- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
He is one of 33 recipients of the 2023 UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Awards.
"Your program selected you for this award due to your excellent service to your graduate program, as well as your positive impact on graduate students and your colleagues," wrote Jean-Pierre Delplanque, vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies, in a congratulatory letter. "We thank you for your investment in advising and mentoring graduate students and contribution to their success."
The nomination letter extolled his contributions: "What sets Louie apart are these three qualities: (1) He is honest to the unique needs and interests of each student. He knows that the diversity of ideas and perspectives fuels scientific progress. He respects each student's unique perspective and interests He gives his students opportunities to view themselves as intellectual colleagues and contributors. (2) He facilitates intellectual independence in his drive to help students transition from being consumers of knowledge to becoming producers of knowledge. (3) He learns from his students. He knows that mentorship is a two-way street."
Another excerpt from the nomination letter: "It is unusual and truly special, to find a mentor that perfectly balances generous, unwavering support with a deep appreciation for his students' independence. His supportive advising style, almost paradoxically, allows his students to develop a high degree of independence and self-motivation."
The recipients of the award include 14 from the College of Letters and Sciences; 7 from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, 5 from the College of Biological Sciences, 6 from the College of Engineering, and one from the School of Medicine. (See news story)
Yang, who received his bachelor's degree in ecology and evolution from Cornell University in 1999, and his doctorate in population biology from UC Davis in 2006, joined the UC Davis faculty in 2009.
He co-directs and mentors students in the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), a campuswide program that he and Professors Jay Rosenheim (now a UC Davis distinguished professor) and Joanna Chiu (now chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology) co-founded in 2011 to help students learn cutting-edge research through close mentoring relationships with faculty. The program crosses numerous biological fields, including population biology; behavior and ecology; biodiversity and evolutionary ecology; agroecology; genetics and molecular biology; biochemistry and physiology; entomology; and cell biology. The goal: to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research.
Professor Yang is the second recipient of the campuswide award from the Department of Entomology and Nematology. Last year Rosenheim, who specializes in insect ecology, received the honor.
Highly honored for his advising and mentoring, Yang earlier received the 2023 Distinction in Student Mentoring Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA), which encompasses 11 Western states, parts of Canada and Mexico, and U.S. territories. He was praised for "being a strong advocate for his students and fostering creative and critical thinking." His other honors include the 2017 Eleanor and Harry Walker Academic Advising Award from CA&ES. In 2018, he received the regional (Pacific Region 9, California, Nevada and Hawaii) Outstanding Faculty Academic Advisor from NACADA, also known as the Global Community for Academic Advising, and then went on to win NACADA's international award for the Outstanding Faculty Academic Advising Award.