Maria May grew up in Portugal and came to the
United States as an English language learner. She is passionate
about diversity and equity in education. She earned her first
undergraduate degree in Agricultural Engineering in Portugal, as
well as a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture & Enology from UC
Davis, where her training in plant sciences and wine chemistry
honed her analytical and problem-solving skills.
Maria stood out from her first days in the credential program for
her vibrancy, dynamism and creativity as a teacher. It was
immediately clear how much she wanted to help students overcome
their challenges and be prepared for college and careers, and
how, in her words, she wanted to inspire them about the science
of life. She is currently a student teacher at Cosumnes Oaks High
School in Elk Grove, where she teaches biology to sophomores and
general science to freshmen, and will teach seventh-grade life
science at Lodi Middle School in the fall.
Outstanding Doctoral Student
Mariama Smith Gray
Currently a doctoral candidate, Mariama Smith Gray
holds BA degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature
and Society, an MA in Educational Leadership, and an MA in
Education, and has won numerous scholarships, grants, and awards.
She has been a teacher, department chair, ELL facilitator, mentor
teacher and vice principal in various California school
districts. As a school administrator, she was successful in
reducing suspension and expulsion rates and improving attendance.
Her dissertation examines the disproportionate discipline of
Latino boys in a California high school.
Rising Star Alumna
Melanie Pope (BS ‘98, Cred ‘11, MA ‘12)
Melanie Pope, who earned her undergraduate degree
in Biological Sciences, was directing the educational programs
for K-12 students at the Yolo Basin Resource Center when she
decided to earn her teaching credential. She has been a science
teacher at Willish Jepson Middle School in Vacaville since 2012,
and teaches seventh grade science to general education, special
education and English learner students. She works tirelessly to
make science accessible to all of her students, makes complex
material comprehensible and interesting, and serves as a role
model for educational accessibility and inclusivity.
Caroline Turner (BS ‘67, MA ‘70)
Caroline Turner grew up in farm labor camps in
California, and a Cal Aggie Alumni Association scholarship
enabled her to attend UC Davis. She earned BS and MA degrees, and
in 1988 earned her PhD at Stanford University. She is a Professor
and Graduate Coordinator for the Doctorate in Educational
Leadership Program at CSU Sacramento, after holding full
professorships at two other universities. Her body of work
focuses on access, equity, leadership, and qualitative approaches
to policy research in higher education, and she has received
numerous awards for her scholarship.
Outstanding Education Advocate
Carl A. Cohn
During more than 30 years in the educational field,
Dr. Cohn has been a teacher, counselor, professor,
superintendent, State Board of Education member, and Federal
Court monitor. In his current role as Executive Director of the
California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, he
collaborates with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
and California’s 58 county superintendents to help school
districts achieve their Local Control Accountability Plan goals.
Dr. Cohn personifies the role of research practitioner, expanding
the field of education through his commitment to urban affairs
and educational policy.
Steven A. Athanases
Steven Athanases is a Professor in the School of
Education at UC Davis, where he researches issues of cultural and
linguistic diversity and educational equity in teaching,
adolescent learning, and teacher education, with a focus on
literacy and English language arts. Dr. Athanases began his
education career as an English teacher in Chicago. Since
receiving his PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture: Curriculum
and Teacher Education at Stanford University, he has built a
large body of influential scholarship and received numerous
awards for his teaching, writing and research.