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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology professor donates UC Davis teaching prize

The professor, John Eadie, will use the prize money to establish a scholarship to promote diversity within the WFC department


By RACHEL GAUER— campus@theaggie.org


John Eadie, a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology (WFC) was recently awarded the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, according to a recent press release. The prize is awarded annually and honors a member of the faculty who is an exceptional teacher, lecturer and scholar. Eadie is the 36th recipient of the award. 

Eadie arrived at UC Davis in 1995 and has served as both the Dennis G. Raveling Endowed Chair in waterfowl biology and the WFC department chair. 

“After 28 years of teaching here, I still love what I do, and I’m still passionate,” Eadie said. “It’s an honor to work with students, and they keep me young. It’s just like — wow, I get paid for this?”

 Alexandria Ginez, a third-year WFC major who currently serves as a peer advisor in the department, commented on their experiences with Eadie.  

“My peer advising office is directly across from [Eadie’s], so I see him a lot,” Ginez said. “He is always just a ray of sunshine in the office; he’s really great to work with and talk to. If anything were to change my life goal from working with fish to working with birds, it would be John Eadie.”

Ginez has also taken WFC 111, “Biology and Conservation of Wild Birds,” with Eadie as a professor. The course is offered every fall quarter. 

“Every lecture was just so interesting, and he was really into the topic and very passionate about it,” Ginez said. “He had almost everyone attending on a regular basis. [It] tells you something if a professor can get everyone up before 9 a.m. to go listen to a lecture about birds.”

Annie Maliguine, a UC Davis alumna, graduated from the WFC program in 2018 and currently studies arctic sea ducks through a University of Alaska graduate program. Maliguine spoke on the influence Eadie had on her professional goals.

“He is someone who definitely influenced my whole career path,” Maliguine said. “I chose the WFC major initially when I was enrolled at UC Davis, but it wasn’t until I took [Eadie’s] bird class that I decided to pursue a career working with birds. I didn’t really even know that would be something I’d be interested in.” 

Maliguine said that she still keeps in touch with Eadie and has even gone to him for career advice. 

“He’s really approachable to everybody because he’s such a goofy guy,” Maliguine said. “Especially when you’re in a class full of so many other students, it can be scary to approach professors. But with him, he is just a big goofball and talking to him feels really easy.” 

The award also includes a monetary prize of $60,000, which Eadie has decided to use to establish a scholarship for underrepresented students in the WFC department. 

“I want to focus on what we can do to help students get hands-on experience without being financially or otherwise challenged,” Eadie said. “And especially what we can do to bring in new students that don’t know this is even a possibility for them. We really need to be training our next generation of professionals to better represent society as a whole.” 

Eadie explained that he and his wife, Jane Eadie, who currently works on the Chancellor’s Board of Advisors, wanted to create this scholarship in order to increase the number of professionals in the wildlife biology field with diverse cultural backgrounds and provide greater opportunities to incoming students. 

“With the prize money, it was a no-brainer,” Eadie said. “It is a great jump-start, and we can establish it right away. Jane and I, and perhaps others, will hopefully contribute continuously throughout the years.”

The scholarship has now been signed off on and will be available for incoming undergraduate students in the WFC department for the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Eadie reflected on his overall experience working at UC Davis, given that he is planning to leave the university next year. 

“I [plan] to retire in a year from now,” Eadie said. “[Davis] has been such a great campus to work at; the students are great and the staff are fantastic, and our department is amazing. It’s just been a really great ride. I feel pretty lucky– I don’t know how I got so lucky.”


. Written by: Rachel Gauer — campus@theaggie.org