Hellman Fellows: Early-Career Faculty Going Places

Alex Forrest and glider
Alexander Forrest has done research in Antarctica (he’s pictured here at Terra Nova Bay at the bottom of the Earth), and, for his Hellman fellowship, he’s doing research near the top of the world, in the Canadian Arctic. (Damien Guihen/University of Tasmania photo)

Academic Affairs Vice Provost Phil Kass announced the 2017 UC Davis Hellman Fellows: 15 assistant professors who have been awarded a total of $294,300 in research support.

Phil Kass mugshot

“Altruistic vision inspired the Hellman family to start this program more than 20 years ago, and it has endured through the Hellman Fellows Fund,” Kass said, “enhancing the trajectories of our early-career faculty of whom we are so proud.”

The San Francisco family provided the first Hellman fellowships in 1994 at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley in support of early-career faculty research. The fellows program has expanded to all 10 UCs (it’s the only privately funded, systemwide program) and to four private institutions — supporting more than 100 junior faculty members annually.


Hellman fellowships are awarded through a competitive selection process on each campus. Preference is given to faculty members who exhibit the potential for great academic distinction, but who have garnered only modest support and have not received other young investigator awards.

UC Davis has distributed $2.75 million in funding over the last 10 years. “Not only do the Hellman funds help support the success of the fellows, but our graduate students — our future faculty — reap the rewards as well.”

In the 2017-18 funding cycle, the campus awarded fellowships of $5,000 to $43,000 to the following faculty members, in support of 14 projects (also listed). Links are provided to project descriptions, if available on the Hellman Fellows website.

Hellman Fellows, 6 mugshots
Hellman Fellows, from left: Top row — Cuellar, Dimofte, Donadio and Forrest. Bottom row — Hare and Hosek (joint project).
Hellman Fellows, 9 mugshots
Hellman Fellows, from left: Top row — Jacob, Kahn, Lee, McCourt and Rubio. Bottom row — Rulli, Taha, Townsend and Zellou.

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