de Leon receives first-ever Maize Genetics Leadership Award

Natalia de Leon, professor in the department of agronomy, recently received the inaugural Leadership Award from the Maize Genetics Cooperation. The Maize Genetics Leadership Award recognizes maize cooperators who have inspired the lives and careers of other maize researchers through mentorship, leadership, outreach, and education, with a special emphasis on those who have shown a strong impact in the areas of inclusion, diversity and equity.

During the virtual award presentation, de Leon was noted for her service on the UW-Madison Committee on Women and the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee, which she co-chairs. She has advised 23 graduate students and post-docs, served on 83 graduate student committees and mentored 40 undergraduates.

Award chair Edward Buckler said, “Natalia has been a role model in training, showing that science can be fun; that no obstacle is too big and that we can take on any challenge that science and society present.”

To be eligible for this award, a cooperator needs to have done outstanding work in the areas of mentorship, education, outreach, or community leadership in areas of inclusion, diversity, and equity; and been an active member of the maize genetics community for at least five years.