UCI News

Seven faculty members named 2021-22 Hellman Fellows

June 23, 2021
Seven faculty members named 2021-22 Hellman Fellows
L to R: Adriana Villavicencio, Adeyemi Adeleye, Vibhuti Ramachandran, Celia Symons, Judit Romhanyi, Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen, Christopher Seeds

Seven assistant professors at UCI will receive $50,000 Hellman Fellowships, which are bestowed annually to support research by junior faculty. They join an elite group of 63 UCI Hellman Fellows since 2013, when the Hellman Fellows Fund established the program here. The program began in 1995 at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego and has since expanded organically to all UC institutions. In 2020, after 25 years of funding the Program, the Hellman family generously established an endowment to allow the program to continue in perpetuity across UC’s 10 campuses.

The 2021-22 awardees, representing a cross-section of disciplines, are:

Adriana Villavicencio, assistant professor in the School of Education, for her proposal “Disrupting Racism in Schools: Studying the Outcomes of a Yearlong Racial Justice Program.”

Christopher Seeds, assistant professor of criminology, law and society, for his proposal “Care in the End: Understanding Incarcerated People’s Decisions about End of Life and Best Practices for Prison Hospice.”

Vibhuti Ramachandran, assistant professor of global and international studies, for her proposal: “Producing the Trafficked Victim: Law, Prostitution, and NGO Intervention in India.”

Celia Symons, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, for her proposal “Resilience to heatwaves: The consequences of multiple and interacting forms of thermal variability.”

Judit Romhanyi, assistant professor of physics, for her proposal “Z2 or not Z2? Topological protection in quantum magnets.”

Adeyemi Adeleye, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, for his proposal “Remediation of Metal-Contaminated Agricultural Soils Using Nanotechnology and Machine Learning.”

Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen, assistant professor of law, for their proposal “Rethinking Inclusion: Equity and Diversity Performance(s) in Legal Organizations and Pipelines.”

“UCI is committed to fostering cutting edge research that positively impacts our local and global community,” said Diane O’Dowd, vice provost for academic personnel and professor of developmental & cell biology. “We are pleased to announce the newest cohort of Hellman Fellows, seven outstanding junior faculty, innovative leaders in a broad array of disciplines. We are grateful to the Hellman Fellows Fund for its generosity and commitment to help early-career scholars advance their research.”

Chris and Warren Hellman began providing early-career funding to junior faculty at UC campuses and four private institutions in 1994. Since then, more than 1,900 individuals have been recipients. The grants may be used for such research purposes as equipment, travel, photography and graduate assistants. The purpose of the program is to support the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research. Funds awarded are intended as one-time support for activities that will enhance the individual’s progress towards tenure.