Sally J. Rogers, UC Davis professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was honored on Monday during the Breaking the Glass Ceiling Awards of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. The awards celebrate the successes of California women in breaking barriers in the fields of science, technology, the arts, the judiciary and beyond. The ceremony was part of the Assembly’s celebration of Women’s History Month during the Floor Session.
“Today we’re celebrating pioneers in science, civil rights, the arts, education, our armed forces, our courts, and our government,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, (D-Long Beach), chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “In each of our honorees we see the best of the California spirit.”
Rogers was one of 11 award recipients. She was acknowledged as the developer of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) method of early autism intervention. The intervention is effective for improving cognition and language skills among very young children with autism, normalizing their brain activity, decreasing their autism symptoms and improving their social skills. A study of ESDM by Rogers and her colleagues was named number five among the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2012 by TIME magazine.
“The glass ceiling, the invisible barrier that holds people back due to perceptions based on characteristics not related to their abilities, impedes people with autism, just as it does women and other groups,” Rogers said of receiving the accolade. “We hope that our work in early autism will help some of these children break glass ceilings for themselves as they grow up.”
Other honorees included, Frances A. Arnold, co-founder of Gevo, Inc., and the only woman to receive the Draper Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering; Weili Dai, co-founder of the Marvell Technology Group and the only woman co-founder of a global semiconductor company; Marie Zoe Dunning, graduate of the United States Naval Academy, one of the first military members to be prosecuted under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” and Jennifer Harris Trosper, who sent two rovers to Mars as part of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission.