55 Remarkable Alumni, Staff, Faculty and Friends
Jodi Nunnari was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2017) and studies mitochondria, tiny structures that provide energy to living cells and which are implicated in a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, stroke and inherited conditions. She discovered that mitochondria form a dynamic network with the cell which led to fundamental insights into how mitochondria grow, divide and function.
Martha Marsh is the first female appointed CEO of UC Davis Medical Center in 1999.
Michal Kurlaender is the first UC Davis faculty member elected to the National Academy of Education (2020). She investigates students’ educational pathways and access to and success in postsecondary schooling, and studies the impact of racial and ethnic diversity on student outcomes.
Heather M. Young
Heather M. Young served as the inaugural dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing (2008-2018) and led the establishment of the school, the development of five new graduate programs in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership, the design and construction of the 70,000-square-foot Betty Irene Moore Hall and the formation of a nursing science research program focused on healthy systems and healthy people.
Leah Krubitzer is Director of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Neurobiology at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience. She was named to the 1998 class of MacArthur Fellows, commonly known as MacArthur “genius” grants, for her research on the development of complex brains from their simple origins.
Tracy Caldwell Dyson
Tracy Caldwell Dyson (’97) became a NASA astronaut in 1998. She is a veteran of two space flights and designed, constructed and implemented electronics and hardware related to atmospheric gas phase chemistry. She also developed methods of chemical ionization for the spectral interpretation of trace compounds.
Celeste Turner Wright
Celeste Turner Wright is the first woman with a Ph.D. to become a faculty member in 1928, and the first woman to be tenured. She was the first teacher of Latin, German, and public speaking, the first drama instructor, the first humanities professor to be honored as Faculty Research Lecturer, and the only woman to have an academic building named after her.
Jennifer Gross (‘97) is the head coach of the UC Davis Women’s Basketball team (2010-present). She is now a four-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year (even though the 2019-20 season ended prematurely, the awards were handed out before it was cancelled), making her the first women’s basketball coach in the history of the Big West Conference to win the award in four consecutive seasons. She also ranks second all time to UC Santa Barbara’s Mark French in the total number of Coach of the Year awards. French won seven in a decorated career with UCSB, while Coach Gross has won four.
Kelly Ratliff ('86,'93) is the Vice Chancellor of Finance, Operations and Administration and manages the university's capital and operating budget totaling over $5 billion annually. She is a longtime Aggie and has been at UC Davis since 1982 (B.S. Zoology '86, MBA '93, and started employment in 1987).
Ann Veneman ('70) is the former executive director of UNICEF from 2005 to 2010. Her appointment was announced on January 18, 2005 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Previously, Veneman was the United States Secretary of Agriculture, the first, and as of 2018 the only, woman to hold that position.
Jonna Mazet is an American epidemiologist and Executive Director of the UC Davis One Health Institute who is recognized for her innovative and holistic approach to emerging environmental and global health threats. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.