USD 2019-20 Student Recognition: SSS, Women's and Gender Studies, Student Organization Awards

Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization won two USD Student Organization Awards, best community engagement and best cultural event of the year.Graduating senior Jesse Magana was named an Outstanding Senior Award winner by USD's Student Support Services. Magana is a sociology major and leadership studies minor.

The University of San Diego's 2019-20 academic year has showcased a number of outstanding student scholars across various schools, departments and organizations. While all awards being handed out this spring would normally have been done via an end-of-year celebration on campus, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many honorees to receive their accolades by virtual or social media notification.

The following list is the first of multiple stories that will announce those who are receiving special recognition in 2019-20. 

Student Support Services

Student Support Services, jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Education and USD to serve undergraduate students at USD, has multiple ways to recognize SSS student success. An Instagram spotlight on graduating seniors has already started. A senior video is being done and it will run this month on the SSS Instagram and Facebook accounts as well as in the weekly SSS newsletter. Also, a graduation care package will be sent to seniors, including their SSS graduation stole, certificate and other celebratory gifts, SSS Director Ryan Jumamil said.

Here are the annual end-of-year awards and the 2019-20 winners:

Outstanding Seniors Award: Jesse Magana and Yarissa Valdez.

Fearless Award: Son Huynh and Carolyn Heatherly.

TRiO Service Award: Brandon Kennedy and Priscilla Garcia.

SSS Legacy Award: Alicia Reyes and Julio Alfaro.

Women's and Gender Studies

The loss of an end-of-year banquet meant not having a chance to see and hear research poster presentations from the Women's and Gender Studies minor students. Evelyn Kirkley, professor of Theology and Religious Studies and director of the Women's and Gender Studies program, had students give a virtual presentation instead.

The program has two annual awards — the Dr. Linda A.M. Perry Award for Outstanding Achievement and Dedication to the Women's and Gender Studies Program, and the Martha C. Watson Award for Academic Achievement in Women's and Gender Studies — for graduating seniors.

This year, there were two recipients in each category:

Linda A.M. Perry Award: Annabel Yee Gong, Environmental and Ocean Sciences (marine biology emphasis) major, Biology and Women's and Gender Studies minors; and Delaney M. Tax, Ethnic Studies major, Architecture and Women's and Gender Studies minors.

Martha C. Watson Award: McKenna Christian, English (Creative Writing emphasis) major, Psychological Sciences and Women's and Gender Studies minors; and Lexi Crea, Communication Studies major and Women's and Gender Studies minor.

"We received more than double the number of applications," Kirkley said. "The number of outstanding applicants made selection very difficult, so I made the unprecedented call to have two recipients for each award. Even selecting just two was challenging!"

Kirkley typically speaks about the status of the Women's and Gender Studies program at the banquet. It has been a minor-only program for many years at USD, but it still aspires to be a full-fledged major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kirkley said 24 students declared the minor this past year. The students' research work tackles difficult, but necessary subjects and students are to be commended for bringing these issues to the forefront.

"I’m proud of the remarkable accomplishments of our Women's and Gender Studies minors. Their intellectual abilities and social justice activism in areas of gender and sexual identities embody USD's mission and vision," Kirkley said.

Student Organization Awards

The annual Student Organization Awards were announced on May 12 as the USD Associated Students Government and Student Activities and Involvement selected winners in nine categories. Results were posted on the @usd_asg Instagram account.

The categories and winners are:

Outstanding Community Engagement Award: Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization (FUSO).

New and Emerging Student Organizations Award: Saturdays with Seniors.

Advisor of the Year Award: Alyssa Irizarry, International Student Organization.

Excellence in Inclusion Award: Alliance of Disability Advocates.

Emerging New Member Award: Alexis Smith, Student Alumni Association

Outstanding Student Organization Award: Students of Color in STEM/M.

Innovative Connections Award: Student Alumni Association.

Cultural Event of the Year Award: Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization, Kamayan Night.

Outstanding Student Leader Award: Lauren Washington, National Society of Black Engineers.

More Awards to be Announced

A second USD News Center story will be published soon with additional student and faculty honorees as they are announced. Some of these include the Honors Convocation, the United Front Multicultural Commons, McNair Scholars and many more.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone


USD News Center
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