectroscopy of biological molecules, Randall has spent 33 years working first on the Hubble Space Telescope and later on satellite missions devoted to examining the earth’s atmosphere. She has led numerous research programs and is currently deputy principal investigator (PI) for the NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission and PI for the AIM Cloud Imaging and Particle Size (CIPS) instrument. Her professional work has ranged from polarization optics to astronomy to atmospheric science and solar-terrestrial relationships. Her current research emphasizes the atmospheric effects of energetic particle precipitation, stratospheric ozone depletion, polar mesospheric clouds, gravity wave observations, and satellite measurement validation.

Randall was chair of the CU Boulder ATOC Department for five years, and has led many university activities, including a four-year overhaul of the undergraduate general education requirements. She has won numerous awards in recognition of her scientific contributions and service, and is an elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Benjamín Schultz-FigueroaBenjamín Schultz-Figueroa
Arts Division
Ph.D. Film and Digital Media 2018

Assistant Professor, Film Studies
Seattle University

Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa is at the cutting edge of groundbreaking research in film history, science studies, and animal studies. His interdisciplinary approach to animal representation in film gives him a fresh perspective on a decades-old topic. A professor of film studies at Seattle University, Schultz-Figueroa has most recently taught courses in the history of film, animals and film, science and the cinema, science fiction film, and film theory. He is also currently co-editing multiple pieces, including a special issue of the Journal of Environmental Media, an in-focus issue of the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, and an issue of feminist media histories. In addition, Schultz-Figueroa is working on his second book, Beastly Futures, an examination of the non-theatrical and theatrical representation of animals in the 21st century.

Schultz-Figueroa’s dissertation was awarded the graduate student writing award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the discipline’s highest honor for graduate students. His groundbreaking dissertation was published in book form earlier this year as The Celluloid Specimen: Moving Image Research into Animal Life.

james-e-young.jpgJames E. Young
Humanities Division
Ph.D. Literature 1983
B.A. Literature, B.A. Psychology 1973

Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst

James E. Young is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of English and Judaic & Near Eastern Studies and the founding director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he also served as chair of the Department of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies between 1998 and 2010. Young has also taught at New York University as a Dorot Professor of English and Hebrew/Judaic Studies (1984-88), at Bryn Mawr College in the history of religion, and at the University of Washington, Harvard University, and Princeton University as a visiting professor.

Professor Young is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 1988), The Texture of Memory (Yale University Press, 1993, winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 1994), At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (Yale University Press, 2000), and The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016, winner of the National Council for Public History Book Award for 2017). He was also the guest curator of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York City, entitled “The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History” (March–August 1994, with venues in Berlin and Munich, September 1994–June 1995) and was the editor of The Art of Memory (Prestel Verlag, 1994), the catalogue for this exhibition.

In 1997, Professor Young was appointed by the Berlin Senate to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany’s national “Memorial to Europe’s Murdered Jews,” which selected Peter Eisenman’s design, finished and dedicated in May 2005. More recently, he was appointed to the jury for the “National 9/11 Memorial” design competition, won by Michael Arad and Peter Walker in 2004 and opened on September 11, 2011. He has also served as an advisor to the Norwegian government for its July 22 Memorial process, and as a design team member for the Tree of Life Synagogue Memorial, Canada’s National Holocaust Memorial, and the U.K. National Holocaust Memorial, among others.

Professor Young has written widely on public art, memorials, and national memory. His 250 articles, reviews, and opinion essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Book Review, and Op-Ed pages, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Forward, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among other newspapers, as well as in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, New Literary History, PMLA, Partisan Review, The Yale Journal of Criticism, Annales, SAQ, History and Theory, Harvard Design Magazine, Jewish Social Studies, Contemporary Literature, History and Memory, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Prooftexts, The Jewish Quarterly, Tikkun, and Slate, among dozens of other journals and collected volumes. His books and articles have been published in German, French, Hebrew, Japanese, and Swedish editions.

Professor Young is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, ACLS Fellowship, NEH Exhibition planning, implementation, and research grants, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grants, an American Philosophical Society Grant, and a Yad Hanadiv Fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.