Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Scientific Department announces the winners of the Distinguished Alumni Awards

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Maria Gill
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UC Santa Cruz Department of Science Alumni Shape the World. From leading pioneering astronomical research to supporting comprehensive healthcare initiatives and implementing meaningful policies, they leave an indelible legacy.

Each year, the Department of Science presents graduate and undergraduate graduates with Distinguished Alumni Awards Those who have achieved extraordinary achievements in diverse fields. Honorees bring lasting pride to their university as practitioners and as citizens.

The UCSC Department of Science is proud to present the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award winners: Dr. J.Written by Jesús González, Dr. Maximiliano Mateo Cuevas, and Dr. Charles A. Lawson. Gonzalez will receive the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award, and Lawson and Cuevas will receive the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award. Awards honor those whose careers are characterized by sustained and exemplary contributions to society through research, practice, education, policy, or service.

Dean of the Department of Science Brian Gaensler emphasizes the enormous impact that Lawson, Gonzalez, and Cuevas have had in their respective fields.

“We are pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions of these distinguished alumni,” said Gensler. “Their remarkable accomplishments not only embody the values ​​of our organization, but also inspire current and future generations. We take great pride in their accomplishments and look forward to seeing the impact they continue to make in their respective fields.”

Winners will be honored at the Science Department's Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony on April 13.

Introducing the 2024 award winners

Dr. Jose de Jesus Gonzalez

Dr. José de Jesús González received his master's and doctoral degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1984, After his undergraduate studies in physics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He is currently Professor and Director of the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM. His research focuses on the stellar content of galaxies and the development of astronomical instruments, and he has made notable contributions to the determination of stellar population gradients in elliptical galaxies.

With more than 200 publications and his extensive participation in international research projects, González has contributed significantly to studies of galaxy evolution and to the development of astronomical instrumentation. He has held leadership roles in numerous scientific organizations, represented UNAM on boards of directors, and played a vital role in modernizing and expanding the telescope projects at the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional in San Pedro Martir. In addition, he is actively involved in outreach activities, focusing on the intersection of art and science and promoting scientific culture across diverse sectors of Mexican society.

Dr. Maximiliano Mateo Cuevas

Dr. Maximiliano Mateo Cuevas began his medical journey at UC Santa Cruz in 1973. Graduating with a bachelor's degree in biology in 1977 eventually led him to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and trained at UCLA and Kern Medical Center.

For the past 29 years, he has served as CEO of Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas, where he oversaw 13 clinic locations primarily serving farmworker families in Monterey County. Throughout his career, he has championed initiatives to provide comprehensive health care, including creating the Women's Health Program and leading the Doctors from Mexico pilot program, which recruits culturally and linguistically competent physicians to serve non-English-speaking patients.

Cuevas' dedication to addressing health care disparities and improving community health outcomes reflects his upbringing and lifelong commitment to serving marginalized populations.

Dr. Charles A. Lawson

Dr. Charles Lawson was Secretary of the United States Section of the International Joint Commission for 12 years, where he oversaw the administration and implementation of the Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada. In addition to managing the Commission's staff and budget, he played a critical role in addressing transboundary water issues along the border.

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Prior to assuming his position on the Commission, Lawson held various diplomatic positions, including as Senior Advisor for Science and Technology in the Middle East Peace Negotiations and as Special Assistant for Science and Technology to Ambassador Richard L. Armitage.

He started his career in Scientific research before shifting to diplomatic roles. He earned his bachelor's degree in geosciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1973 and then earned his doctorate in geosciences from Princeton University. Between 1982 and 1987, Lawson worked as a research geologist and project leader at the USGS in Reston, Virginia, and was a National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council research fellow at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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