2023 Dean's, Chancellor's, and Steck Awards

2023 Chancellor's Award winners and Chancellor Larive (Photo by Emily Reynolds)

Deans' Awards are granted to 50 of the most outstanding undergraduate research theses or projects completed during the current academic year, 10 from each of the academic divisions. Chancellor's Awards are granted to the the top three Deans' Awards projects in each academic division. Both awards recognize excellence in undergraduate research as evidenced through completed projects and theses. Each Dean's Award project will receive a $100 award. Each Chancellor's Award project will receive a $500 award. The Steck Award is given to the most outstanding Chancellor's Award winning project. The names of all winners are also announced at commencement ceremony. 2023 Award Guidelines: Click Here


Each student or student team worked on a senior research or milestone project and is mentored by a UCSC faculty member, postdoc, graduate student, or researcher (noted in parentheses below). A committee in each division selects the Deans’ Award recipients. Winners of the Chancellor’s Award are recognized as being one of the top 3 projects from each of the five Divisions. The winners of the Steck Family Award for outstanding research project are denoted with an ^

Photos from this year's Award Ceremony can be viewed (and downloaded) here.

Arts Division

Chancellor Award Winners

^lavender higley (Kresge): Random With A Purpose XXXI: The Community Movement

Kyler Salameda (Cowell) and lavender higley (Kresge): Eye Like The Way She Moves

Miles Bernath (Porter): Eisenstein In Japan: How Japanese Art Influenced Film Theory

Dean's Award Winners

Sarah Krulder (Porter): Unrooted Ornamental (Scotch Broom)

Tamara Muradyan (Porter): Unbelievable!/Reach for the Stars, Aubrey!

Maxwell Ward (Cowell): Bridging Past and Present: Formulating a Community Archaeology Project at Lagunas de los Cóndores

Aja Bond (Cowell): If a Banner Drops in the Woods and No One's There to Read It, Does It Make a Statement?

Emily Tran (Kresge): Mementos

Zoe Linstrom (Porter): Social Ills: Narrating Contemporary Political Issues Through Oil Painting

Marcel Bell (Oakes): Love Jones

Baskin School of Engineering

Chancellor Award Winners

^Joseph M Cruz (Kresge): Investigating the COBRA NG2 Hemagglutinin for Universal Flu For Vaccine Development

Kiana Imani (John R. Lewis), Elizabeth Beer (Cowell), Izabella Balius (Eight), Zoe Petroff (Crown), Jonathan Zau (Kresge), Cambell Strand (Crown), Lauren Paule (Eight), Joanne Shen (Nine), Yixuan Peng (Porter), Nathan Mccall (Crown), Vidhata Singh (Crown), Christopher Schade (Crown), Haripriya (Nine), Thiago Feitosa (Eight): Helo: Accessible Type 2 Diabetes Medication Through Stable Expression of Exendin-4 in S. cerevisiae

Hayley Coyle (Crown): Deep Learning and High-Resolution Drone Imagery for Accurate Plant Species Mapping in California Coastal Communities

Dean's Award Winners

Cally Lin (Nine): Developing and Deploying the Xena Gene Set Enrichment Analysis Appyter

Fan Xia (Crown): Organoid Culture Modifications to Improve Brain Organoid Fidelity

Anand Verma (Porter): Validating Binding Interactions of CX3CR1 with RSV G Glycoprotein

Samuel Nangle (Cowell): Structural Studies of Respiratory Syncytial Virus G Glycoprotein Central Conserved Domain and Fab 2b11

Maxim Biryukov (Crown): Applying Dijkstra’s Shortest Path Algorithm to the 1D Euler-Lagrange Equation

Bradley Tait (Porter): Can 2D Stack Up to 3D, or Will 2D Fall Flat?

John Madden (Crown): Soil Power Sensor

Humanities Division

Chancellor Award Winners

Vann Jones (Merrill): What to Expect When He’s Expecting: A Complete Guide to Transmasculine Reproduction (website)

Elina Juvonen (Stevenson): "A Great Big Warm-Hearted Southern Family": The United Daughters of the Confederacy in New York City

Rachel Ledeboer (Porter): Metamorphoses of the Metamorphoses: An Examination of a 16th Century Venetian Printed Book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the University of California, Santa Cruz Library Special Collections & Archives

Dean's Award Winners

Owen Cooksy (Cowell): The Death of an Irish Soldier: Irish Nationalism, Ulster Nationalism, and the Murder of Henry Wilson

Maria Hele (Nine), Ashley Marshall (Stevenson): Re-Membering Motherhood: Transforming Futures through Reassembling the Iconicity of the Mother

Colin Hirschberg (Rachel Carson): Restrictions on Mandarin Bei-Passives

Tatum Kubik (Stevenson): Redefining 'Normal' Bodies: Disability Studies in Fever Dream

Russell Moore (Oakes): The Color and Politics of Locomotives on the Central Pacific Railroad

Ryan Nguyen (Oakes): Observational Reports and Cognitive States: Sellars and McDowell

Ann Niland (Kresge): To Identity Or Not To Identity: Diversity, Marketing, and the White Savior in Science Fiction & Fantasy From The Dark Tower to Star Trek

Physical & Biological Sciences Division

Chancellor Award Winners

Samuel English (Merrill): The Hidden Friend‘s Wake: Dark Matter and a Binary at the Galactic Center

Valery Ortiz (Nine): Molecular Mechanisms of PCH-2 and HORMADs during meiosis I

Martin Gutierrez (Oakes): Rescue of Blood Coagulation Factor VIII Exon-16 Mis-splicing by Antisense Oligonucleotides

Dean's Award Winners

Amanda Mohr (Merrill): The Importance of Exoplanet Research and TOI5527.01

Emma Snyder (Rachel Carson): Response of Dittrichia graveolens to competition with non-native grasses in varying soil conditions

Jennifer Waldo (Stevenson): Investigating the potential of helicopter-vessel communication for bycatch avoidance in tuna purse seine fisheries

Maryke Grobler (Oakes): Chromosomal Fusions, But Not Chromosomal Inversions, Activate a PCH-2 Dependent Checkpoint That Promotes Crossover Formation in C. elegans

Noelle Yaitanes (Porter): Investigating the Role of Kinase Tails in the Regulation of Circadian Period

Orazio Bagno (Cowell): Studying RNA Helicase Involvement in Alternative 3' Splice Site Selection Using CRISPR and RNAi

Samantha Scarlett (Crown): Synthesizing Chemically Diverse Cyclic Peptides in Effort to Determine Structure-Permeability Relationships for Drug Discovery

Social Sciences Division

Chancellor Award Winners

Annabel Bouwer (Crown): The Mindful Gaze: Trait Mindful People Under Instructed Emotion Regulation Selectively Attend to Positive Stimuli

Brianna Barrientos (Kresge): The Perseverance of Filipino Labor: An Analysis of the Competing Forces Between Filipino Advocacy and San Francisco Racial Politics

Brooke Johnson (John R. Lewis): Unpacking the Colonial Legacy of the Global Waste Trade: the Impact of National Sword as a Critical Juncture

Dean's Award Winners

Brent Horning (Nine): Globalization of the Gaze: Divine and Secular Seeing in the Durga Puja Festival of Kolkata

Elina Juvonen (Stevenson): Family and Foreign: Investigating Representation and Contradiction in 1950s Women’s Magazines

Gepeng Ding (Nine): The Cost of Political Stability: Reckoning of Policy Adjustment in China’s Local Government Financing Vehicles

Jiayue Sun (John R. Lewis): Children’s Engagement During a Museum Visit to a Mammoth Fossil Exhibit

Joy Anderson (Kresge): Affirming the Strengths of LGBTQIA+ Families in San Francisco: Barriers to Redefining Family in the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.

Morgan Yates (Stevenson): The Influence of Interactions with Pet Dogs on Psychological Distress

Serena Campbell (Merrill): “The University Needs to Listen”: Moving from Mainstream to Critical Environmentalism at UC Santa Cruz