Christal Wintersmith, Biomedical Engineering’s Graduate Student Affairs Officer, is the recipient of this year’s Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students. The award will be presented at the Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Symposium award ceremony and dinner on Friday, April 5th.

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group Chair Kent Leach says, “Christal is an invaluable strength of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group and go-to resource for our students and faculty alike. She always offers timely information, a kind ear, and a supportive voice, serving as a strong advocate for students to facilitate their academic goals.”

Christal organizes graduate student recruitment and orientation, helps plan the Alumni Seminar Series, helps students to find labs and teaching assistantships or with last minute paperwork, and guides the Biomedical Engineering Student Association (BESA) activities. She often gives up time on weekends or evenings to attend recruitment, retreats, or other social activities in order to get to know the graduate students better.

“I’m always amazed that Christal doesn’t have a secretary or helper, because as long as I’ve been at UC Davis these events have always run smoothly, growing in size and popularity year after year, with Christal in charge of everything from space reservation to decoration to food and beverage purchasing to faculty scheduling. She is the lifeblood of the department in many ways and there is no way the BME grad group would function as efficiently without her,” says graduate student Matt Soicher.

In addition, she has helped countless students as they transition to moving to Davis, navigate the graduate program, and look for job opportunities. Her door is always open, and she welcomes all questions and requests no matter how large or small.

Kristen Lipscomb, who will present the award, says “Christal helps to ensure that the needs of graduate students are heard by the department, and changes are made when necessary. I always know Christal is available whether I have an immediate concern regarding my degree, or just want to talk about what is going on this weekend.”

Christal says, “I am deeply honored to have been nominated and completely ecstatic to have been selected to receive the 2013 Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students. Working with graduate students at UC Davis and particularly the students of BME has been a joy. Our Biomedical Engineering Student Association is the most broadly active student group of any I have worked with and their involvement not only makes my job easier, but gives us the opportunity to do so much more to support the student body. Thank you all for your many words of appreciation. You are the reason I am here.”