Andrew Szeri

Mentoring comes of age at Berkeley

Not all aspects of a dean’s job bring smiles; it’s hardly possible to please everyone all the time.  That said, there are events during the year that irresistibly bring a smile to my face, and make a lot of people … Continued

award winners from 2012 Charter Gala

Google’s Eric Schmidt and two other grad alumni receive high Cal Alumni Association honors

The magnitude of what the faculty and the students did back then still makes Schmidt reflective. “The consequence of our research,” says the self-confessed former nerd, with “our” meaning all those physicists and semiconductor-makers and others, “is that another five billion people will join the global conversation. That’s billion with a b.”

Video Contest Winners

Meet the Winners of the 2012 Distinguished Fellows Video Contest

Meet the winners of the 2012 Distinguished Fellows Video Contest: First Place: Jeremy Chase Crawford. Second Place: Arturo Cortez. Third Place: Kristina Kangas. Winners received conference travel awards in the amounts of $1,000, $500, and $250, respectively.

Saul Perlmutter and family

Perlmutter collects his Nobel

Accompanied by his wife, Laura Nelson, and daughter, Noa, Perlmutter and the other newly named Nobelists, their families, friends and colleagues arrived in Stockholm for the start of festivities on Tuesday, December 6.

images from 2011 ogsi awards event

294 GSIs are celebrated as officially “Outstanding”

Of the many, many GSIs on campus, nearly 300 were singled out as Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors by the Graduate Division’s GSI Center — and 10 GSIs were given special recognition for their innovative solutions to teaching problems.

Steps to success, or how the fellowship was won

Sending in all those applications can pay off, and sometimes we hear about it. Case in point: Ph.D. student Vasundhara Sirnate was selected for a $30,000 award. She tells us how that happened.

OGSI winner celebrating

Outstanding GSIs and their mentors are honored: a quick preview

Outstanding GSIs, and mentors of GSIs, were honored in droves over the past few weeks.  We’ll be saying more, in detail and with pictures, in the near future, but meanwhile here are the categories — at least those which fall under the umbrella of the Graduate Division (and, in one case, its partner, the Graduate Assembly).

Einhorn, Geissler, and Puckett are officially Distinguished

The Berkeley campus’s most prestigious award for teaching, the Distinguished Teaching Award is intended to encourage and recognize individual excellence in that endeavor. This year, the recipients were
 Robin Einhorn of professor of history, Phillip Geissler associate professor of chemistry (whose 2000 Ph.D. is from Berkeley), and
 Kent Puckett, associate professor of English.

Ken Thompson

Impatience helped produce Unix — and, eventually, some big honors

It only took 40-some years, but Unix pioneers Ken Thompson (a Berkeley alum) and Dennis Ritchie have waited — and continued to breathe — long enough to receive a major international honor for their creation. They were announced in January as 2011 recipients of the Japan Prize.

Reminder: to honor your mentors, nominate them now!

Every year, the Graduate Division and the Graduate Assembly team up to call public attention to the exemplary and caring assistance individual faculty members have provided, above and beyond the call of duty, to their students. As the culmination of … Continued

Una Fellowship

A duo of recipients for Una’s Fellowship

At the Faculty Club in November, two quiet ceremonies took place on different evenings, virtually out of the campus eye, but united by history and an unusual item of neckware. Each marked the presentation of the Una Fellowship, given to an outstanding woman graduate student in the field of history to “foster the spirit of inquiry and individuality” so characteristic of the woman for whom the fellowship is named, Una Smith Ross.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann

The head of UCSF, a Cal alum, is named in a fierce Top Ten list

The chancellor of UC-San Francisco since mid-2009, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a Berkeley alumna (M.P.H.’88) who already has a passel of distinctions, has been named by the daily industry newsletter Fierce Biotech as one of the Top Ten Women in Biotech.

Emmanuel Saez, Economist

Two more “geniuses” for Berkeley

Thanks to two young faculty members — and, of course, the MacArthur Foundation — the already-sizeable total of active Berkeley campus MacArthur “genius” Fellows grew to 32 at the end of September.

E-Skin

Threesomes get noticed

Two trios of grad students made the news recently, not for their trinity but for the interesting work they’ve been doing in very different fields. Three journalism students each made 26-minute documentaries as their master’s theses, and all three were … Continued

Steven Chu

Berkeley tops the list of new DOE Graduate Fellowships recipients

With 19 out of 150 fellowships awarded — over an eighth of the total, more than any other university — UC Berkeley welcomes the lion’s share of students in energy studies across its college and departments who will be studying here for up to three years, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Karl Brown

Energy-efficiency expert (and grad alum) Karl Brown is a champ

An instrument box mounted in the depths of a campus classroom and office building is hardly a headline-grabbing weapon against climate change. But because buildings are estimated to be responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse-gas emissions, cutting-edge monitoring systems … Continued

More than 270 GSIs are singled out for the quality of their teaching

276 GSIs from 61 graduate programs were granted this recognition, which is now just over a decade old. The award recognizes the excellence of their teaching. Selections are made according to detailed guidelines, following criteria which may include skills in presenting course materials, capacity to promote critical thinking, and skills in developing course materials that promote learning, as well as evidence such as evaluations by students, letters of nomination by faculty or students, and classroom observation by faculty.

Creative—and effective—solutions win honors for 11 GSIs

The Graduate Division’s Teaching Effectiveness Awards were presented May 13 in the Women’s Faculty Club. The winners identified a teaching/learning problem in their own classes, laboratories, and sections, then came up with a method, strategy, or idea to address the problem, implemented it, measured its effectiveness, and described the process in an essay. Their essays become part of a permanent archive.

Three grad alumni are among 2010′s Cal Alumni Association honorees

Each spring the Cal Alumni Association celebrates the University of California birthday — the anniversary of its founding — with a traditional banquet known as the Charter Gala. This year’s event took place April 24 in San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building. The 2010 award recipients include three alumni with Cal graduate degrees.

Walter Wood

A Berkeley prof will use the sun to power student housing in Buffalo, N.Y.

Walter Hood recently won a public art competition to design a planned solar energy array at the North Campus of the University of Buffalo in New York. Hood, a 20-year member of Berkeley’s landscape architecture faculty, earned two graduate degrees here (M.L.A. ’89, and M. Arch. ’89).

2009 Sarlo Award

Two Superb Mentors Get Their Due at Berkeley

For the last three years, there’s been a new way to honor faculty mentors at Berkeley. Called the Sarlo Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award, it honors faculty for all the ways they help graduate students — not only in research, … Continued

Berkeley Trio turns Algae into Fuel and Money

At least once or twice a year, you can happen upon David Charron’s “Case Studies in Entrepreneurship” course in the Haas School of Business. In this class, students are confronted with a case study of the early days of a … Continued

Carol Grieder at Nobel ceremony

Graduate Work at Cal Pays Off with a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine

What she could not know for sure, back then as a 25-year-old grad student, was that this discovery would win her — and her mentor, Elizabeth Blackburn, now at UCSF — a Nobel Prize. … When Greider was in the market for a graduate program, after earning her B.A. at UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley was in her final two choices, narrowed not for the usual reasons, but because those were the ones that would have her.

Valerie Garcia Houts M.B.A. ’99

An evening MBA in the limelight

On Wall Street, a national magazine for retail brokers and the financial services industry, has named Valerie Garcia Houts M.B.A. ’99 to its annual list of “Top 40 Advisors Under 40.”

Paul Tilberg

Engineering grad student wins $250,000 fellowship

What would you do if you were handed a $250,000 award for graduate studies with no strings attached? Paul Tillberg, a Berkeley grad student in electrical engineering and materials science and engineering, is about to find out.

Arun Sarin

A knighthood for Berkeley alumnus Arun Sarin

When the British Foreign Office announced spring honors for 2010 it listed all the specific awards the Queen “was graciously pleased to approve.” They included, in “The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division),” the name Arun Sarin, “for services to the communication industry.” Born in central India, Sarin has two 1978 master’s degrees from Berkeley, one an M.B.A. and the other in material sciences and engineering.

More honors for Chemistry’s high-climbing Arlene Blum

Biochemist and mountaineer Arlene Blum Ph.D. ’71, who won the $100,000 Purpose Prize late last year for mobilizing society to protect its members by reducing toxic chemicals, has received still more honors in 2009, and the year isn’t even half … Continued

Chancellor Birgeneau and Moira Pérez (above left). Marilyn Seid-Rabinow (above right).

Two from Grad Division are honored for ‘going beyond’

In mid-April, atop Barrows Hall, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau honored three teams and 22 individuals with the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award, nicknamed COSA. He praised all for going beyond the call of duty, especially in these financially difficult times, not just … Continued

NAS

The NAS picks six from Berkeley in its crop of new members

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of America’s most prestigious societies of scholars engaged in science and engineering research, at the end of April announced its election of 72 members, six of whom are Berkeley researchers.

Sarlo and FMA Winners from 2009

Heaping honors on the highly helpful

The Graduate Division, which oversees graduate education at Berkeley, and the Graduate Assembly, the grad students’ government, are making up for lost time. For decades, the campus did little to reward the vital role many faculty members play as mentors to their students. Countering that non-trend, the two groups have joined forces for the third year in a row, presenting their own faculty honors in a combined ceremony.

What makes the wheel go around

When I was a graduate student, I was a teaching assistant (more than once) for a very inspiring mentor, a man named Manos Vakalo. His teams of teaching assistants had remarkable autonomy. He never questioned a grade we gave, and he always treated us as respected equals. In retrospect, we could be dumb at times; I remember bringing beer to a critique for our undergraduates, and Manos simply raising an eyebrow in reprimand. That, however, was enough. He had remarkable expressions, every one of which I think I could still imitate perfectly today, nearly 20 years later.

Pulling all-nighters, buying pizza, dressing up as Darwin…

As a GSI for Finance (BA 103) and Managerial Accounting (BA 102B), William “Willy” Wong, MBA ’05, would offer “numerous review sessions and have 12-hour-long office-hour visits,” wrote one of the 37 student who nominated him for heroic status. Another singled out the “large packets of material [he prepared] to help us learn the subject matter, which must have taken him many hours each time” — packets that “if compiled fully, will rival the class textbooks,” said another admirer. When one student was having trouble obtaining internships, Wong gave him advice, then offered to look over his résumé, as he did for several others. And his 24/7 help was nondiscriminating: roughly half of the 37 survey respondents admitted that they were not even enrolled in one of his sections.