UC Riverside Academic Senate

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

2016-2017 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

David Kisailus

David Kisailus
Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Since he joined the UCR faculty in 2007 Professor Kisailus has made invaluable and substantial contribution to our undergraduate education. He has served as the Undergraduate Advisor for the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Program, the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) UCR Chapter Advisor, and the Honors Advisor for both the Chemical & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Program and the MSE Program. He also hosts an annual public outreach event at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum entitled “Design by Nature” where his students have been able to present their work to the public and share their own findings. Over the last decade Professor Kisailus has mentored more than 120 undergraduates, which include 26 females and 28 from under-represented minorities. Of these, more than 20 students obtained mini-grants, through applications submitted to the UCR Office of Undergraduate Education under his guidance. Also under his supervision, 22 students became co-authors of 25 publications, 28 students participated and made presentations at research conferences both at the regional and national level, and more than 30 went on to graduate/professional schools. In particular, in 2012 one of his students won the IOM3 World Speaking Competition in London, as the only undergraduate student competing with graduate students in master’s and doctoral programs, and in 2013 another student won the North American IOM3 competition and participated in the World Competition in Hong Kong. Professor Kisailus’ mentorship has inspired our undergraduate students to acquire the confidence, experience, and skills they need to establish successful careers in research.

Natalie Fischer


Notwithstanding the lack of any previous experience, Natalie Fischer began working in Professor S. Hollis Woodard’s entomology laboratory in Fall 2016, and has developed into, in the latter’s words, “the single most capable undergraduate researcher” she has ever worked with. Professor Woodard has so much confidence in Natalie that she has placed her on a paid supervisory position in charge of five other undergraduate researchers in the lab. Natalie started her work at the lab by designing, troubleshooting, and running an experiment on bumble bee queen feeding behavior, which ended in her joining the professor at the 2016 annual meeting of the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA) for a poster presentation. Subsequently Natalie has been involved in other projects, including participation in the department’s large Arctic bumble bee project, for which she will present data at PBESA’s 2017 annual meeting. Natalie has also designed and is currently conducting a completely independent experiment on buzz pollination, a specialized sonication behavior performed by some bees that causes certain flowering species to release pollen from their anthers. This experiment combines audio recording analysis and molecular analyses of energetic state to study the impact of nutrition on the quality of buzz pollination behavior performed by bumble bees. Natalie already received a CNAS mini-grant for the purchase of the required audio equipment for this experiment, and she managed to develop the experiment plan into a research proposal that she already submitted for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) application. In doing all the above, Natalie has demonstrated her development into a creative, independent, and rigorous young scientist. After her graduation Natalie will work for a year in another highly prestigious bee lab at the Michigan State University, before returning to UC Riverside for a PhD in Entomology.

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