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Public Service Awards winnersDoreen Moreno (left), of the Office of Community Relations, and Megan Voorhees, director of the Cal Corps Public Service Center, are all smiles as they chat with Peter E. Haas Public Service Award winner Frederick Moore (second from right) and undergraduate Xiao-Yu Fu, who received one of several Chancellor's Public Service Awards presented to student, staff, and faculty honorees at last week's Sibley Hall recognition ceremony. (Peg Skorpinski photo)

Chancellor's Public Service Awards honor faculty, staff, and students

| 01 May 2009

Chancellor Birgeneau welcomed awardees and celebrants to the annual presentation of the Chancellor's Public Service Awards, in Sibley Auditorium, on April 23. This year's event, for the first time, was accompanied by presentation of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award, making the afternoon a celebration of service as comprehensive as any the campus has seen.

Awards for civic engagement were presented to six individuals and one group. Three of the six individual awardees are undergraduates engaged in service activities ranging from scholastic outreach to Habitat for Humanity-type home repair. Two grad-student awardees Paula Argentieri, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education, and Nilofar Sami, from the psychology department were also recognized: Argentieri for her 14 semesters as lead graduate-student instructor for the GSE's core class in the education minor that places students in community-based projects, Sami for her volunteer work on behalf of Cal Prep, the charter high school co-operated by the Berkeley campus.

The civic-engagement award was also presented to one staff member and one faculty member. Noemi Hollander, editorial assistant for the Haas School of Business' California Management Review, has been an advocate for the rights of working parents at Berkeley and the greater East Bay. She has proposed an initiative to support working parents at Haas, called Parents@Haas, and started a communications project to support Haas parents participating in the UC Berkeley Breastfeeding Matters program.

On the faculty side, Professor Amelia Barili, of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, was recognized for her commitment to service learning, through such courses as Globalization and the New Global Civil Society and Beginning Spanish Writing. In addition, she has made it possible for some 20 students each semester to volunteer with a local nonprofit that provides assistance to low-income refugees in preparing applications for political asylum and filling out a wide range of government documents.

Two faculty members were honored with other awards. Professor Jay Keasling, a pathbreaking chemist and chemical engineer, received the Research in the Public Interest Award for his contributions to such diverse research areas as public health and the development of synthetic fuels. And Deborah McKoy, of the College of Environmental Design, received the Faculty Service-Learning Leadership Award for her ongoing efforts to engage students in public-planning research and action in the Oakland area, by such means as the nationally recognized Y-PLAN course she teaches through the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Other awards went to the campus's Habitat for Humanity chapter, which engages between 200 and 300 students annually in efforts to address homelessness in Berkeley, the Bay Area, and the world; to Chemistry in the Classroom, a collaborative project started by Professor of Chemistry Robert Bergman (with the local non-profit Community Resources for Science) to provide science education in the schools; and to Alejandro Velez, founder and president of the SAGE Project, the largest student-run mentoring organization on campus.

The Peter E. Haas Public Service Award has been presented each spring since 1999 to a Berkeley alumnus who has performed extraordinary works of public service. The award acknowledges outstanding contributions in four major areas community service (including social service), health care, environmental work, and education.

The 2008 honoree, Frederick Moore '96, is cofounder and CEO of PotentSci, a consulting and book-publishing company focused on science education. He also cofounded the nonprofit Building Diversity in Science to provide mentoring and resources to young people in hopes of improving their access to world-class universities and careers in science. The Fairfield native studied genetics at Berkeley, graduating with honors. His Ph.D. in human reproductive genetics was conferred in 2002 by UCSF, which awarded him its Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his humanitarian and community-service work.

The Chancellor's Public Service Awards are sponsored by Cal Corps Public Service Center, the Office of Government and Community Relations, and University Events.