UC Riverside Academic Senate

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research is given annually to two graduating seniors who have conducted outstanding research or creative work and to two faculty members with a distinguished record of fostering undergraduate research or creative activity.

2012 – 13 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Recipients

Jeanie Lau

Jeanie Lau

Jeanie Lau
Physics and Astronomy

Over the past 7 years, Dr. Lau has mentored 8 undergraduate students, with several students training in her laboratory for at least two years. 5 of these students have graduated and gone on to pursue doctoral degrees. Under her guidance, these students have received several grants, including: multiple Science Circle Awards, Dean’s Fellowships, undergraduate research grants, and a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Her students’ success is certainly due in part to her close attention to their professional training and access to publication opportunities. These talented undergraduates have co-authored eight refereed journal articles, including publications in Science, Nature and the UCR Undergraduate Research Journal. Dr. Lau includes her students in her research on the physics of nanoscale systems and the properties of graphene, research that has earned her an NSF CAREER Grant and the Presidential Early Career Award.

Richard Hooley

In only 4 years Dr. Hooley has mentored 12 undergraduate students. Under his mentorship, these students have received awards the following grants or fellowships for their research on the development of unique molecules with cavities that can bind, catalytically react, and transport particular molecules: Dean’s Summer Fellowship, Science Circle Award, Rosemary S.J. Schraer Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement, CAMP fellowship, and an NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship. Dr. Hooley’s commitment to increasing diversity in the sciences is reflected in his participation in the Minority Access to Research Careers –Undergraduate Training in Academic Research (MARC-USTAR), the UCR STEM Pathway, and the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program. Additionally, he has trained 8 women, 3 African-American students and 1 Hispanic student. Dr. Hooley’s research has earned him fellowships from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education program and UC Riverside’s Innovative Use of Information Technology in Teaching program.




Eric Liao

Environmental Science

In his four years at UCR, Mr. Liao, an Environmental Science major has built a tremendous resume reflecting his dedication to studying raw seismic data and earthquake processes. He has served as a co-author on 4 papers, and is the first author on one of these publications. Additionally, he has contributed data for presentations at 6 major conferences. He served as the presenter for 3 of these conference presentations. He has received 4 major undergraduate research awards including: the CNAS Dean’s Fellowship, the Undergraduate Research Grant, the CNAS Scholars Summer Research Program, and the Honors Academic Enrichment Fellowship. Although he is committed to intensive research, Mr. Liao remains an excellent student. He has a 3.897 GPA and is expected to graduate Magna Cum Laude. Finally, Mr. Liao has used his expertise and educational experiences to influence K-12 curriculum development. One nominating faculty member notes “Eric is outstanding student, researcher and member of the broader Riverside community.”

Fatima Mirza

Creative Writing

Though she has faced considerable challenges while pursuing her degree at UCR, Ms. Mirza has proven herself a gifted writer who is committed to the development of her craft. Through her coursework, she has created a complex set of characters, all belonging to one family. One nominating faculty member noted that these characters could provide the framework for a “very fine first novel.” Additionally, it has been said that Ms. Mirza has “a terrific instinct for what to notice, what to perceive, what to see in a moment, in a character, in a dilemma, in a scene.” She has served as an Assistant Editor and Features Editor for The Highlander, published in the Mosaic, and gave a poignant speech when she presented the Professor of the Year Award for the University Honors Program (2012). She has received numerous scholarships and awards including the 2011-2012 Award for Academic Excellence. Ms. Mirza is already engaging with writing communities beyond the university, as she was accepted to and participated in the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference Summer 2012 workshop. Finally, Ms. Mirza has been accepted into the Iowa Writers Workshop, the country’s most prestigious graduate program in Creative Writing.

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