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Two UCR Faculty Members Honored For Excellence in the Classroom, Lab

Two UCR Faculty Members Honored For Excellence in the Classroom, Lab

(June 12, 2000)

The 1999-2000 Non-Senate Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards at the University of California, Riverside have been awarded to researcher Nick Toscano, who helped combat the silverleaf whitefly, and German lecturer Sylvia Ochs, noted for her devotion to students.

These awards recognize members of the UCR faculty who do not hold ladder-rank professorships, but posts as lecturers, instructors or researchers. Only people who are not members of the Academic Senate are eligible for this annual award.

Toscano, who earned his Ph.D. at UCR in 1972, is nationally and internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of entomology. In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), their highest accolade for service.

He researches techniques to combat pesticide resistance. His work was crucial to alleviating the devastating impact of the silverleaf whitefly on cotton, melon, forage, and vegetable crops in the southwestern United States.

Currently, Toscano is helping to solve two new critical pest problems -- the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which is threatening the California wine and table-grape industry; and the pink hibiscus mealybug, a potentially devastating pest discovered in the Imperial Valley which could damage grapes and citrus.

Ochs, who has taught at UCR for 15 years, directs UCR's German program in the Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages. Her students describe her as skilled, demanding and caring. She completed her B.A. and M.A. degrees at UCR and served as a teaching assistant in 1981 and 1983. She holds a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from UCR Extension.

Outside the classroom, Ochs devotes time beyond her normal office hours to counseling students about academics as well as personal issues and career goals, according to her students.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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