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Berkeleyan

Laurels
Celebrating Berkeley's blue ribbons, gold stars, and honorable mentions

06 December 2007

Asya Pasinsky, a Phi Beta Kappa member who graduated this year with majors in the political economy of industrial societies and Russian language and literature, has been selected as a 2007 Rhodes Scholar - only the 21st Berkeley student to be chosen for the honor since the first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford University in 1904. The daughter of Russian immigrants who brought her to America as a child, Pasinsky has done research for the U.S. mission to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture, written for the arts section of the San Francisco Examiner, and translated Russian poetry into English, among other intellectually oriented achievements. And did we mention she's a competitive figure skater?

At the School of Public Health, clinical professor Linda Neuhauser has been selected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to serve on a newly created Risk Communication Advisory Committee, which will advise the agency on how best to inform the public of the risks and benefits of FDA-regulated products. Neuhauser, co-principal investigator for Health Research for Action at Berkeley, conducts communication and community-health interventions for new parents, young children, adolescents, seniors, and low-literate and non-English-speaking populations.

Peggy Lemaux, a professor of plant and microbial biology and cooperative-extension specialist, has been named one of 10 new fellows by the Crop Science Society of America. Her research focuses on developing and utilizing genetic-engineering technologies to improve cereal crops, including her involvement in the nutritional improvement of sorghum for Africa through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also participates in public-outreach programs that address agricultural practices, food production, and the impact of new technology on agriculture.

A pair of Berkeley professors have been selected as inaugural winners of the MDV Innovators Award, launched by the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Mohr David Ventures to "recognize extraordinary faculty for their innovative approaches and entrepreneurial spirits," and to support their research. Assistant professors Jan Liphart, physics, and Rachel Segalman, chemical engineering, will each receive $75,000 for one year to pilot what the company calls "a new, high-risk project with potential to disrupt current thinking in their field or provoke new avenues of research." Liphart was cited for his work in photosynthesis, synthetic biology, photonics, and single-molecule physics; Segalman was recognized for her work in nanostructural control and self-assembly of soft materials for energy applications.

The Materials Research Society has recognized Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a professor in materials science and physics, for his "pioneering achievements" in the field, and "for his enthusiasm and leadership in conveying the excitement of this field to a broad audience." Ramesh, who joined the Berkeley faculty in 2004, delivered the MRS Turnbull Lecture and received his award last week at the society's fall meeting in Boston.

Closer to home, the campus's Distinguished Librarian Award Committee has named Alice Youmans, of the Law Library, and Waverly Lowell, of the Environmental Design Archives, as this year's recipients. The committee's announcement cited Youman's major role in building the reputation of the Law Library, and "her brilliant career as a law librarian, public-services administrator, legal researcher, mentor, and teacher." Lowell, it said, "has transformed the Environmental Design Archives into the best and most complete picture of California architectural and landscape-architecture modernism," while co-authoring "award-winning books that have set standards for archivists nationwide."

Political psychologist Philip Tetlock, who won rave reviews and wide renown for his 2005 book Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? (Princeton University Press), is the 2008 winner of the University of Louisville's Grawemeyer Award for "ideas improving world order." Tetlock, a professor of business administration and political science at Haas, conducted a 20-year study of 27,000 predictions made by 284 media-certified experts in politics, economics, and other fields, and found them no more accurate than "attentive readers of The New York Times in 'reading' emerging situations." The award comes with a $200,000 prize.

Alexei Yurchak, an associate professor of anthropology, has received the 2007 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press), a study of the last decades of the Soviet Union. The prize, awarded annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, recognizes the most important English-language contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies published in the United States in the previous year.

And Health*Matters, the campus's worksite-health-promotion program, was recently honored by the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness for its efforts to promote employee health and a healthier workplace. Along with 80 other employers, Health*Matters received a bronze California Fit Business Award.