Alex Arnold, Janet Napolitano and Gene Block

Credit: Robert Durell

Alex Arnold, recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Student Leadership, receives her commemorative plaque from UC President Janet Napolitano, with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block on the right.

University of California President Janet Napolitano honored two students from UCLA and UC San Diego on Thursday (May 16) with her annual President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership.

“Student activism and public service have been a hallmark of the University of California and its students for 150 years,” Napolitano said. “This year’s winners represent the best of that tradition.”

Napolitano presented plaques to the recipients during a meeting of the UC Board of Regents.

This year’s honorees are:

Alex Arnold, UCLA, for exceptional leadership in student mentorship and building pathways to STEM higher education for underrepresented students.

Arnold, a graduate student studying climate science at UCLA, has been instrumental in the creation of Environmental Justice and First Nations, and developed an inclusive academic collaboration with Navajo Technical University. She has also taken an active role in UCLA’s Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, as well as the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science at UCLA.

Enid Partika with Chancellor Khosla
Enid Partika is introduced by UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.
Credit: Robert Durell

Enid Partika, for her work to help advance the university’s carbon neutrality and Global Food Initiative efforts.

Partika, a fourth-year environmental chemistry major, has been building an anaerobic digester, which works to turn food waste into fertilizer and biogas, on the UC San Diego campus.

Over the course of the academic year, her team collected more than 41,000 pounds of food waste, succeeding in sequestering the equivalent of 6,637 pounds of carbon dioxide. She was recently awarded a 2019 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for her work.

Enid Partika and Alex Arnold
Enid Partika and Alex Arnold display their commemorative plaques.
Credit: Robert Durell