- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Now, in a scenario turned full circle, Guggenbickler is drawing appreciation from students and faculty for her own “incredible support.”
Guggenbickler, staff academic advisor of the GDB program since June 2019, is the newly selected staff recipient of the 2020 Eleanor and Harry Walker Academic Advising Awards, announced Susan Ebeler, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES).
Guggenbickler coordinates a 400-student program that includes course scheduling, faculty and instructional reports, statistical analysis of the major, and individual advising sessions.
“Andrea has made such a positive impact on student success in the GDB major,” said Ebeler. “She has created innovative materials for incoming GDB students to support their remote advising experience and she is dedicated to student welfare and ensuring that the basic needs of every student are met.”
Nominator David Rizzo, professor and chair of the Department of Plant Pathology, described Andrea “as a huge part of the development of the relatively new Global Disease Biology major at UC Davis. Since becoming a GDB major, she has played many different roles in the major.”
“Although she has been a staff advisor for a only a short period of time, Andrea has had a tremendous impact on the major,” wrote Rizzo in his nomination letter. Praising her leadership, dedication, communication skills and problem-solving expertise, he characterized her as a “truly a caring advisor” and someone with “an excellent sense of the needs of our students in order for them to be successful in the major.”
The Walker Academic Advising Awards recognize faculty, staff, and peer advisors who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in academic advising for CA&ES academic programs.
The 2020 recipients also include Jim Fadel, faculty master advisor, Department of Animal Science and Management; and Kiara Cuevas, peer advisor for Agricultural and Environmental Education, Animal Science, and Animal Science and Management.
CA&ES is postponing a reception honoring the award winners “until later in the summer or fall when we can hopefully all meet together again in person,” Ebeler said.
“It's so nice to see our hardworking advisors being recognized college-wide,” said Nora Orozco, chief administrative officer serving both departments. Last year Elvira Galvan Hack, staff advisor for animal biology (ABI), received the Walker staff award and forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey received the faculty master advisor award. They went on to win regional and international advising awards from NACADA, the global community for academic advising.
Guggenbickler formerly served as an academic advising assistant to the animal biology and entomology majors, both housed in the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“One of the main ways I've tried to make a difference in our advising center is to create our student pantry,” Andrea said. “We provide healthy, easily accessible, snacks and on-the-go food and drinks for students. Food insecurity can be a huge issue for students, and we have done our best to mitigate that barrier for them. The pantry is open to everyone, and we have gotten some really great feedback from students who have said that it has really helped them. Getting that feedback and tangibly making a difference has been by far one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
Her favorite part of being an advisor? “Watching students succeed. I've been with the program in some capacity since 2017, so I've seen a lot of students come through the office. I make an effort to meet with every student at least once per year, and it is amazing seeing them grow, conquer obstacles, excel in coursework, graduate, and move on to their next adventure.”
“Advisors have a really unique opportunity to touch a lot of lives in a meaningful way,” Andrea said. “I can only hope that in my time as an advisor at UC Davis that I've been able to create a positive change in the lives of others the same way that my students have made a positive change in my life. As I move on to my next adventure as a master of public health student I will take with me the lessons my students have taught me: the importance of equity, advocacy, belief in oneself, and perseverance. I am thankful to the advising community in the College of Ag for creating a space in which advisors are able to make a difference for students while also growing themselves.”
Guggenbickler grew up in Ferndale, Humboldt County, and now lives in Woodland with her fiancé, Tyler Baum, an associate veterinarian at Broadway Veterinary Hospital, Sacramento. Baum, a “double” UC Davis alumnus, holds a bachelor's degree in animal science and a DVM from the School of Veterinary Medicine. They share their home with three UC Davis-connected cats: “Butters,” “Toast” and “Dr. Professor Stripey Pants.”
"We got Butters and Stripey (they are brothers) from the Orphan Kitten Project run through the Vet School," she said, "and we got Toast from a shelter when Tyler did a shelter medicine rotation--and he fell in love with her and brought her home."
The couple purposely selected "breakfast names" for Butters, a light orange tabby and Toast, a black and white feline, but they couldn't bear to change the name of Dr. Professor Stripey Pants, a gray tabby ("it was too perfect").
Her career plans? “My career plans are to complete my master's degree in public health, and hopefully pursue my Ph.D in public health. After that I would love to dive into public health research and advocacy for women and minority health. Ideally, in the future, I would like to do some teaching at the collegiate level.”
Rizzo says that GDB is now the fifth largest major in the CA&ES, but it still maintains the “small-college” feel. Among Andrea's many accomplishments: modifying and expanding the department's professional development modules. “Over the holiday break, she developed a series of orientation modules (seven in total) within Canvas,” he wrote. “All in all, the whole project is amazing. And it was done without dropping the ball with any of her traditional advising.”
As a facilitator with First-Year Aggie Connections, Guggenbickler mentors students as they navigate their first-year experience. She created a 10-week course on professional development that encompasses such topics as “how to read a scientific paper” and “how to create a resume.”
In a group letter, GDB students Austin Dalmasso, Bianca Arao and Brandon Nguyen, all who worked as either peer mentors or peer advisors, praised her dedication and accomplishments.
“As the academic advisor, she communicates efficiently with students when they need to speak to her regarding urgent or sensitive circumstances, and when she is with students, she is attentive and sensible to any situations that may need care beyond her scope,” they wrote. “Andrea cares about her students and wants to equip them for success in their future endeavors.”
“Throughout all of the responsibilities that govern an academic advisor's role, Andrea is always looking for novel ways to improve student advising,” they wrote. “As students, we look back on our own informative orientations, and praise Andrea for making this year's orientation user-friendly.”
“From the countless interactions we have shared with Andrea, we are grateful that she always puts it upon herself to be an open crisis line. Andrea is genuinely supportive of our successes as students, and continues to be a comforting figure we greatly appreciate. It is Andrea's nurturing character that we want to honor and showcase to the UC Davis community.”
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
De los Santos, 45, joined the UC Davis administration in July 2015 following a 22-year military career.
“Faculty, staff and students in the Department of Entomology and Nematology are deeply saddened by the death of Chris John de los Santos,” said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. “Chris had been with us for a short period of time, but he was already making some profound changes in how the department was managed. Chris was a disciplined, critical thinker and his strength was in developing strategic and business plans – areas where there was a real need in the department.”
“Chris was liked and respected by all associated with the Phoenix Cluster,” Parrella said. “Chris put the Department of Entomology and Nematology on a trajectory that will make us better in the research, teaching and outreach that we do. We will continue to follow the path that he has laid out for us. We will never forget his contributions. Our condolences go out to his family as they try and cope with this tragic loss.”
A remembrance will be held at a later date, Parrella said.
Said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, professor of entomology and former interim chair of the department: “Chris had terrific management and leadership skills. He was the kind of person everyone liked to work with, personable yet business-like.”
“Chris made amazing contributions to the department in a very short period of time,” said Executive Committee member Larry Godfrey, Extension entomologist. “He had many strengths but the two I was most impressed with were his ability to analyze situations and make logical, thoughtful recommendations and his propensity to want to contribute to the betterment of humankind. He often stated that he enjoyed working in the department and at UC Davis because he was confident we were making a difference in people's lives. Although not a person to ‘accept credit,' Chris clearly contributed to this mission of the department.”
“During his short time in the department, Chris was already making important contributions and bringing a high level of professionalism and strategic thinking to our efforts,” said entomology professor and Executive Committee member Jay Rosenheim.
“Chris radiated integrity, decency and respect,” said James R. Carey, distinguished professor of entomology. “He was one of the most progressive and responsive staff members whom I had the pleasure to know in my 35 years at UC Davis.”
At UC Davis, de los Santos managed the two departments' budgets, encompassing a total of $30.5 million, including federal and state monies, and 450 personnel. He provided leadership, oversight and management for the Phoenix Cluster. He administered or oversaw the areas of business and finance, extensive contract and grant administration, academic and staff human resources, teaching and instructional support, information technology, space utilization, and research and teaching laboratory support needs.
An accomplished military veteran with more than 22 years of extensive logistics experience in the Department of Defense, de los Santos moved to Davis with his family after serving as executive director/commander of the 673rd Logistics Readiness Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, where he led a workforce of 575 with a $12 million budget in support of the Department of Defense's sole joint base logistics group.
He was known as a proven leader, team player, mentor and motivator with the ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects, delivered on time and exceeding expectations. He served in major leadership roles at his tours of duty in Anchorage, Alaska; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Monica, Calif.; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and also at the Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, U.S. Embassy, Sultanate of Oman; and at the Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, among others.
De los Santos received his bachelor's degree in marine transportation in 1992 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.; his master of science degree in international relations, Troy State University, Troy, Ala. in 1998; and his master degree in military operational art and science from Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 2006. His career also included serving as an assistant professor of aerospace studies at the University of Portland, Ore., from 1998 to 2000.
During his military career, de los Santos directed distribution management, matériel management, contingency operations, fuels management, airlift operations, and vehicle management. He planned and programmed logistics support for wartime requirements and led workforce development for the Logistics Readiness Officer (LRO) career field.