2017 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni

The Division of Graduate Studies and the five academic divisions—Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences—honored the recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Award on Saturday, April 29, of Alumni Weekend 2017 at the UCSC Café Ivéta at an award luncheon. Read UCSC News about the honorees here. The five 2017 graduate student alumni honorees and the academic divisions they represent are:


Claudio CampagnaClaudio Campagna
Ph.D. Biology ’87
Physical and Biological Sciences Division

Conservation Biologist
Wildlife Conservation Society

Adjunct Professor and Research Associate
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
UC Santa Cruz

Introducer: Burney Le Boeuf, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Prior to attending UCSC for his Ph.D. in biology, Dr. Campagna received his M.D. from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and practiced medicine. His role with Argentina’s Wildlife Conservation Society involves field conservation and animal behavior work, for which he received a Pew Fellowship. Campagna founded the Forum of NGOs for the conservation of the Patagonian Sea and collaborates with the IUCN Species Survival Commission. To promote conservation, he has published extensively in scientific journals and written books for adults and children, including Diario del hombre que piensa el agua (2011). He has also begun a project with Daniel Guevara, a philosophy professor, on the language of conservation and inscribed in the Center for Public Philosophy at UCSC.


Dan HellerDan Heller
M.F.A. Digital Arts and New Media ’13
B.S. Computer Science ’85
Arts Division

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board
Two Pore Guys

Introducer: Warren Sack, Professor of Film and Digital Media

Dan Heller began his entrepreneurial endeavors in tech in the 1980s with the first commercial internet email system. In 2010, he founded UCSC’s Center for Entrepreneurship, an academic degree program for students to work with professors on publicly funded research and create a business from it. The Center for Entrepreneurship, or C4E, (now the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development, or CIED) focused on intellectual property being developed in biotechnology, computer software, social media, and other technology in the Baskin School of Engineering, the academic division where C4E was located until 2015. (CIED is now in the Division of Graduate Studies.)


Betsy HerbertBetsy Herbert
Ph.D. Environmental Studies ’04
Social Sciences Division

Former science writer, Earth Matters column
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Introducer: Daniel Press, Olga T. Griswold Professor of Environmental Studies

At the time of receiving this award, Dr. Herbert wrote for the Earth Matters column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, chaired the Science Advisory Panel of the Sempervirens Fund, the oldest land trust in California, and served on the boards of the Santa Cruz Mountains Bioregional Council and the Center for Farmworker Families. Also formerly, she served as environmental programs director for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. In that position, she oversaw watershed management, greenhouse gas emissions tracking, and environmental grants. In 2005, she received the Switzer Leadership Award for acting as community liaison of Felton to California American Water and helping the citizens purchase its water system from the company in 2008. As of 2018, Dr. Herbert resides in Corvallis, Oregon.


Adam SiepelAdam Siepel
Ph.D. Computer Science ’05
Baskin School of Engineering

Associate Director
Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics (3CPG)

Faculty Advisor for Information Technology
Life Sciences Core Laboratories Center
Cornell University

Watson School of Biological Sciences
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Introducer: David Haussler, Scientific Director, UCSC Genomics Institute

In addition to his numerous titles and positions at Cornell University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Dr. Adam Siepel chairs the Simons Center for Quantitative Biology at CSHL. With his background in computer science, Dr. Siepel has transitioned into bioinformatics to work in molecular evolution, comparative genomics, human population genetics, and transcriptional regulation. From 2006 to 2014, he served as associate professor of biological statistics and computational biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. His work has also earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, Packard Fellowship, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and Sloan Research Fellowship.


Emily Sloan-PaceEmily Sloan-Pace
Ph.D. Literature ’12
Humanities Division

Zoho Corporation

Introducer: Deanna Shemek, Professor and Chair of the Literature Department, UCSC

Post-graduation, Dr. Emily Sloan-Pace worked for her graduate school alma mater, UCSC, as an instructor in the Literature Department and for Cowell and Stevenson Colleges. She remains an instructor of literature and English writing and communication but at Zoho Corporation, a cloud computing company based in Chennai, India. Her position involves frequent trips to India to teach Zoho employees customer support and marketing communication and Shakespeare!


Scenes from the 1st Annual Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Award Luncheon
April 29, 2017
UCSC Café Ivéta

Tyrus Miller, vice provost and dean of the Division of Graduate Studies, welcomes everyone

Chancellor George Blumenthal welcomes everyoneTyrus Miller (left), vice provost and dean of the Division of Graduate Studies, and Chancellor George Blumenthal (right) welcome the honorees, their introducers, and current graduate student leaders to the 1st annual Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Award Luncheon.



Daniel Press introduces Betsy HerbertDaniel Press receives an embrace from Betsy HerbertBetsy Herbert accepts the award for the Social Sciences DivisionDaniel Press (left), Olga T. Griswold Professor of Environmental Studies, introduces the Social Sciences Division honoree, Betsy Herbert (right).



 deanna-shemek-introduces-emily-sloan-pace-221x157.jpgEmily Sloan-Pace accepts award for the Humanities Divisiondeanna-shemek-and-emily-sloan-pace-embrace-243x157.jpg

Deanna Shemek (above left), professor and chair of the Literature Department, introduces the Humanities Division honoree, Emily Sloan-Pace (above right).


warren-sack-introduces-dan-heller-177x157.jpgDan Heller accepts the award for the Arts DivisionWarren Sack (left), professor of film and digital media, introduces the Arts Division honoree, Dan Heller (right).





Burney Le Boeuf introduces Claudio CampagnaClaudio Campagna accepts the award for the Physical and Biological Sciences Division

Burney Le Boeuf (left), Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, introduces the Physical and Biological Sciences Division honoree, Claudio Campagna (right).




David Haussler introduces Adam SiepelAdam Siepel accepts the award for the Baskin School of EngineeringDavid Haussler (left), scientific director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, introduces the Baskin School of Engineering honoree, Adam Siepel (right).




Annieglass engraved gift platters for the honoreesEach honoree received an Annieglass platter engraved with his or her name, the title of the award, the awarding academic division and the Division of Graduate Studies, and the date.