2021 Graduates Receive UHP Awards
Every year, the University Honors Program awards students for implementing values of UHP: leadership, community service, and research & innovation. These are our 2021 winners.
2021 UHP Student Leadership Award: Mikka Vapor, International Relations and Economics with a minor in French
The UHP Student Leadership Award identifies a graduating UHP student who is an emerging leader on campus or in the community. This student has demonstrated a commitment to all of the values of UHP including excellence, innovation, and personal growth, and are part of a new generation of leaders. This year's recipient is Mikka Vapor.
Mikka is the current President of Kappa Psi Epsilon, a Pinay-Interest sorority focused on academics, culture, sisterhood, community action, and social networking. As President, she is the executive leader and oversees the Board of Directors which is composed of 12 active members. This year, Mikka was able to expand on Kappa Psi Epsilon’s traditional yearly programming by hosting educational workshops about social justice issues and movements affecting other underrepresented communities. Specifically, she helped highlight the importance of fostering solidarity between the Black Lives Matter Movement, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Asian-American and Filipinx-American communities. Mikka has also been awarded the Asian Sorority and Fraternity Council Member of the 2019-2020 Year and January Kappa of the Month.
Additionally, Mikka is a member of the Filipinxs Organizing Retention and Cultural Empowerment (FORCE) Board. They are a united student network composed of Presidents from various Fil-Am organizations with the goal of supporting students in the Filipinx-American community at UC Davis. As a facilitator of FORCE, Mikka leads and coordinates with 8 other Fil-Am presidents in efforts to host collective community programming while fostering a safe, inclusive, and progressive space.
Mikka is also a member of the ASUCD Judicial Council which serves as the head of the judicial branch of ASUCD. As one of the three branches of the ASUCD student government, Mikka has had to make unbiased decisions that represent ASUCD and UCD, ensuring their values and mission are upheld. In integrating her compassionate and understanding yet professional approach, she ensures that the needs of many are heard, advocated for, and fairly represented.
2021 UHP Student Community Service Award: Mukul Sharda, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior
The UHP Student Community Service Award recognizes one UHP student who has exhibited a commitment to giving back to the community during their undergraduate career. Inspired by their education and experiences, these students make themselves a resource to others in an equitable and sustainable way. This year's recipient is Mukul Sharda.
Over the past year (2020-2021), Mukul has served over 200 hours at Clinica Tepati, a health clinic serving the underserved and uninsured Latinx population of the Greater Sacramento area. Due to COVID-19, the clinic transitioned to telehealth as their primary way of providing basic healthcare. Mukul’s responsibilities included interpreting for the patient on the phone, scribing for the professional student/preceptor, and managing patient records. Mukul also created educational posters in both English and Spanish about COVID-19 and how to take the necessary precautions and how to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, during the pandemic.
Mukul also served as the liaison between the medical staff and the families of patients in the post-anesthesia care unit at Kaiser Permanente between 2018-2020. He recorded patient activity, communicated precisely with staff, volunteers, and family members, and facilitated physicians' postoperative reports to families while maintaining confidentiality of patients and staff. Being able to speak four languages, Mukul has also been able to translate and communicate important medical information to immigrants who do not speak English.
From 2018-2019, Mukul also tutored at the STEM Center at American River College helping first generation students, mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds, understand concepts in general chemistry, cell biology, and calculus.
2021 UHP Student Research and Innovation Award: Anysa Razaghzadeh, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior with a minor in Psychology and Global & International Studies
The UHP Student Research and Innovation Award recognizes one graduating UHP student who has demonstrated a commitment to academic rigor, creativity, learning, and exploration through a research or creative project. This student took the initiative to address and attempt to resolve an issue in an existing field of study or community. This year's recipient is Anysa Razaghzadeh.
Anysa’s signature work, “The Factors Associated with Social Cognition in Children with ASD”, examined the differences in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder without intellectual disability (ASD-WoID) and a typically developing (TD) comparison sample on measures of Theory of Mind (ToM) to test whether diagnostic groups differences could be explained in terms of variance on measures of working memory, inferential thinking, or verbal IQ (VIQ).
This study has important implications in schools as it found that children with autism spectrum disorder without intellectual disability do not match the cognitive abilities of their typically developing peers. Therefore, general education settings (which are not tailored to a neurodiverse population) may not be supportive of the cognitive differences seen in children with autism spectrum disorder. These findings encourage further development in inclusivity within the educational system.
Under the guidance of Dr. Peter Mundy, Anysa presented at 2020 Undergraduate Research Conference and the 2021 International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting.