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Female Researchers Receive Awards for Their Exemplary Research, Achievements

March 14, 2023
Female UC Merced researchers take home impressive awards already this year.
Female UC Merced researchers take home impressive awards already this year.

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate and reflect upon the achievements of women at UC Merced and beyond.

2023 is already shaping up to be a stellar year for female faculty members on campus. In just the first couple of months, Public Relations has learned about seven female faculty members who have received major awards.

  • Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, a soil biogeochemist, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for her research into climate change and soil sequestration. She was chosen for her “understanding of soil carbon cycling and sequestration as related to land use and climate change,” the NAE said. Berhe is on leave from the School of Natural Sciences while she serves as federal director of the Office of Science for the Department of Energy.

  • The Cognitive Science Society has awarded School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts founding Professor Teenie Matlock the Jeffrey L. Elman Prize for Scientific Achievement and Community Building. The annual Elman Prize “is given to cognitive scientists whose accomplishments exemplify the twin strands of scientific excellence and commitment to community-building and service that were so evident in Jeff Elman’s career.”

  • Cognitive and Information Sciences Professor Lace Padilla in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts has been named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science for her groundbreaking research on how people make decisions using data visualizations.

  • Professor Rebecca Ryals has made campus history, becoming the first UC Presidential Chair in Climate Change. Her archeology research with the School of Natural Sciences is based around organic soil amendments as environmental and sustainable food-production solutions.

  • Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development Gillian Wilson has been named a 2023 American Astronomical Society Fellow. Wilson was named a fellow for her “pioneering innovative techniques and significant contributions to interpreting the fundamental physics of galaxy clusters, massive galaxies, and cosmology; as well as for exceptional leadership in research administration, broadening participation and outreach.”

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized Professor Stephanie Woo from the School of Natural Sciences with the CAREER award. She is the 32nd researcher from UC Merced to earn the prestigious recognition given through NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program to recognize untenured faculty members as teacher-scholars.

  • Special Assistant to the Chancellor and sociology Professor Marjorie Zatz has been elected to the 2022 class of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — the first social scientist from UC Merced to be elected an AAAS fellow. She was elected for her “distinguished contributions to research on social inequality and disparate impacts, notable advancements to knowledge related to immigration policy, and leadership roles in higher education and mentoring the next generations.”

The UC Merced PR Department is always looking to spotlight faculty, staff and students. Please share awards and achievements online.

Brenda Ortiz

Senior Public Information Representative

Office: (209) 228-4203

Mobile: (209) 628-8263