Tears, inspiration at ceremony honoring civic-minded

Farrah Moos and Christopher Ategeka

Honorees Farrah Moos and Christopher Ategeka

More than a few in the room fought back tears as students, faculty, community partners and alums were honored for their civic-minded contributions at Monday’s 2012 Public-Service Awards ceremony.

Proud family members were among the crowd of several hundred in Sibley Auditorium as honorees were announced and welcomed to the stage by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Megan Vorhees, director of the Cal Corps Public Service Center, and Julie Sinai, the campus’s director of community relations.

Attorney and former criminal prosecutor Patricia Kinaga  (’77, City Planning) was given the 2011 Peter E. Haas Public Service Award, in honor of decades of public service to Los Angeles’ Asian-American community.

Public-service award winners

Undergraduate Award for Civic Engagement
Andrew Flood, Huong Tran, Uriel Lopez

Graduate Student Award for Civic Engagement
Christopher Ategeka, Lara Roman

Faculty Award for Civic Engagement
Dr. Robert Ratner, UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health

Research in the Public Interest Award
Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch, School of Public Health and College of Natural Resources

Faculty Service-Learning Leadership Award
Claudia Albano, lecturer, School of Social Welfare

Student Group Awards for Civic Engagement
Alternative Breaks, The Music Connection

Campus-Community Partnership Award
Berkeley United in Literacy Development (BUILD)
Building a Healthy and Sustainable Richmond: Y-Plan

Mather Award for Good Citizenship
Farrah Moos, undergraduate

2011 Peter E. Haas Public Service Award
Patricia Kinaga, ’77 MCP

In her address, Kinaga said she drew inspiration from her parents, who met in a World War II Japanese-American internment camp, and by her father’s willingness, despite that experience, to volunteer for the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated and highly decorated all-Japanese WWII unit.

Kinaga recounted how, at one point in her work as a community organizer, she became aware of Korean-American women’s reluctance to report domestic violence in their homes. It’s a testament to “the power of believing,” Kinaga said, that she — “an attorney, not a filmmaker” — brought into existence a documentary on the subject, the Emmy-nominated About Love.

Honoree Christopher Ategeka, a mechanical-engineering grad student, started out as an orphan in Uganda. It was the help of others, including his adoptive parents, that “got me from the jungles of Africa” all the way to the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, said Ategeka, winner of the Graduate Award for Civic Engagement.

As “a giveback to my community,” he founded and directs CA Bikes Uganda, which builds wheelchairs for orphans, HIV-positive individuals and others in Uganda with mobility issues. He noted that a Judith Lee Stronach grant from the campus “gave me the launching pad to start the organization.”

More than a dozen others were honored for exceptional civic engagement, research in the public interest, faculty service-learning leadership, campus-community partnership and good citizenship.