he position of graduate student advisor to the dean on diversity, equity and inclusion was held first by Victoria Watson-Zink (center) who will be succeeded by Alexus Roberts (left) and Elena Suglia (right). (Sasha Bakhter / UC Davis)
The position of graduate student advisor to the dean on diversity, equity and inclusion was held first by Victoria Watson-Zink (center) who will be succeeded by Alexus Roberts (left) and Elena Suglia (right). (Sasha Bakhter / UC Davis)

DEI Graduate Student Advisor to CBS Dean Reflects on Positive Impact, Successors, Moving on to Stanford University

For the past two years, Population Biology Ph.D. Candidate Victoria Watson-Zink hasn’t solely spent her time at the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences studying the intricacies of land crab genetics. When she wasnt in the lab, conducting fieldwork or teaching classes, Watson-Zink, a first-generation college student, dedicated her time to making the college a more welcoming and equitable place for its underrepresented students.

As the first graduate student advisor to the dean on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Watson-Zink spearheaded numerous efforts to help the UC Davis community address past and current racial inequities. 

As Watson-Zink readies for graduation, she’s finishing her tenure as graduate student advisor to the dean on DEI. Soon, shell head to Stanford University, where shell conduct postdoctoral research on her scuttling research subjects as a joint Stanford Science Fellow and NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology.

Though Watson-Zink will soon leave the UC Davis campus, the future of her soon-to-be-vacated position is bright. Thanks to increased funding, the college is expanding the graduate student advisor role from a single position to two positions. Alexus Roberts and Elena Suglia, both Ph.D. candidates in the Population Biology Graduate Group, will succeed Watson-Zink.