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Community Awards

The Community Awards are a way for the graduate community to honor those at UCSD who exceed expectations in their contributions to graduate student life. The award ceremony celebrates faculty, staff, and students who go out of their way to make being a graduate student at UCSD a little easier. Please make sure the nominee saves the date!  Please email questions to 

Congratulations to our Community Award Winners & Honorable Mentions for the 2019-2020 Academic Year!

2020 Awardees

  • Peer Mentorship: Adrielly Hokama Razzini (Structural Engineering)
    • Honorable Mention: Lisa Mash (Psychiatry)
  • Grad Student Leader: Maryam Pourebadi (CSE)
    • Honorable Mentions: Lauren Rowley (Rady), Andy Ryan (Biology)
  • Grad Student Support Staff: Jessica Flores (Music)
    • Honorable Mentions: Dr. Erica Bender (Teaching + Learning Commons), Gilbert Bretado (SIO), Suzi Harlow (Biology)
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Erin Suzuki (Literature)
    • Honorable Mention: Dr. Neal Devaraj (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. Christena Turner (Sociology)
    • Honorable Mention: Dr. Maureen Feely (Political Science), Dr. Miller Puckette (Computer Music)
  • Community Leaders: Alec Calac (Medicine)
    • Honorable Mention: "KDan" Donghyung Lee (Biology)

Faculty Mentorship Award

This award honors a faculty member at UC-San Diego who is an exceptional mentor of graduate students. The awardee makes mentorship a priority in his or her research career, and puts emphasis on ensuring that their students are constantly receiving guidance when they need it, while maintaining the student’s freedom to explore their research as an individual.

Faculty Teaching Award

This award honors a faculty member at UC-San Diego who is an exceptional educator at the graduate level. The awardee goes above and beyond the expectations of his or her curriculum, providing carefully constructed lessons or lectures with attention to the needs and progress of his or her students. The awardee is efficient and enthusiastic in communicating concepts to their classes, and leaves students satisfied and enriched after every lecture.

Graduate Student Peer Mentorship

This award honors a graduate student at UC –San Diego who has proven to be an excellent source of advice and wisdom for their colleagues in the graduate school. The awardee shows a strong willingness and ability to advise his or her fellow graduate students on issues related to academics or general life skills, and whose peer mentorship has significantly enhanced the graduate school experience of their colleagues.

Outstanding Graduate Student Support Staff Award

This award honors a UC-San Diego staff member who has gone above and beyond their job requirements in assisting graduate students. The awardee shows strong empathy for and understanding of the challenges facing graduate students, and has exemplified compassionate and efficient professionalism in their interactions with graduate students both within and outside their home department. The actions of this awardee have significantly relaxed the daily stresses and concerns of graduate students, enhancing their overall experience.

Outstanding Community Leader

This award honors a UC-San Diego student, staff, or faculty who has displayed unwavering dedication to improving and organizing their community. Through diligent attention to organization and motivation, the awardee has made significant and tangible advances in the lives of their colleagues or neighbors in the UC-San Diego community.

Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Award

This award honors a UC-San Diego graduate student who has proven to be a strong and committed leader in the graduate student community. The awardee has tirelessly advocated for graduate students on their behalf, and has shown exceptional ability to represent the interests of the entire graduate student body. The actions of this awardee have significantly improved the lives of graduate students at UC-San Diego through advocacy.


Questions?  Please email


Previous Award Winners

2019 Winners

  • Peer Mentorship: Sumit Gupta (Structural Engineering)
  • Grad Student Leader: Rosalind Chaplin (Philosophy)
  • Grad Student Support Staff:  Kate Edwards (Visual Arts)
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Wendy Matsumura (History)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. Emily Johnston (Literature)
  • Community Leaders: Jiwandeep Kohli (Clinical Psychology)

2018 Winners

  • Peer Mentorship: Jack Zhang (Political Science)
  • Grad Student Leader: Chris Fisher (Chem & Biochem)
  • Grad Student Support Staff: Marybeth Ward (Theatre & Dance)
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Kevin Corbett (BMS)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. James Friend (MAE)
  • Community Leaders: Ariana Mirian (CSE)

2017 Winners

  • Peer Mentorship: Eva Sanchez (SIO)
  • Grad Student Leader: Daniella McDonald (Medicine)
  • Grad Student Support Staff: 
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Rosaura Sanchez (Literature)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. Natalia Roudakova (Communication)
  • Community Leaders: Katie Simpson (Communication)

2016 Winners

  • Peer Mentorship: Ben Sheredos (Philosophy)
  • Grad Student Leader: Cory Davia (Philosophy)
  • Grad Student Support Staff: Jessica Gross (CSE)
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Eric Watkins (Philosophy)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. Darren J Lipomi (NanoEngineering)
  • Community Leaders: Alberto Vasquez (Outreach Specialist) and Dustin Richmond (CSE)

2015 Winners

  • Peer Mentorship: Steven Naleway (Material Science Engineering)
  • Grad Student Leader: Amy Berg (Philosphy)
  • Grad Student Support Staff: Charlotte Lauve (Material Science and Engineering)
  • Faculty Mentorship: Dr. Thomas Baranga (Economics)
  • Faculty Teaching: Dr. Guluma (Medicine)
  • Community Leaders: Jason Raby (International Relations and Pacific Studies)