Annaliese Franz with Chancellor May, the Hanson Family, and student recipients
Professor Annaliese Franz (right) celebrates the student recipients of the Hanson Family Undergraduate Research Publication Award, instituted in 2016, with Chancellor May and donors Steve and Karen Hanson.

Celebrating Annaliese Franz's Leadership at the Undergraduate Research Center

Chemistry professor Annaliese Franz will transition out of her role as faculty director of the Undergraduate Research Center at the end of summer. Franz has brought extraordinary energy and focus to the center, which facilitates research opportunities for UC Davis undergraduates. The center has grown in scope, influence and impact on campus and systemwide, expanding externally funded projects, philanthropic donations, and research support and opportunities for students.

New Programs, Grants, and Awards

Franz spearheaded new programs including the Research Rockstars Undergraduate Slam video competition, the Innovation Institute for Food and Health Undergraduate Research Fellows program, and the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors. The Center also built new partnerships with the University Library, Global Affairs, and Office of Sustainability, and strengthened existing partnerships with Student Affairs, Graduate Studies, and the colleges.

Annaliese Franz applauds enthusiastically while Lolita Adkins speaks at a podium.
Annaliese Franz applauds enthusiastically at a CAMP Symposium while program manager Lolita Adkins speaks.

Two substantial new awards were endowed with Franz’s advocacy: the Hanson Family Undergraduate Research Publication Award, which recognizes students who publish in peer reviewed journals, and the Dean Keith Simonton Prize for Creativity in Undergraduate Research, awarded to students in the second or third year. 

Advancing Participation by Underrepresented Students

Franz has advanced the center's important role in engaging and advancing underrepresented students in research through mentorship and skills development. As campus PI, Franz renewed and expanded UC Davis’ participation in the systemwide NSF Louis Stokes California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) Program. She also promoted expansion of mentorship programs in Mathematical and Physical Sciences and HArCS. Her passionate commitment to diversity, equity, and the pursuit of inclusive excellence also extended to membership in multiple campus committees and working groups.

As an NSF LSAMP/CAMP Scholar and an undergraduate researcher, I have received invaluable advice and support [from Professor Franz]. Her enthusiasm for the CAMP program and scholars never goes unnoticed. I was especially moved when she took time out of her day to help me practice my presentation skills and improve on my delivery for a research symposium presentation. She not only helped me structure my research presentation to appeal to all audiences, but her efforts reflected how much she shows up for her community of students and researchers . -Kiya Jackson, Third-year, Biological Sciences, NSF CAMP

Promoting Research in the Remote Environment 

Franz led the conversion to remote of all of the center’s offerings, beginning with the spring 2020 Undergraduate Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities Conference. Virtual summer programming and the Discovery Café workshop series launched during the pandemic significantly expanded the URC’s outreach to students across campus. This year alone, more than 1000 students directly benefitted from URC programming, funding and/or mentoring as awardees, presenters, fellows, mentees, emerging scholars and scholars. 

Dr. Franz has remained active in her own research and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students. She received the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching/Mentoring in 2018 and was promoted to full professor in 2020. She looks forward to continuing collaborations with the URC and UE.  She will continue in her role as PI/Director for the UC Davis NSF LSAMP/CAMP Program and HHMI Driving Change Initiative.  

An internal search for a new Faculty Director of the URC will launch this summer.