Some students accomplish so much during college, others endure so much to even get there, and still others manage to do both. For their outstanding leadership and extraordinary services to California State University, Dominguez Hills and surrounding communities, students nominated by their peers and members of the faculty were honored at the Second Annual President’s Student Leadership and Service Awards held in the Loker Student Union ballroom on April 25.
“We are acknowledging leadership. We are acknowledging relationships. We are acknowledging stewardship.” CSU Dominguez Hills President Mildred García said.
This year, two female students were honored with both the Presidential Outstanding Student Award and the Presidential Award for Personal Perseverance: Ludivina Vasquez and Pamela Lane.
Psychology major Vasquez was described in one of the applications nominating her as “the type of student every professor dreams of having.” The graduating senior is not only a Minority Biomedical Research Support Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS RISE) scholar but also serves as a teaching and research assistant in the psychology department all while maintaining a 3.5 GPA.
Vasquez wasn’t expected to go on to college, having not received encouragement in that direction from her childhood teachers. Then in high school she endured a number of hardships, including nearly losing her mother to a brain tumor, experiencing violence at school, and family financial hardships; however, she persevered and graduated in three years.
Vasquez was presenting at the Western Psychological Association’s 2012 Convention and unable to be at the event; her parents and brother accepted the award on her behalf.
With an overall GPA of 3.84, Lane is completing her final semester in the School of Nursing Master’s Entry-level Professional Nursing (MEPN) program and is considered one of the program’s stellar students. Lane’s life has not been an easy one. As a young child, she suffered physical and emotional abuse and experienced parental abandonment. Additionally she was labeled retarded due to an inaccurate diagnosis of dyslexia. Homeless at 16, Lane became a high school drop out. After three years of being homeless, she was abducted and held captive for a year. In her early 20s she was involved in a head-on automobile collision that led to two years of reconstructive facial surgery. Through all of this, she lost her two brothers. With determination and hard work she was able to excel and gain entrance into the School of Nursing MEPN program.
Also winning the Presidential Outstanding Student Award was Dora Baldwin. Baldwin is a graduating senior majoring in business administration. She is a Dean’s List student who has served in two officer positions for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and is a resident assistant in University Housing. In both capacities she displayed a commitment to giving back, from organizing a bowl-a-thon to raise money for the Junior Achievement Foundation to volunteer efforts in support of breast cancer awareness, Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Bubbles for Troubles in support of the elderly.
Before announcing the three 2012 Presidential Outstanding Student Award recipients, García told all of the nominees, “Many people, including those of us at CSU Dominguez Hills, have very high expectations of you. And tonight you are being honored because you have already exceeded those expectations.”
Other Presidential Outstanding Student nominees were Ernesto Arreola (marketing), Gabreelyn Daniels (child development), Manuel Diaz (kinesiology), Taurest Dillard (business administration), Miami Gelvezon (child development), Beverly Gonzales (liberal studies), Mariya Groysman (clinical laboratory), Josephine Lara (kinesiology/health sciences), Vanessa Lopez (labor studies), Takreem Aaron-Lyday (human services), Shoaib Madar (health science), Cory Moody (computer science), Heheruza Plata (sociology), Victor Reyes (labor studies), Keyiona Ritchey (human service), Jessica Russell (communications), Desmond Smith (history/Africana studies), and Richard Yoo (business administration).
Other nominees for personal perseverance were Mauricio Amaral (English), Urbano Cielo (sociology), Delphine Emoka (biology), Pamela Lane (nursing), Desmond Smith (history/Africana studies), Mary Parga Thompson (labor studies), Ludivina Vasquez (psychology), and Joshua Williams (communications).
Recipients of the inaugural Passport to Leadership Certificate were students who completed interactive leadership workshops, seminars and diversity chats, and a required 5-hour experiential component. The recipients were Michelle Hoinsky, Vernita Randall, Brandy Prado Velasquez, Alma Dorothy Ramirez, Janelle Rockwell, Ruby Chavez, and Myles Thompson.
The President’s Student Leadership and Service Awards includes four awards to student organization: the Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Organization, the Presidential Award for Outstanding Program, and the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement by a Student Organization with 6 to 15 member and for 16 or more members.
The Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Organization went to the American Marketing Association (AMA) for their outreach to the campus community and for their participation at a conference where members attended professional development seminars and workshops, and to E.N.G.A.G.E. (Enhanced Networking and Group Activities for Gains in Education), for their involvement in community service projects, coordinating a beach cleanup, and food and clothes drives.
Other nominees were Pre-Health Society, Sigma Lambda Beta, Sociology Club, T.O.R.O. Network.
The Presidential Award for Outstanding Program was awarded to two student organizations for outstanding contributions to the community or campus. AMA was again honored, for their community project, “Get Off Your Can,” through which 1,055 cans of food were contributed to the CSU Dominguez Hills food bank. Also receiving the award was the Latino Student Business Association for their project, “Going Green,” which partnered with two corporate sponsors to give away hundreds of reusable shopping bags in the community in an effort to reduce the amount of trash in the ocean. Members also swept areas where there was litter and trash.
Other nominees were Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity for “A Day Without Shoes,” Gamma Zeta Alpha for their extensive overall involvement in Campus Life, T.O.R.O. Network (Teach One Reach One) for their EOP outreach and recruitment play.
Receiving the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement by a Student Organization in the 6 to 15 member category was T.O.R.O. Network for their outreach to high schools to speak with students about seeking guidance and the importance of pursuing a degree in higher education. In the 16 or more members category, CSUDH Chapter of Psi Chi was honored for sharing information with psychology majors on how to gain admission into graduate school, and for delivering presentations at national conferences.
Other nominees for the award are the CSUDH Anthropology Club, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
For outstanding support and exceptional personal commitment to a student group, Greg Saks, vice president for university advancement, presented the Presidential Advisor of the Year Award to Juan Holguin, assistant professor of marketing and faculty advisor for the American Marketing Association. Under Holguin’s guidance, the organization’s membership has grown to more than 40 students. Saks said the students speak of Holguin as a role model, mentor, reference guide, comedian, walking encyclopedia, and inspirational friend.
Other nominees for advisor of the year were Lorna Brilliantes-Diaz, Nursing Student Organization; Dr. Thomas Landefeld, Pre-Health Society; Mark A Kerr Jr., Anime Club; Dr. Sofia Pappatheodorou, Science Society.
Sue Borrego, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, presented a plaque on behalf of her department, the Office of Student Life, and the Presidential Awards Committee, to García in recognition of her commitment to student leadership and for establishing the President’s Student Leadership and Service Awards.
“The highest praise you can give a college president, is to say that she is student centered,” Borrego said.
Providing evidence of that, last year’s inaugural Outstanding Student Award recipients, Ashley Clark and Manuel Diaz, spoke about the creation of the President’s Awards and how receiving the awards has helped them advance toward their degrees.
The event was sponsored by the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, the Office of the President, Office of Student Life, Campus Dining Services, and Loker Student Union, Inc.