Nicole Sitkin

photo by Karin Higgins/UC Davis

2013 Nicole Sitkin

Hometown: Moraga, Calif.; now Davis, Calif.

B.S. in neurobiology, physiology and behavior

Nicole is already making contributions to medical research and helping address disparities in health care — especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. She is working in the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory of the UC Davis School of Medicine and bound for medical school to become a clinician-researcher studying the interaction of basic biology and human experience. … She is a member of the medical school’s task force for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the electronic health record as a step toward improving health care for LGBT individuals. … Has co-authored manuscripts on related topics, including the development of a curriculum to help medical students gain cultural competency about sexual orientation and gender identity. … Spent her junior year in France, where she earned a UC Davis minor in art studio. … Worked in the research labs of faculty members and conducted independent research — including one project that made living art from fungi … interned at medical facilities, published creative writing and played rugby. … Nicole dedicates herself to whatever she does and works hard. “It's the price you pay,” she said, “but you get to do something amazing with your life.”

2012 Larissa K. Miyachi

photo by Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

2012 Larissa K. Miyachi

Hometown: Oregon House, Calif.; now Oregon House, Calif.

B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology

UC Davis put Larissa at the lab bench even before she enrolled. An internship at the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology introduced the Yuba Community College student to scientific research: “If it hadn’t been for that, I think I might not have realized my interest in medicine. That was the pivotal experience for me.” … for two summers and then some, she did research with nanoparticles for possible cancer therapy … assisted nurses and helped care for radiology and cardiology patients as a UC Davis Medical Center volunteer: “I’ve walked around this big campus and thought, ‘Here I am learning to do something significant with my life.’ It’s a really privileged feeling.” … now bound for a pre-medical surgery internship at the medical center and then medical school — maybe at UC Davis … home-schooled … about the medal: “What my parents did for me really paid off. It’s like it recognizes them, too.”

2016 Lucydalila Cedillo

Hometown: East Los Angeles, Calif.; now: Cambridge, Mass.

B.S. in animal science

Cedillo is bringing hope home to youth in housing projects, including the one where she grew up. From parents who immigrated from Mexico and made a life in East Los Angeles, Cedillo entered UC Davis as a McNairs Scholars Program participant with a lesson from her father: “Learn as much as you can. No one’s ever going to take it away from you.” In her sophomore year, she began an undergraduate research project — volunteering in a genetics lab, conducting an independent project in genetic mapping and authoring, with colleagues, a scientific manuscript for publication. Cedillo is now in a doctoral program at Harvard University, pursuing research in gene therapies for diseases and a career as a professor. From her experience at UC Davis: “I feel like I can just take on anything now.” That’s a message she shares with the neighborhood kids she’s taken under her wing. She tells them, “Yes, you go for it, and I’ll help you get there.”

2015 Andrew Magee

Hometown: San Jose, Calif.; now: Seattle, Wash.

B.S. in evolution, ecology and biodiversity

Magee is a doctoral student at the University of Washington studying species diversification from statistical and mathematical perspectives. His interest in phylogenetic research took root in his freshman year at UC Davis… Magee became a student and research assistant of Brian Moore, an assistant professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, who said, “Andrew has repeatedly impressed me with this ability to harness a nuanced grasp of the material to ask truly creative questions…” He worked on estimates of evolutionary relationships among species, mentored fellow students in the lab and published research as the lead author. He also participated in the University Honors Program and received a national Goldwater scholarship in 2014. Magee’s enthusiasm spread across campus as a leader of a debate club, the Drafting Horse and Driving Club, and the Davis Urban Gaming Club. “It’s been so cool to see that we’ve built a community of people who are friends and spend time together.” 

2014 Ashley Coates 

Hometown: Hollister, Calif.; now: Stanford, Calif.

B.S. in aerospace science and engineering; mechanical engineering 

“I’ve always wanted to be the person who sends other people into space,” said Coates. Her stellar experiences at UC Davis? Helping to build a virtual-reality headset, reverse engineer a robotic arm and design an airplane. …advocate for STEM education: “I know what it is like to be the one girl in the class, and I think I can use that experience to encourage others to follow their dream…”…also played piccolo and flute in the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh!, served as a peer adviser, and represented students as a chancellor’s ambassador. From volunteering at the UC Davis Center for Human/Robotics/Vehicle Integration and Performance to interning at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Coates launched into studies in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University as a graduate fellow. She hopes to work in the space industry, and then as a university professor.

2011 Kristen D. Kelley

Hometown: Encinitas, Calif.; now Davis, Calif. 

B.S. in neurobiology, physiology and behavior

When Kristen starts medical school at UC San Diego in fall 2012, she will already have some experience in the responsibilities of a doctor and medical researcher: lab work, patient care and fundraising. She worked in the marine ecology lab of Associate Professor Jay Stachowicz, did fieldwork at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory and, through an honors research class, conducted her own experiment on amphipod mouthparts: “The experience convinced me that my future plans will include research.” … she also interned in the radiology department at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento and at the Neurology Center of Southern California … she volunteered at the Imani Clinic, a free healthcare clinic run by UC Davis students, where she “not only got experience in medicine, but also learned about the needs of our diverse society and people who face challenging life circumstances.” … One of her most meaningful experiences? Serving as advocacy chair for the American Cancer Society’s 2011 “Relay for Life” at UC Davis, which raised about $100,000 for research and patient care.

2010 Patrick McCartney

Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.; now San Francisco 

B.S. in managerial economics and A.B. in history

Patrick is a senior financial analyst in the corporate marketing group at Intel Corp., where he does budgeting and planning for the marketing strategy and partner marketing groups and makes investment recommendations: “It's an exciting, challenging place to be. The tech ecosystem is ever evolving. I love Intel and hope to see more UC Davis graduates there in the future!”… recently completed exams to work in the securities industry … at UC Davis, reported for the Cal Aggie student newspaper for three years: “It was a way to leap into the vitality of the campus.” … also participated in the Integrated Studies Honors Program, worked as a research assistant, did internships with Intel and in media relations with the Sacramento River Cats baseball club.