Ling, of Sunnyvale, will receive the award during commencement ceremonies for the College of Creative Studies (CCS) at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 8 in UCSB's Campbell Hall.
The award is given annually to a graduating senior who has performed exceptional research while an undergraduate at UCSB. About 25 percent of all undergraduates at UCSB are involved in organized research efforts, working on teams with graduate students and faculty mentors. The campus distributes about $200,000 per year in undergraduate research grants.
Ling, who was enrolled in the Biology Program at CCS and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, participated in a variety of research projects while at UCSB.
Working with marine biologist Alice Alldredge, Ling took part in revealing studies of the marine food chain. He participated in the UC Education Abroad Program's Costa Rica Tropical Biology Program. And, working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, he studied the mutualistic relationship between the fig wasp and figs.
Away from the lab, Ling earned high praise for two classes he organized and taught: The Nature of the Mind, and How Science Works.
In supporting Ling's candidacy for the research award, his backers were unusually lavish with their praise.
"Shine is exceptionally bright and easily the most highly motivated and scientifically sophisticated undergraduate I have met in my 25 years here at UCSB," said Alldredge, a professor of marine biology who specializes in marine plankton. "Ten years from now, I expect Shine to be one of the broadest thinkers in evolutionary biology."
William Ashby, CCS provost, was also unusually laudatory: "Shine Ling is the most pro-active undergraduate that I have ever known in my 10 years on this campus."
Armand Kuris, CCS associate provost and a professor of marine biology, concluded his nomination of Ling for the research award by saying: "All of this intellectual ferment, focused research and leadership strongly suggest to me that I will know this undergraduate student as a professional colleague for the rest of my career. He will assume a prominent place in international science."
Ling said he was grateful for the help of his professors and for the opportunities provided at UCSB.
"I've been fortunate in being able to build upon an environment at UC Santa Barbara that allowed me to follow my curiosity," he said. "I will continue to do so wherever it takes me."