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ASPIRE Co-founder Receives Chancellor's Award

Emily Kappenman, a project scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, was recently honored with a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research.

Kappenman, who works with Professor Steve Luck in his Laboratory for Basic and Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, started mentoring as a graduate student, and, as a postdoctoral scholar, helped create ASPIRE (Accelerating Success by Providing Intensive Research Experience) in 2014. The program gives top students the chance to begin working with leading faculty in hands-on research in their freshman and sophomore years.

Professor Luck nominated Kappenman for the award, and student Raphael Geddert added his support: “My experiences in this lab have completely changed what I see myself doing in the future. Emily’s mentorship opened doors I never foresaw.”

She was one of three mentors to receive the 2016 awards. “It is no exaggeration to say that the outstanding research opportunities that our students enjoy would not be possible without the extraordinary commitment and efforts of our exceptional faculty,” Acting Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Burtis said at a May 23 awards ceremony.

Kappenman and Luck were unable to attend the awards presentation, given that they were attending the annual ASPIRE Research Symposium. So, Professor Luck surprised Kappenman by presenting her Chancellor’s Award for Excellence during the Symposium.