2013 Spotlight Awardees
The Service Learning Award honors students from each undergraduate major whose service learning experiences have resulted in significant, lasting personal and community impact. One graduating senior from each undergraduate degree program will be honored with a Service Learning Award at the Honors Convocation and Spotlight on Service Event.
Stephanie Carolyn Perez Biology
Community Partner: CHAMACOS
Being able to complete my service learning hours at RotaCare Clinic has been an eye opening experience for me as an interpreter. I've had the chance to work with various doctors and nurses from all over the county since RotaCare the entire staff at the clinic are volunteers. Thanks to this opportunity I have become more aware about how important it is to take in consideration language and cultural barriers between the medical staff and the patients. Hearing patients say thank you for your help with a huge smile on their face has filled me with determination and strength to continue on my journey to become a nurse practitioner. I have also had the opportunity to meet great people in the medical field that have inspired me and reminded me that making your dreams is a reality with hard work and determination. I plan to continue serving the community with them and hopefully will return one day as a nurse practitioner and offer my services to the community I grew up in.
Theresa Gordon Business Administration
Community Partner: Peacock Acres
During my time at Peacock Acres, I found it easier than I originally thought it would be to connect to the students. I still currently serve at the learning center and I continue to learn from the students. I have built several relationships with the foster youth and I am amazed by their courage. I have learned that although I have formed relationships with these students, I am still a role model to them and it is important that set a good example for them, which includes doing the right thing under difficult circumstances.
Luz Nunez Collaborative Health and Human Services
Community Partner: Cesar Chavez Elementary
I have been a Service Learning Student Leader for the past three and a half years at CSUMB. Currently I am working with Cesar Chavez Elementary School with the Project Impact Program. I am able to support students at CSUMB and provide service to other students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. As a Service Learning Student Leader I feel fortunate to be able to contribute, support, and guide students in my community from CSUMB as well as my hometown community in Salinas.
Maria Guadalupe Vasquez Collaborative Health & Human Services
Community Partner: Catholic Charities
My service learning experience as a square has provided me with a lot of awareness about service and its power to providing equity and equality to historically marginalized populations. I have learned that when serving wholeheartedly, one gets to really value people’s experience, which allows us to see beyond the stereotypes brought up by society. The power of serving also allows us to reflect and deeply understand the struggles for those whom we are serving. As a result, this allows us to be in solidarity with those whose voices have not been heard.
Leon Federico Corrales Morales Computer Science & Information Technology
Community Partner: Loaves Fishes and Computers
It was a great experience to apply my computer networking skills in a meaningful way. The greatest service learning experience I had was the knowledge that my efforts may have made a difference in the lives of others. I never expected to be nominated for an award, as I had always felt that the reward was having the opportunity to make a difference.
Fernando Lopez Communication Design
Community Partner: United Way of Monterey County
As a service learning student, there wasn't a specific learning experience that I can attribute to my success, both academic and as a member of my community. Rather, I feel that all my experiences and skills acquired throughout my college career culminated and allowed me the mindset to provide effective solutions for the challenges presented at United Way Monterey County. It broadened my horizons of thought and led to the realization that in order make a difference in the world it starts with oneself and doing your part to improve the way of life in your local community.
Shelby Rogers Environmental Science
Community Partner: Everyone’s Harvest
Shelby's first spark with social justice came in her ENVS 384 class with Dan Shapiro titled "Social and Ecological Justice". Before then, Shelby had a heart for social justice, but was mainly concerned for the health of the environment. After learning about environmental justice communities near her own home town in Orange County, Shelby began to make connections between class, race, and the health of individual's environments. This has opened her world to working towards social and environmental equity for all people.
Laura Bakken Environmental Studies
Community Partner: Seymour Marine Discovery Center
What I learned and enjoyed most during my service learning experience at CSUMB was the ability to combine my academic knowledge I learned in class with my experiences out in the community. To be able to combine and learn from both in different yet similar ways was an amazing life changing experience that you cannot experience in any other way.
Kasey Scolavino Global Studies
Community Partner: Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross
A significant experience for me as a service learning student was volunteering for the Red Cross. I had many projects at the chapter, however the most rewarding was learning about the Restoring Family Links services that the International Red Cross offers. I helped with community outreach to make this service known to the organizations that work with refugees and immigrants, to find people who may be in need of these services in the Monterey region. It is an amazing program, bringing families together that have been separated by war, conflict and natural disaster. I am very grateful to have contributed.
Stephanie Johnson Humanities and Communication
Community Partner: Dorothy’s Place Hospitality Center
I hold deep gratitude for all the beautiful people in the SL program. I have been supported and forced to grow. As I see it these folks are tending a garden. As I continually find myself opening to the dark muck of suffering that puts pressure on world around me, someone honors this as a seed of awakening. So, they help water me and I am able to gather nutrients from this suffering instead of shriveling under the weight of it all. Of course the sting of growing pains hurt, but they are met with love. Just smell the flowers!
Ashley Michelle Wilson Integrated Studies
Community Partner: Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
I had a great experience there learning many different aspects of management as well as Oncology. I was able to assist the Clinical Manager of the Oncology depart and spent some time with the manager of the Cancer Resource Center. Working with the Clinical Manager was an amazing experience, I would say one of a kind. This experience just confirmed what I want to do after college. I want to help those who at the moment cannot help themselves, I will be able to do this by following my dreams into nursing and later managing a department to train and maintain a positive passionate nursing staff. I was able to assist with various tasks from audits of nursing staff to be sure that patients are getting the best care regardless of their social status
Rose Alexandra Buchberg Japanese Language and Culture
Community Partner: J. C. Crumpton Elementary School
Important Experience: Despite the difference in background, age and education, my students and I were able to connect on things as simple as music and Pokemon. We are not very different at all.
Erin K. Schiller Kinesiology
Community Partner: The Salinas-Marina Community Food Project
I appreciate everyone involved with the Service Learning Institute. The program allowed me to interact with multiple organizations through the Everyone's Harvest at the Shoreline Community Garden, including HOPE services and the Veterans Transition Center. Each day I was reminded of our basic needs, reintroduced to communal support, and became aware of our human connection to each other and nature. This hands on experience allowed me to find my roots and pursue my passion advocating for healthy living.
Emma Yuzuki Ramirez Liberal Studies Major
Community Partner: Monterey County Department of Family and Child Services
My educational and life experiences enabled me to become a mentor for students. Through Service Learning, I took pride in stepping out of my comfort zone in order to help meet the needs of Monterey County youth. As a Liberal Studies major, it is important for me to establish a strong connection with the youth I serve. Through Service Learning, I've had a number of rewarding experiences that have impacted students as well as myself. It is an honor to inspire students to do well in school, but also help them realize that a college education is attainable.
Elizabeth Lopez Marine Science
Community Partner: Recruitment in Science Education (RISE)
Through RISE, I developed memorable relationships with many students, but one student stood out in particular. We would talk about college during RISE sessions, but mostly, she felt that she could come to me to talk about personal problems, as well as ask me for advice on both school and her life. It was very rewarding to develop that kind of trust with a student and it made me see what kind of impact I could have in student’s lives. RISE has really motivated me to become a better mentor and better communicator for my future mentoring endeavors.
Brenda Valencia Mathematics
Community Partner: El Sausal Middle School
I was able to work with seventh and eighth grade students. I was able to help them with any math questions they had during the times I visited El Sausal Middle School. It was great being in a classroom that promotes a college type environment for a middle school student. Students are put in groups where they ask questions and help each other before seeking help from a teacher or tutor. It is important for students to build up their own confidence by backing up their thought processes and explaining to others why they think their method works especially when it relates to math problems.
Brizey Orjuela Psychology
Community Partner: Youth Alive
In 2009, with the help of the American Friends Service Committee, the Seaside Peace Resource Center, and a group of students we brought the Human Cost of War exhibit for the first time to campus. Bringing this exhibit to commemorate the fallen Californian soldiers and Iraqi civilians in the Iraq war brought a physical understanding of the real cost of war. The experience transformed my perspective on the power of community and the impact we can have as community members on social justice issues.
Ed Carapezza Teledramatic Arts and Technology
Community Partner: Marina Teen Center
For my service learning experience, I worked with both 2nd Chance in Salinas and the Marina Teen Center. As a TAT major, I worked with young people from both locations to help them craft a short film. The experience taught me that, regardless of our backgrounds, we all have stories to tell.
Alycia Drube Visual & Public Art
Community Partner: National Steinbeck Center
The museum studies program in the Visual and Public Art Department has given me a brief but insightful view into the world of museums and art from the academic community. My most recent project was to decorate a piano as part of an international community art project. I was working on behalf of The National Steinbeck Center and was able to witness a lot of backstage museum activity. The greatest impact on my life was my ability to find a niche within my assignment that suites my goals as a student and future professional