Chemistry and Biochemistry
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Environmental Studies
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Statistics and Applied Probability


Established by the Office of the President of the University of California, these awards provide recognition to graduating seniors and a faculty member who have distinguished themselves through their excellence in and contribution to undergraduate research.

Alon Chapovetsky

CHANCELLOR’S AWARD FOR UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHAlon conducted research in the lab of Associate Professor Trevor Hayton, involving the synthesis of new metal ketimide complexes, which are being investigated as precursors for high-oxidation state materials. His aptitude for inorganic synthesis with metal complexes and strong work ethic have allowed Alon to make significant contributions to the research group.  Professor Hayton credits Alon’s keen observation skills of a seemingly failed reaction with launching an important new experimental endeavor on metallic bonds. He says “without Alon’s critical eye we would have missed the chance to characterize a molecule and perhaps not discovered a unique class of materials.”

Professor Hayton states that Alon is working essentially at the level of a third year graduate student and that in fact the graduate students in the group consider Alon to be one of their peers.  This is not just talk.  Evidence of Alon’s research success can be found among the pages of prestigious chemistry journals, two of which have published peer-reviewed articles that Alon co-authored. To have two published papers in industry journals is highly unusual for an undergraduate researcher and reveals an ability to perform research at the highest level. 

In addition to the 20 hours a week Alon dedicated to his research—and somehow found time to study Art History— he was also awarded the Research Internship in Science and Engineering fellowship from the UC Santa Barbara Materials Department for three consecutive quarters in 2011 and 2012. Alon was president of the campus chemistry club during his freshman year and completed two summer internships in Silicon Valley.

Alon plans to continue studying inorganic synthesis, and this fall he will begin the doctoral program in chemistry at the University of Southern California.


Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a College of Letters and Science honors student majoring in the sciences, in memory of Frances M. Colville, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1955-64), and Terry H. Dearborn, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1940-64).

Daniel Phillips

FRANCES COLVILLE AND TERRY DEARBORN MEMORIAL AWARDIn Winter Quarter Daniel completed the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Geography, graduating with Highest Honors, College Honors, Distinction in the Major, and a 4.0 GPA that included almost as many A+'s (19)  as A's (20) .

A Regent's Scholar, Daniel gained the attention of his Geography professors early as the highest-scoring academic performer, being invited as a freshman to work with Professor Daniel Montello's research in analytic human geography.  Because his contribution to the intellectual direction of the project was so substantial, Daniel was included as third author (behind two professors) on the manuscript currently under review at the journal Cognitive Science.  Daniel's assistance with Professor David Lopez-Carr's work led to him being second author for a publication in the Encyclopedia of Migration, with the research on place utility being expanded into an article for publication.   And Daniel's own research analyzing human cognitive understanding and spatial properties estimation became his Senior Thesis and is currently being revised for publication.   Given that it is impressive for an undergraduate to have one published work, Daniel's multiple credits and possibilities are quite remarkable.             

Daniel made an equally strong commitment to service and community activities while at UCSB.  He was an active member of the Geographic Honor Society Gamma Theta Upsilon; tutored fifth-graders and student athletes; applied his learning to create a map of food need for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County; and was involved with fundraising and volunteer projects with the campus Real Life Community. Daniel's work wasn't limited by physical geography either. In Summer 2012, he traveled to the Czech Republic to work at an English-language learning camp for high school students.

As Professor Montello states it, Daniel's "performance on class work, research projects, and service and community activities has been nothing short of stellar."

Daniel spent Fall 2012 on the east coast with the UCDC Program, where he interned at the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the largest professional organization for geographic researchers in the world. Now that he has graduated, Daniel will be returning to Washington, DC, to work at AAG and ultimately attend graduate school in Geography.


The College of Letters and Sceince Dean's Award recognizes outstanding scholarship and contributions to the campus community by a graduating senior

Alanna Peebles

DANIEL G. ALDRICH, JR. OUTSTANDING SENIOR AWARDAlanna graduates today with a BA in Psychology. She does so with Highest Honors, Distinction in the Major, and a 4.0 GPA.  Not just any 4.0, Alanna earned 22 A+’s.  She spent a full year on the UC Education Abroad Program in Lyon [lee-OHN], France, taking all her coursework in a second language.  Alanna credits that experience with influencing the topic of her senior honors thesis – which examines the effectiveness of multimedia instructional materials for second-language learners.

She was a research assistant in Professor Nancy Collins’ social psychology lab, spent a summer internship in a UC San Francisco psycho-physiology lab, and, supported by an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Grant, Alanna developed a theory-based honors research plan under the direction of psychology Prof Rich Mayer (MAY er,  not MIE er) who states that, “Based on my 37+ years on the faculty at UCSB, I would rank Alanna at the very top of undergraduates I have known in terms of demonstrated record of academic achievement and research excellence.” The Department recognized her with the Morgan Award for Research Promise in Psychology.

Alanna has been active with Residence and Community Living since her freshman year, ultimately serving as Chapter President of the National Residence Hall Honorary, earning local and regional awards for her work.  Whether helping to rebuild homes in post-Katrina New Orleans, tutoring at a local elementary school, serving as Campus Ambassador to new students, or speaking at regional receptions and recruiting other talented and high achieving students to UC Santa Barbara, Alanna has combined community service with academic rigor and creativity as an exemplar of what UC Santa Barbara hopes to accomplish in fulfilling its teaching and public service mission.

In the fall Alanna will begin the Doctoral Program in Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with fellowship.



Leah Foltz

STUDENT COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERLeah completed the requirements for the BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in winter quarter, but has remained on campus tutoring and continuing her research. 

Leah has successfully balanced studying, volunteer work, and lab research.  Since her freshman year she has volunteered with Adventures in Caring, a student service group that supports community health organizations, and during her senior year Leah worked at CLAS as a tutor in general chemistry, helping other students to master that important subject.  For the past two years Leah has worked in the biomolecular lab of Professor Cherie Briggs, and is graduating with distinction in the major partly based on individual research conducted in that lab. Her main project has been using microsatellite analysis to examine population genetics of frog species in the Sierras.  Last summer Leah earned the Worster Award, allowing her to work full time on this research.

This summer, Leah will travel with the UCSB Alumni Association, before beginning the PhD program in Biomolecular Science and Engineering here at UCSB.




Daniel Mena-Martinez

STUDENT COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERDaniel completed the requirements for the B.S. in Actuarial Sciences from the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability.  He attained a 3.8 GPA, completed a summer internship with the California Department of Insurance, has been involved in a Master’s level research project working to predict future health care costs, was recognized with the top statistics student award by the Department, and was awarded the 2012 Actuarial Diversity Scholarship from the The Actuarial Foundation.  Daniel is the first UCSB student to earn this national honor and was one of only 8 recipients nationally.

Daniel has been active in assisting his fellow students, both through the Actuary Club and through Residential and Community Living. The Actuary Club, of which Daniel is Vice President, not only serves as a study group through which students prepare themselves for the rigorous actuarial exams, but also helps build a professional support network that has been useful to students in gaining employment after graduation.  Daniel has been involved all three years in Residence Life, ultimately serving as Resident Assistant in Santa Catalina.  Having grown up in a non-English speaking household, Daniel used his experiences to develop programs that assisted other UCSB students in their adjustment to college life.

Daniel has extended his support to newly admitted students as well.  During the UCSB regional reception in San Jose, California, he participated in a Letters and Science panel fielding questions from newly admitted students and their parents.  He also assisted with Spring Insight, which opens the campus to prospective students so that they may feel prepared to make the most of their time at UCSB.

Following graduation Daniel will work as an actuarial associate with Fidelity Investments in San Francisco.