- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
“Elvira proves to be indispensable to our student population, being a source of morale, care and resources, said Striley, co-chair of the Staff Assembly's Citations of Excellence Committee. “For the confused or troubled students, she is first and last resort for solution of problems not only of academic or administrative kind but those of a deeply personal nature as well. Elvira has been invaluable as a student advisor.”
Hack won an award in the highly competitive Individual Service Award category. The annual program singles out outstanding staff for their exemplary work in one of four areas: innovation, research, supervision and service. They all receive monetary prizes and certificates.
Lusa Papagni, assistant director of Student Housing and Dining Services, won the Individual Service Award. Hack, a student academic advisor II, received an honorable mention along with Jaqueline Dyson, administrative assistant III in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
The animal biology program is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgy.
Hexter commented that often universities describe “faculty achievement as something like the sun at the center of their institutional universe.” Their achievements, he said, are “the most recognizable sign of our excellence in the public eye.”
“It appears as if staff do their work on the dark side of the moon,” he quipped.
“But those of you who hold a staff position or work with staff know very well this is an incomplete picture of what makes a university great, including ours,” Hexter said, adding that "staff at all levels and in all departments are key to advancing institutional excellence, impact and reputation."
“You provide essential guidance for programs, policies and processes,” Hexter told them. “You are in front lines of taking all of these programs, policies and processes from idea to reality and also making sure they work effectively and efficiently. “
Lauding their passion, expertise.professionalism, "steadfast commitment and very hard work," Hexter praised them for their support of students, faculty and leadership and their drive to work efficiently and effectively. “You play a disproportionately large role on making our two campuses (UC Davis and UC Davis Medical Center) a true community in which all members can feel appreciated, supported, respected and included.”
Hexter, who announced Sept. 17 to the campus community that he will be stepping down from campus leadership in 2020, noted that “these are not facts learned by book but direct experience nearly years 9 years as provost. Without the contributions of an extraordinary staff in my work, the university would roll around like with a wagon with one wheel.”
Three affiliates of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology nominated Hack for the award: forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, master advisor for the animal biology major; chief administrative officer Nora Orozco, her supervisor; and communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey.
They wrote that Hack, a 17-year academic advisor at UC Davis, goes above and beyond to advocate for and mentor students. Hack empathizes with the needs of others, an empathy honed by her own life experiences and the desire to “pay it forward.” As a youth--the daughter of farmworkers--she toiled in agricultural fields in Dixon, picking bell peppers and sorting tomatoes. And as a single parent/high school dropout, she cleaned houses for a living. Her life took a sharp career turn when two of her clients, a UC Davis professor and his wife, encouraged her to finish high school and attend business college. They loaned her money for an electric typewriter. Ever since then, Hack, the beneficiary of a good deed never forgotten, has vowed to “pay it forward”--to help others as others have helped her.
“Elvira is likely the best academic advisor ever. Not only is she completely conversant with all the rules and regulations of the major, but understands the latitude of flexibility built into their application in a very human way," Kimsey wrote in the nomination packet. "She is connected with all the administrative functionaries necessary to efficiently accomplish any task in a timely manner. For the confused or troubled student, she is the first and last resort for the solution of problems not only of an academic or administrative kind but those of a deeply personal nature as well. She keeps them on track, outlining their options, helping them decide on their future professions, and the direction their life should take. She has been invaluable to me as the master advisor. She really does care about a student's fate. Moreover we have had great fun doing these tasks together.” (See feature story)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Katie Wen-Chin Lee and Kristina Ho entered their poster in a competition at the 48th annual meeting of the California-Nevada chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
In addition, Sean Goodside recently led a team of three students who studied the response of juvenile green sturgeon to water flows. “He obtained the records of all three observers and forged them into a nice report,” said Peter Klimley adjunct professor in the Wildlife and Fisheries Biology Program, in an email. “I anticipate that the poster and report will eventually become scientific papers, a real credit to all three undergraduate students.”
The judging of student oral presentations and posters took place in Sacramento. This was the 14th consecutive year that the Northern California District of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (AIFRB) has judged the student work. The competition drew nine student papers and six posters.
Katie Lee and Kristina Ho are both animal biology majors who plan to graduate this summer. Sean Goodside received his bachelor's degree in June.
Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the master advisor of Animal Biology and Elvira Galvan Hack as the undergraduate advisor.
About Animal Biology (from website)
The Animal Biology (ABI) major offers students training in the biological and natural sciences as they apply to animals. ABI students are encouraged to think beyond particular groups of animals in which they are interested and to consider science as a process and a way of advancing society. Emphasis is on biological principles that can be used in research or in solving societal problems associated with animals in agriculture, urban areas, or natural environments as opposed to animal care and husbandry. The major requirements provide students the opportunity to develop research and scientific writing skills; demonstrate critical thinking; work closely with faculty, staff, researchers, grad students, and/or professors; and be creative in a scientific environment.
The major consists of core biological science courses that build on animal biology from molecular foundations to the ecological and evolutionary levels of organization. After completing the core courses (usually at the beginning of the junior year), ABI students have the option of specializing in various interdisciplinary aspects of animal biology and plan their chosen emphasis of study in consultation with their adviser.
The program combines a research project (practicum) under the guidance of a faculty mentor together with supportive coursework. This gives the students a great deal of freedom in choosing classes and a research topic.
The ABI research experience remains unique among undergraduate science majors at UC Davis. By graduation, in addition to completing coursework on the principles of biology, every ABI student has designed and conducted a research project and written a final report of his/her findings.
On the advising side, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide one-on-one support for each and every one of our students in the major. Because the practicum requires the student to choose courses related to his/her research topic, no two ABI students take all of the same courses. This gives us the privilege of meeting with and getting to know all of our students.
We are always available to answer questions or schedule appointments through email so if you have questions about the program or classes please feel free to contact us.
Elvira Hack, email@example.com, (530) 754-7277.