More than 100 nominations were submitted for the 2015 President’s Student Leadership and Service Awards to honor both students for their service to the campus and community and their academic excellence, as well as staff and faculty who support them in those efforts.
The university celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of the nominees and the ultimate winners during a reception on April 28 in the Loker Student Union Ballroom.
University President Willie J. Hagan commended all the nominees for their active participation on campus and noted that student involvement “plays a major role in defining the vision for the future of this campus and as they work with other students, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the community in helping this vision come about.”
But beyond the impression the students will leave on campus is the impact they are having on themselves. Reciting two famous quotes: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” and “Leadership is an action not a position” Hagan told the nominees that he is confident that the examples they are setting and the actions they are taking now are just the beginning of what they will do in the future.
“Because you were raised here at CSU Dominguez Hills by our great faculty, our great staff, and our other students, when you go on to become leaders, I’m convinced you’re going to lead with integrity, that you’re going to lead by example, and you’re going to be deemed leaders by virtue of your actions and not by the positions that you hold.,” he said.
A ‘Standing O’ for students who persevered
Eight awards were handed out during the evening, but one award made the audience rise to give a standing ovation.
In presenting the Presidential Award for Personal Perseverance, William Franklin, acting vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, recalled how moved he and the other selection committee members were when they read the 25 nominations for this award. The stories that were told, he said, were of “adversity and challenges that no one should ever have to face:” homelessness, violence, learning disabilities, mental and physical health problems, great financial hardships, and alcohol and drug addiction. One student who was a political refugee from central West Africa who witnessed many atrocities, and a 55-year-old mother who sacrificed her educational dreams for 30 years so her son could go to school.
But despite all they’ve gone through and still struggle with, these individuals are excelling. They are active in student clubs, on campus boards of directors, are in scholars programs, have been accepted to graduate schools, and have competed in Ironman triathlons. They are mentors, role models, volunteers and guides.
That is why the committee decided to do something unprecedented.
“For the first time since the inception of this award every nominee wins,” Franklin announced to cheers. “CSU Dominguez Hills is better because these individuals came our way, and we plan to recognize all of you this year. Their lives teach us that you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
He then called each of the nominees to the stage to receive a special medallion and be recognized:
Presidential Award for Personal Perseverance
Honors a graduating senior who has overcome academic, social, and/or personal adversity and yet persevered toward earning a degree.
|Alan Barrera, senior, Spanish
|Victoria Grimes, senior, art: studio art
|Jurizz Barroga, senior, theatre arts: dance
|Hershell Hardimon Jr., senior, business administration: management and human resources
|Deisy Olmos, senior, psychology
|Gina Caballero, senior, liberal studies
|James Hill, senior, psychology
|Teresa Payne, senior, psychology
|Robert Camacho, senior, pre-physical therapy
|Alma Jimenez, senior, child development
|Jorge Perez, senior, health sciences
|Sunny Hong Chen, senior, psychology
|Anthony Jones, senior, biochemistry
|Johnathan Quevedo, senior, political science
|Tori Correia, senior, business administration: management and human resources
|Patrick Kamgang, senior, biology: cellular and molecular
|Jose Rios, senior, interdisciplinary studies
|LaDawn Dixon, senior, human services
|Summer King, senior, public administration: health services
|Tiana Smith, senior, physical education
|Ciannie Franco, senior, physics
|Cynthia Martinez, senior, child development and family services
|Marsha Vargas, senior, business administration: finance
Six other 2015 President’s Leadership and Service Awards were also handed to 10 students and four student organizations during the reception. They are as follows:
Marilyn Brady Award for Distinguished Service
Honors the life and legacy of CSUDH alumna and long-term staff member and recognizes a faculty member or staff member for going above and beyond his or her role on campus and for an unwavering commitment to the campus and students.
Each year, Crisostomo academically advises between 500 and 700 students. Known for being personable and caring, she works with each student to help him or her make progress toward their degree. Even with that heavy workload, she manages to also run the day-to-day administrative aspects of the department, as well as be an active participant in department and university initiatives, and serve as a recruiter at community colleges transfer events, and conferences about liberal studies and the College of Education.
Because she is considered a catalyst for new opportunities, a community builder and a strong collaborator with faculty and staff, Londy is much sought-after to serve on campus committees. This past year alone, she served on 16 committees for the university, including all cultural graduations, the LGBTQ Safe Space Committee, the committee for AB540 students, Freshman Convocation and Welcome Week, to name a few. This is on top of the 45 programs she is actively involved in as coordinator of the Multicultural Center. The awards committee agreed that her unique combination of commitment to CSUDH, work ethic, skills and knowledge captures the spirit of the award.
Presidential Award for Innovation in Leadership
Celebrates a student for his/her innovative ideas in the academic field, community and/or campus.
This year, Rodriguez was instrumental in the development of the first Arab heritage festival on campus that was praised for its authenticity by the university’s Middle Eastern students. She also chaired the Dia de Los Muertos program this year, which was the largest in recent history. As executive vice president of ASI, she is not only a student voice and a student advocate but is also a community building that is focused on the collective betterment of the university community. She has served on several search committees including the hiring committees for several deans, faculty, staff and vice presidents.
As an associate facilitator for the CSUDH Department of Theatre Arts and Dance Performance Studies and Arts Research Collective, Stewart was instrumental in the collective’s success this year. She helped identify events to host that would engage members, including a visit from McArthur Genius Fellow, playwright Tarell McCraney, and spearheaded the writing of innovative abstracts that were ultimately accepted to present at several conferences. She has received a special invite to present her research on identity in the arts at an autoethnography conference in Melbourne, Australia, and invited to publish in a peer review journal. In addition, she is founding president of the Performing Arts Club, which this year hosted poetry mic nights and improvisation workshops.
Presidential Award for Advisor of the Year
Honors a club/organization adviser who has demonstrated outstanding support and personal commitment to a student organization.
Taverez has focused on helping the OLE club he advises raise awareness, focus on diversity, bring students to CSUDH, and connect CSUDH to the community. He has supported and guided the student organization to host special events as …. “Jesuit Culture in Latin America,” “Mexican Cuisine: A History,” “Pinata Lecture and workshop,” “Cultural Festival of Central America,” among others. He has connected OLE to professors from UCLA, USC and Harvard and renowned artists to speak on campus. Taverez also has promoted CSUDH at local high schools and community colleges, and given students opportunities to attend and present at conferences.
Presidential Award for Outstanding Program
Honors a Student Organization that has either planned and implemented an outstanding community service program off campus, planned and implemented an on-campus event that substantially contributed to the quality of student life or educated students about important social issues and positively impacted the campus community.
Each year the Black Student Union organizes and hosts a fashion show that attracts nearly 600 attendees. This year’s Kings N Queens Fashion Show not only showcased designers and models on campus but also raised money for autism. Months of planning went into the elaborate and detailed event, from production and staging to model training, and arranging volunteers. The event was a partnership with Toro Productions, the Multicultural Center, CSUDH Dance Department and Associated Students, Inc.
A week’s worth of events that culminated into a fair, Veterans Week was organized to raise awareness, understanding and create a connection to the veteran experience. The fair began by asking the campus to wear the color red (standing for “Remember Everyone Deployed”). The alliance offered traditional “meals ready to eat” (MRE) and various military gear for students to try. The fair succeeded through support of Toro Productions, the Athletics Department, Outreach and Information Services, and KDHR radio and LA Galaxy.
Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
Honors a student organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to the CSUDH community while the organization membership maintained an average 3.00 GPA or higher cumulative.
Not only did NSO students maintain a high GPA, they also hosted campus events that brought speakers, created opportunities for networking, and brought local hiring managers. Its career seminar in March, for example, was geared toward learning how to develop resumes and interviewing skills to be competitive in today’s job market. They also participated in local health fairs and the adopt-a-family program in which they provided a family of six with personal hygiene products and gifts for the holidays. In conjunction with ASI, the organization made it possible for students to attend the American Nursing Association’s California RN Lobby day in Sacramento.
Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Organization
Honors a student organization that has demonstrated extraordinary leadership through a wide array of programs and influenced involvement in campus life and/or community.
The Accounting Society lived its mission this year to help students develop professional skills and build relationship essential to launching a successful career, and their efforts resulted in a growth in membership from five to more than 50. Key services they provided include professional workshops, resume writing, interview preparation, and networking in collaboration with the Career Center. Additionally they hosted weekly meetings with key professional from government, public and private firms to teach members about their industry, and their fall networking social was attended by more than 150 students who had the opportunity to network with industry professionals to seek out internships and fulltime positions. The society also created a web page for students to access and connect with each other and campus resources.
Presidential Award for Outstanding Student
Honors a student who has demonstrated two or more of the following: Academic achievement by maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher at CSUDH; exemplary service in community leadership, public service and/or civic engagement; extraordinary leadership skills and abilities in one or more leadership positions within the CSUDH community and/or commitment to diversity and the mission of CSUDH.
Alvarado shows a commitment to excellence, passion of serving his community and the ability to inspire his peers. He has been involved in Male Success Alliance for three years, working closely with 25 male students, conducting academic workshops to provide them and their family with the tools and resources to be successful. He has served has a peer mentor with Encounter to Excellence program on campus, as president of the Enhanced Networking and Group Activities for Gains in Education (ENGAGE), and currently serves as secretary for Homeless Outreach Promoting Empathy (HOPE), where he works with members to assemble and distributes hygiene kits for the homeless. Additionally he volunteers his time with other school-based programs such as Upward Bound Math and Science. His students note how his mentorship has changed their lives.
Cuevas has been a member, director, vice president and now president of the Latino Student Business Association. She has demonstrated true leadership by successfully setting goals for the organization and monitoring the progress. Among the many LSBA activities she led and participated inwere the bi-annual soccer tournament, assisting at the Los Angeles regional food bank, and reading to children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Through it all she maintains a high GPA in the Master of Social Work, while also working on her second internship and serving as a mentor to her peers.
Joseph Nolasco, senior, clinical science
When Nolasco isn’t in class, he’s honing his skills as a medical laboratory scientist and medical technology student intern at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, or volunteering at St. Francis Medical Center and La Palma Intercommunity Hospital or for any number of health-related agencies such as the American Red Cross, the LA Food Bank, and Muscular Dystrophy Association. In addition, he has participated in the CSUDH Toro Relay for Life, and served as a representative for the American Cancer Society at the Colleges Against Cancer Conference. All the while he maintains a high GPA and is in the top five percent in his cohort. Recently he was awarded a $2,000 Siemens Healthcare Legacy Scholarship by the American Society of Clinical Pathology.
Rodriguez has made a critical difference in the CSUDH community through her involvements in ASI, the Loker Student Union Board, the Multicultural Center and her sorority. She has spent three years in leadership roles within ASI, first as student activities commissioner, then vice president for finance, and now executive vice president. This year, she has been responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of the students and board members in the office for ASI. She has devoted a considerable amount of time in the community through efforts with her sorority, Omega Phi multicultural sorority, volunteering with Urban Youth Development’s Project Access – an after school program for low income families in Carson. Additionally, Rodriguez has been a Multicultural Center student staff member, and has been part of developing a number of its activities focus on empowering individuals, supporting underrepresented students and building communities.
Williams was nomination by her graduate coordinator, two associate professors and the department chair, who notes “out of all the students we have taught and mentored, she is one of the strongest candidates for doctoral study.” She has been a long-term supplemental instructor and tutor with the Toro Learning Center, an active student leader with the English Graduate Association, the chief editor of the annual campus literary magazine Enjambed, and most recently the first place winner of Student Research Day in the area of Humanities and Letters for her paper on the 12th-century text, Marie de France’s Lanval. Her many contributions to EGA include co-organizing the English Language Conference; co-organizing and presenting at Career Night and the English Department Salon. As the chief editor of Enjambed, she expanded the reach and accessibility of the magazine to include multiple forms of literacy and creative expression from undergraduates, non-English majors, and even multimedia artists whose work can be viewed with QR codes published in the magazine.