Students Make News


Students from the College of Letters and Science have been generating plenty of buzz, as well, showcasing their prowess in everything from cycling to investment banking to ancient Greek.

UC Davis classics majors took first place in four out of six prestigious national exams in ancient Greek and Latin, the best showing ever for the UC Davis chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the honor society sponsoring the exams.  Among 38 declared majors in Classical Civilization at UC Davis, these three accounted for the campus’s best showing ever in the Eta Sigma Phi testing: Ilan Gonzalez-Hirshfeld (second year, with junior standing), placed first in Intermediate Greek and Advanced Latin; and second in translation from English to Latin; Zoë Stachel (third year, with senior standing) placed first in Advanced Greek and third in Koine Greek (a lingua franca, or shared language, in the Eastern Mediterranean after Alexander the Great and before the Arab conquest of the Mideast); Celsiana Warwick (second year, with junior standing) placed first in Koine Greek and second in Intermediate Greek. All three began their Greek studies with Bulman, who said the test results “broadcast the message that serious work in classics is going on here at UC Davis.” John Rundin, another classics lecturer who has taught all three prize winners, said: “I can attest that they are gifted, dedicated and hard-working students, and wonderful people as well.”

Applied Mathematics Ph.D. candidate Paul Mach competed in the Amgen Tour of California. Mach, a professional racer for the Bissel Pro Cycling Team, led the King of the Mountain at the start in Davis, where the second stage began.

In a very different sort of competition, Design student Christina Johnson also performed outstandingly: she was the runner-up in Project OR, a Project Runway–style competition at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, and was one of just five students chosen from across the U.S. to participate.

2010 grad Frank Song has also been a high achiever in his field even before completing his degree. The economics major ran a full-service real estate firm as well while attending UC Davis and, with his work, paid for his entire education and living expenses while also attending full time; he spoke about his success last May in a talk at Cal State East Bay.

Physics student Austin Sendek, meanwhile, is also thinking big—hella big, as it were. Sendek is petitioning the International System of Units to designate the laid-back Northern California slang term for “lots,” “hella,” as the official prefix to designate 10 to the 27th power. (The next highest prefix, signifying 10 to the 24th, is “yotta.”) An official Facebook page for the effort doesn’t have quite that many fans, but as of summer 2010, it did have more than 60,000 and counting – Google has added its support to the effort.

Two chemistry graduate students were the recipients of highly competitive 2010-11 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation (ARCS) Awards. John L. Jacobsen and Ngon Tran were each awarded $8500.

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