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Mentors, Teachers and Students Recognized
at First Graduate Student Community Awards

| June 2, 2008

The Graduate Student Association hosted to the first Graduate Student Community Awards Reception May 21 at the Student Services Center. The event aimed to celebrate the work and achievements of graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners, whose support for graduate and professional students at UCSD has proven indispensable over the past year. Participants included Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Dean of Graduate Studies Kim Barrett, who assisted in the presentation of the awards. Attendees were also treated to a presentation of data from the recent Graduate and Professional Student Experience Survey, which planners hope to use in the coming year to further the growth and sophistication of services for this rapidly growing sector of the campus population. Graduate Student Association officials said they hope to make the awards an annual tradition.

Here is a list of this year’s award recipients, with a brief description of their achievements, provided by Melanie Zauscher, the association’s vice-president of internal affairs.


Faculty Mentorship Award

Ian Everall of the Department of Psychiatry

Everall is a professor of psychiatry, the director of the UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services and one of the top researchers examining the causes and consequences of NeuroAIDS. Despite these prestigious positions and the accompanying demands on his time, he makes a strong commitment to mentoring young investigators, students said.

Richard Madsen of the Department of Sociology

Madsen has been the most open-minded and warm-hearted advisor, students said.  He encouraged one of them to further their career goals and make social change in low-income communities by getting a doctorate in sociology. He gave his students support and foundational knowledge to dispel many of the myths about doctoral programs.

Faculty Graduate Teaching Award

Isaac Martin of the Department of Sociology

Photo of Isaac MartinMartin’s classes are engaging, easy-going and well taught, students said, and he really encourages and supports students in their own intellectual development and research. He manages to give very sharp criticism and provocative suggestions without discouraging them. Martin is a huge asset to UCSD and a fixture at departmental events and workshops, where he is always generous with insightful and helpful comments on how graduate students can improve their research, students said.

Ross Valkanov of the Rady School of Management

Photo of Ross ValkanovValkanov has been instrumental in teaching the complex subject of finance in a very understanding and straight-forward manner, students said. In the process, he supported students’ ideas and initiatives and found time to answer questions. One student wrote that Valkanov has made it possible for them to read and understand The Wall Street Journal — something they didn't think was possible.

Outstanding Graduate Student Support Staff Award

Gayle Aruta of the Department of Communication

Photo of Gayle ArutaAruta deals with every graduate student in her department with warmth, compassion, humor, encouragement and a genuine desire to help. She contributes significantly to the life of the department as a whole, students said. She often helps organize birthday parties, baby showers, memorial services or grad students’ open-mike nights. Students in the department report that she has solved their problems, helped them move, given them rides, taken care of their cats while their were away — in short, provided them with the kind of care and support normally associated with family.

Nadyne Nawar of the Department of History

Nawar has balanced an incredible amount of work due to the recent reorganization of her department's advising structure and a series of staff turnovers. Amidst this stress, she has not only kept her characteristic charm and collectedness, but has also continued to support graduate students in a manner that well-exceeds what is expected of her, students said. For example, Nawar has provided support for students facing a variety of hurdles, including financial issues and navigating departmental degree requirements.

Outstanding Graduate Student Support Alumni Award:

Dana Dahlstrom (M.S. ‘07)

Photo of grad studentsDahlstrom graduated with an master’s degree from UCSD in 2007. During his time on campus, he served two terms as a vice president of Internal Affairs for the Graduate Student Association. Since graduating, he has served as a source of institutional memory, on which the current Executive Committee has come to rely, students said. Undergraduates and graduates alike have come to know of him as an ardent supporter of the campus co-ops and more recently as a staunch defender of student-fee spending.

Graduate Student Award

Garo Bournoutian of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Bournoutian has been a prominent campus figure for the last eight years, first as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student. He was deeply involved in the planning boards for the recently unveiled Price Center East. He is currently serving his third year as chair of the Registration Fee Advisory Committee. He also has held the office of president of the Graduate Student Association, while serving as a graduate student representative on several standing committees of the Academic Senate. His service record also includes participation on a number of search committees, including those for the assistant vice chancellor of Student Life, Revelle provost and the Career Services director.

Sujata Emani of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Emani’s concern with student issues is not confined to the chemistry and biochemistry department. As the vice-president of Graduate Women in Science and Engineering, she has coordinated monthly lunch meetings, speaker events and volunteering activities to encourage intellectual interaction between UCSD science and engineering students. Emani also has been an advocate and a resource for several graduate women, helping them resolve issues with peers and mentors. Also, as an organizer for the $50k Entrepreneurship Competition, she has been in charge of advertising and marketing activities for the Tech Mixers and Speaker events, which help graduate students formulate goals and ideas for technology businesses and entrepreneurship.

Sarah Knoesen of the Department of Political Science

Knoesen exudes warmth and friendliness and goes out of her way to make sure that people feel welcome and comfortable in the department, her fellow students said. Although she is always busy with her own work, she always finds time for others. She is extremely committed to her department and goes above and beyond to make sure that things function smoothly, students said.

Outstanding Graduate Student
Support Community Leader Award

Melody Daversa of Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Daversa has worked with the GSA and other groups of graduate students to provide quality beverages at the lowest possible costs. She has had the patience to navigate the campus alcohol bureaucracy and has stayed a supporter of UCSD graduate students through a tumultuous change of staff at the local California Alcoholic Beverage Control Bureau.

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