- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
DAVIS--Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, is the recipient of the top award in the service category of the UC Davis Staff Assembly's Citation for Excellence Program. She will be honored by the chancellor at a ceremony on June 26.
Yang, who joined the Bohart Museum nine years ago, coordinates museum tours, classroom visits, special weekend hours, summer camp programs, and other outreach activities that connect science and scientists with the public. She collaborates with interns, undergraduates, staff, graduate students and faculty to accomplish the outreach program.
Stacey Brezing, chair of the UC Davis Staff Assembly Citations of Excellence Committee, wrote to Yang: “It gives me great pleasure to notify you that you have been selected as the top selection for this category, the committee was greatly impressed with your work."
Yang will receive a cash prize of $1000 as a “gesture of appreciation for your contribution to the campus community,” Brezing said.
Nominations for the service award are based on achievements such as fostering engagement and inclusion in campus community, leadership, and volunteerism.
Yang was nominated, confidentially, by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum, and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist for the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
They wrote: “Our nominee is a treasure, a one-of-a-kind gem and an all-around ambassador who exemplifies all that is good and great about UC Davis. A friendly and caring person who joined the campus museum workforce in 2009, she makes all of us feel needed, wanted, and appreciated as if we were ‘Person of the Year.' Throughout the year, she engages more than 20,000 children, families, students, faculty and staff who visit the museum or attend her science outreach programs. She enthusiastically and freely gives of her time to plan and participate in weekend open houses. She co-founded the annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day six years ago, which this year drew 12 participating museums and an attendance of 3000. This year she chaired the committee.
“Five years ago, she launched an annual summer camp for children that is so popular it draws youths from around the nation, resulting in multiple camps and waiting lists. She helps coordinate the UC Davis Picnic Day activities in the museum, engaging more than 3500 excited and enthusiastic visitors. At the Solano County Ag Day, she shared scientific information with 3000 youngsters over a four-hour period, always smiling and genuinely interested in each person.
“Our nominee is kind, caring, thoughtful and never without a smile or a word of encouragement. She strongly believes in inclusion. For example, she wears a safety pin, a way of showing that she is a safe space for those who are afraid. She shows she is in solidarity with victims of racism, homophobia and religious discrimination and will protect everyone who feels in danger, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, disability or religion. 'You are safe with me!'
“We watched her lead a tour of children of migratory workers, educating them about what could be a lifelong interest or their occupation. ‘You can be anything you want to be. You can do this! We know you can!' She can reach the shyest of the shy.
“One volunteer at the museum says ‘Wherever I go, her name is legendary. People just rave about her and her work.' Said another: ‘She is one of the most patient, outgoing individuals I know who loves to teach and share information.'
“Said her supervisor: ‘She has greatly expanded our outreach programs, participating in Solano County Youth Ag Day, and many other STEM programs offered at libraries, schools and county facilities. She gives science outreach programs to about 15,000 adults and children every year. She is particularly good at working with groups of children and maintaining discipline at the same time as engaging them in the topic, so that everyone can see, hear and learn. We always request an evaluation from groups she talks to and they always rave about her presentations.'
“In summary, our nominee's exemplary service, high morale, encouragement, passion and inclusion are a treasure-trove of qualities that single her out as the gem she is.
The Staff Assembly's annual Citations for Excellence Awards Program provides recognition for individual staff and staff teams who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in one of the following areas: teaching, research, service, supervision and innovation. There is also a team award for campus community contributions and service. Teams include project or program staff, office staff, or other similar groups.
The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.