All-female alumni association honors UC Berkeley law professor with 25K grant

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The Prytanean Women’s Honor Society awarded campus assistant professor of law Andrea Roth with its faculty award and a $25,000 grant at the University House on Wednesday.

Chancellor Carol Christ, an honorary member of the Prytanean Alumnae Association, and Prytanean Alumnae Association President Kristen Lee introduced Roth from the grand staircase of the University House.

The Prytanean Faculty Award has been given to distinguished female junior faculty members annually since 1986. The society is the oldest collegiate women’s honorary society in the United States and is made up of more than 2,500 members. Past recipients have used the unrestricted grant for various reasons, such as child-care, transportation to research sites, hiring research assistants and equipment.

“The unrestricted funds (maximize) flexibility in terms of what to use the money for … to maximize one’s scholarly impact and to stay prolific,” Roth said in an interview with The Daily Californian.

Lee called the ceremony a “unique reception and a first for us,” as Christ is the first female chancellor to introduce the award.

Roth joined Berkeley Law as a faculty member in 2011 and has since won the Rutter Award for Teaching and the Boalt Hall Women’s Association Teaching Award as a co-recipient. Prior to joining Berkeley Law faculty, she had a three-year teaching fellowship at Stanford Law School and served as a trial and appellate attorney at the public defender’s office in Washington, D.C.

Roth’s areas of interest include prosecution defense and lay jurors’s ability to incorporate and evaluate forensic science and machine-generated evidence, as well as marijuana and criminal law.

In her acceptance speech for the award, Roth stated that she was “overwhelmed with gratitude and inspiration” to be in the presence of distinguished faculty, students and the first female campus chancellor. Roth added that she plans to use the money to finish her most recent research project on a “large but understudied” DNA database created in the Orange County prosecutor’s office.

“This award will allow me to pursue a book project on the rise of machines and algorithms in criminal justice that will take extensive research assistance,” Roth said during her address. “(And) to attend a training in empirical methods, and to attend a number of international conferences that will lend a new comparative perspective to my work on technology and criminal justice.”

Roth is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with degrees in mathematics and political science. She earned her J.D. degree at Yale Law School.

More than 30 alumni, faculty and staff members were present at the ceremony, including first Prytanean award recipient and campus professor of chemistry Angelica Stacy, longtime association member Elaine Anderson and executive director of the Cal Alumni Association Cloey Hewlett.

“This award is the greatest honor of my adult professional life,” Roth said. “I cannot tell you how grateful I am to receive it.”

Contact Cade Johnson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.