Sociology

2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Sociology Award Recipients

Congratulations to all the 2020 undergraduate and graduate Sociology award recipients!

 

 

Qualitative Poster Contest Winner - 1st Place

Research project: “Latina College Students Negotiating Equality while Balancing Tradition through Modern Day Hembrismo Ideology.”

Genesis Pia

Genesis is currently a senior and will be the first person in her family to graduate from college this May. After transferring to CSUN from Mission College, Genesis was selected as one of 30 students nationally to participate in the HSI Pathways to the Professoriate Program funded by the Mellon Foundation. With the help of her mentor, Dr. Lauren McDonald, Genesis developed an IRB approved independent research project titled “Understanding Modern Day Hembrismo: Latinas in Higher Education Negotiating Equality while Honoring Tradition.” Genesis presented her research at the California Sociological Association Annual Conference in Sacramento, the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research in San Marcos, and at the HSI Cross-Institutional Conference in New Jersey. Genesis has also worked as a Supplemental Instructor, pre-graduate peer educator, a Library Collections guide, a student representative at the New Faculty Orientation, and as a Steering Committee Member at the New Directions in the Humanities Conference. She is a member of the AKD Sociology Honor Society and was awarded a Matador Scholarship for academic excellence.  She also was awarded the 2020 Sara & Marshall Magnuson - Outstanding Student Accepted to Graduate School award.   Genesis was accepted into eight Ph.D. programs in Sociology and has chosen to attend Rutgers University this Fall, where she was awarded the Presidential Fellowship. Genesis’s future career goals include pursuing a career in academia and conducting research which serves to empower the Latinx community. 

Qualitative Poster Contest Winner - 2nd Place

Research project: “Women and Activism: Carceral Trauma and Identity Transformation in Prison Reform.”

 Clarissa Campos

Clarissa is the first person in her family to attend college. While a student at CSUN the importance of sociology was emphasized to Clarissa in classes she took with Dr. Lori Campbell and Dr. Daniel Olmos. Clarissa was selected to participate in the HSI Pathways to the Professoriate Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. Clarissa is grateful for the guidance she received from Heidi Schumacher, Dr. Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, and everyone else associated with the program. For her project titled Becoming an Activist: Carceral Trauma and Identity Transformation in Prison Reform, Clarissa conducted in-depth qualitative interviews to investigate the lives of system-impacted women’s involvement in prison reform activism, focusing on the traumatic relationship between gender violence and state violence. During her time at CSUN Clarissa was a student representative at the New Faculty Orientation, a Steering Committee member at the New Directions in the Humanities Conference, and a pre-graduate school peer educator. Clarissa was accepted into three Ph.D. programs and has chosen to pursue her doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the Ph.D. program in American Studies. She is excited to take an interdisciplinary approach in her future research projects on her pathway to a career in academia.

 

Qualitative Poster Contest Winner - 3rd Place

Research project: "Experiences of Latinx First-Generation College Students at CSUN.”

Alejandra Fregozo 

Alejandra is a first-generation college student who grew up in Pacoima, California.  The eldest of four children, Alejandra, was the central pillar of support for her mother – who struggled to raise Alejandra and her sisters as a single mother, contending with undocumented status and only a third-grade education. Alejandra’s passion for educational equity has led her to pursue an M.A. in Chicana and Chicano Studies. However, she believes in the power of interdisciplinary work and finds herself taking various courses in the Department of Sociology. It is in these departments that Alejandra has found a strong network of support and mentorship from professors such as Dr. Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, Dr. Mary Pardo, and Dr. Christina Ayala-Alcantar. With their support, Alejandra completed a research project entitled Pathways of Institutional Support: Understanding the Experiences of Latinx First-Generation College Students as they Navigate their Education at CSUN- which was awarded a first-place prize in the 2020 CSUNposium research poster competition. Alejandra's future career goals include conducting research focused on the overlooked diversity among lower-income and first-generation college students. She is specifically interested in understanding the ways Communities of Color utilize alternative forms of capital (cultural knowledge, skills, abilities, and networks) to navigate academic institutions that may be implicitly unwelcoming of racial and socioeconomic diversity. To pursue these research endeavors, Alejandra plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in the field of Sociology. Her ultimate objective is to obtain a faculty position in a Hispanic Serving Institution as it would allow her the opportunity to mentor and guide future generations of diverse scholars.

Veronica Elias Scholarship ($250)

The Veronica Elias Scholarship is given in honor of Dr. Veronica Elias, Emeritus Sociology Professor to an undergraduate student who has a demonstrated record of academic achievement. This year it is being awarded to Silma Kamaldeen.

Silma Kamaldeen

Silma is a first-generation immigrant who moved to the U.S. from Sri Lanka 14 years ago. Silma is proud to hail from a well-educated family back in Sri Lanka, and considers it a great privilege to have been raised by a family that gives utmost importance to higher education. As a young mother of two boys (ages 3 and 6), Silma has navigated multiple responsibilities which have taught her important life lessons. After transferring to CSUN from Pierce College, Silma achieved a 4.0 GPA in her first semester. Silma’s academic achievements also include being on the Dean’s list, and being a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success and Sociology Honor Society. Silma has a great passion for writing and research. She completed a research paper on Advertising and Gender Biased Language and has been actively involved in developing a website for a Group Communication class to educate college students about how to budget and manage their finances. Silma’s future career goals include earning a MSW degree and pursing a Ph.D. in sociology. One day she would like to become a faculty member at the university.

Beverly Ann Hurd Scholarship ($250)

The Beverly Ann Hurd Scholarship was established by CSUN alumnae Beverly Hurd, a single parent who majored in sociology. The award is given to a student who is a single parent, returned to school after a break in their education, and has succeeded academically. This year the award is being given to Dolores Garcia.

Dolores Garcia

Dolores is a first-generation college student born to immigrant parents who came to America for a better life. Dolores notes that she honestly didn’t think she would make it past middle school however guidance from great counselors helped her get on the right path. After high school, Dolores encountered an unexpected surprise when she became pregnant and gave birth to her eldest son. As a single mother Dolores had to stop attending school for many years so that she could work two jobs to support her family. Knowing that she wanted more than just a paycheck, Dolores eventually decided to return to school. With the help of her parents, Dolores was able to quit her second job and take classes at LA City College where she was able to slowly bring up her GPA before transferring to CSUN. Dolores has been involved in community service activities, most recently donating her sons’ clothing and helping to prepare meals for children who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs but are currently out of school due to COVID-19. Dolores’s future career goals include attending graduate school and giving back to her community by helping those most in need.

 

Russell Miller Sociology Scholarship ($250)

The Russell Miller Sociology Scholarship is given in honor of Dr. Russell Miller, an Emeritus faculty member in the Department of Sociology. It is given to a student who has shown scholastic achievement and demonstrated exceptional leadership and community service. This year it is awarded to Savannah Garcia-Araniva.

Savannah Garcia-Araniva

Savannah is a first-generation college student currently finishing her sophomore year at CSUN. Over the course of her academic career Savannah has benefitted from the support of various individuals. While volunteering as a peer tutor at the UCLA after-school program, one of the counselors suggested that Savannah apply to the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project. This three-day experience with a group of Latinx professionals from across the country changed Savannah’s life for the better. The program’s focus on the four C’s: Culture, Community, College, and Communication, as well as support from successful Latinx individuals, set Savannah on a path to success. Savannah has also volunteered her time with the community group “Let’s Give” which provides children in Watts with lunch, school supplies, and fun events. Savannah has learned over the past year that Sociology and Chicano Studies are the right majors to best prepare her for her future career goals which include working to improve the lives of those in the Latinx community.   

John J. Plasek Memorial Scholarship ($250)

The John J. Plasek Memorial Scholarship is given in honor of the late father of Dr. John Wayne Plasek, Emeritus Sociology Professor. The award goes to a student who has demonstrated academic excellence (particularly in the major), and has overcome difficulties pursuing higher education. This year’s recipient is Maria Sanchez-Garcia.

Maria Sanchez-Garcia

Maria has endured many hardships and her path to college was not easy or direct. After struggling with addiction, homelessness, and time spent in and out of jail during her youth, Maria gained her sobriety and began a journey to academic success. It began with Maria returning to school to earn her high school diploma and meeting a CSUN volunteer who offered to help her enroll in college. Without putting much thought into it Maria decided to attend. However once she had one foot in the door, Maria realized she enjoyed getting good grades and decided to continue with school. Today she is a graduating senior who is about to earn her bachelor’s degree. Maria is a member of the AKD Sociology Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Through service learning and internships, Maria had the honor of working with various organizations, including the Coutin School in Canoga Park where she graduated from. This semester Maria volunteered at Neighborhood Legal Services helping low-income individuals fill out legal paper work. She also volunteered at the Adult Skills Center helping adults with disabilities. Maria’s future goals include pursing a MSW degree and working with families that are struggling with addiction.

Jerald Schutte Award for Excellence in Research Methods & Statistics ($300)

The Jerald Schutte Award is given by emeritus faculty member, Dr. Jerald Schutte, to a student who has excelled in statistics and research methods. This year’s award goes to Cameron Takahashi.

Cameron Takahashi

Cameron began his academic career with the guidance of a sociology professor at Glendale Community College who created an environment where he could thrive. Through that professor Cameron started his first foray into tutoring and educating others with the knowledge he had gained, while simultaneously learning from other’s experiences. Since transferring to CSUN Cameron has encountered many talented professors and blossomed even further from his prior exposure to sociology. Dr. Jerald Schutte, who has had Cameron as a student in his Statistics and Research Methods classes, notes that he has an intuitive grasp of abstract concepts, as well as a combination of critical thinking, curiosity, and sense of empathy. As such Cameron became the “go to guy” for the entire class due to his incredible ability to engage other students, and has continued as a volunteer tutor helping students in Dr. Schutte’s class this semester. At CSUN Cameron has completed research projects on Shinto and Christianity in Japan.  Prior to transferring to CSUN he completed research projects on the history of music from a feminist perspective at Glendale Community College. He is also a member of CSUN’s American Indian Student Association (AISA). Cameron’s future career goals include helping to better society through education and activism. He is interested in applying to graduate school in a few years to further his education and eventually pursue a Ph.D. 

 

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Award for Outstanding Student Accepted to Graduate School ($300)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students.

This award in particular is for students with a record of academic excellence who have been accepted into graduate school (either a master’s degree program or Ph.D. program).  This year’s award goes to Amie Carr.

Amie Carr

Amie is a first generation college student who is here today because of the love and grace of her grandparents who raised her. She views them as unseen superheroes who motivated Amie to follow her dreams and achieve what no one else in her family was able to do. Amie is a graduating senior in the Social Welfare & Social Justice concentration and has maintained a 4.0 CSUN GPA since transferring from Moorpark Community College. Amie is currently an Instructional Student Assistant (ISA) for Dr. Akbar Mahdi’s Contemporary Sociological Theory and People, Society & Culture in the Middle East courses. She has interned for the last 20 months at the non-profit organization Journey Out whose mission is to help the victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking overcome abuse. Six months ago Amie became the primary case manager for this organization’s APAIT (Asian Pacific Islander Aids Intervention Team) division helping women who have been ticketed for prostitution in massage parlors. This experience led to a research project Amie is working on with Dr. Moshoula Capous-Desyllas. Amie has been accepted into the MSW program at UCLA. Her future career plans include becoming a licensed clinical social worker and working with children and adolescents who are dealing with trauma and other mental health issues. Amie would like to become the empowering superhero in their lives much like her grandparents have been to her.

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Award for Outstanding Student Accepted to Graduate School ($300)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students.

This award in particular is for students with a record of academic excellence who have been accepted into graduate school (either a master’s degree program or Ph.D. program).  This year’s award goes to Genesis Pia.

Genesis Pia

Genesis is currently a senior and will be the first person in her family to graduate from college this May. After transferring to CSUN from Mission College, Genesis was selected as one of 30 students nationally to participate in the HSI Pathways to the Professoriate Program funded by the Mellon Foundation. With the help of her mentor, Dr. Lauren McDonald, Genesis developed an IRB approved independent research project titled “Understanding Modern Day Hembrismo: Latinas in Higher Education Negotiating Equality while Honoring Tradition.” Genesis presented her research at the California Sociological Association Annual Conference in Sacramento, the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research in San Marcos, and at the HSI Cross-Institutional Conference in New Jersey. Genesis has also worked as a Supplemental Instructor, pre-graduate peer educator, a Library Collections guide, a student representative at the New Faculty Orientation, and as a Steering Committee Member at the New Directions in the Humanities Conference. She is a member of the AKD Sociology Honor Society and was awarded a Matador Scholarship for academic excellence. She also is the 1st place winner of the Qualitative Poster Contest for her research project: “Latina College Students Negotiating Equality while Balancing Tradition through Modern Day Hembrismo Ideology.”   Genesis was accepted into eight Ph.D. programs in Sociology and has chosen to attend Rutgers University this Fall, where she was awarded the Presidential Fellowship. Genesis’s future career goals include pursuing a career in academia and conducting research which serves to empower the Latinx community. 

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Award for Outstanding Community Service ($300)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students. 

This award in particular is for students who have contributed significantly to the community through volunteer work and/or internships during their time at CSUN.  This year’s award goes to Christian Aprahamian.

Christian Aprahamian

Christian is a graduating senior who has overcome various struggles in her academic journey. After dropping out of high school to work so that she could help financially support her family, Christian returned to school completing her High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and then went on to earn her associates degree from Los Angeles Valley College. Her acceptance into CSUN was a turning point in Christian’s life. Christian became an engaged student, joining clubs and becoming a volunteer leader in Unified We Serve. For her contributions to this organization, Christian  received the Matador’s Volunteer Service Award two years in a row. Christian also earned a Team Supporter Award in 2019 from the Seed House Project, a local nonprofit that supports at-risk youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Christian has additionally volunteered her time at various different organizations including the CSUN Food Pantry, Santa Monica Breast Cancer Walk, UWS Adopt A Family, SOVA Food Pantry, CSUN Orange Pick, Veterans Letter Writing Campaign, Cards for Kids, Operation Gratitude, and UWS Blankets for Babies. Christian’s future career goals include earning a MSW degree and working for the Department of Children and Family Services or Kaiser Permanente.

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Top Graduating Senior Award (highest GPA) ($400)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students. This year’s award goes to Hillary Lewis.

Hillary Lewis

Hillary is a first generation college student and the second of her sisters to be receiving a Bachelors degree from CSUN. After transferring to CSUN from Pierce College, Hillary has been on the Dean’s list each semester.   Hillary is grateful for the professors and faculty in the sociology department for helping her reach the goal of earning her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.  With their guidance and support, Hillary has accomplished what she’s always dreamed of achieving during her time at CSUN.  Hillary has had an incredible experience focusing on her studies at CSUN in sociology of inequality and diversity, and is looking forward to taking this focus into her future career and educational endeavors.  Hillary is excited to continue her academic career in achieving her Master’s degree in Sociology by applying for graduate school in the fall.

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Top Graduating Senior Award (highest GPA) ($400)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students. This year’s award goes to Bonnie Sandoz.

Bonnie Sandoz

Bonnie endured many hardships on her academic journey. Growing up she was not exposed to academia and financial resources were limited. Her mother did the best she could, sometimes working two jobs to support Bonnie and her brother.  Although Bonnie wanted to pursue higher education, she was lost on how or where to begin.  When she was in her fifties, with her daughter attending a university, Bonnie yearned for the academic experience and finally dared herself to try.  Although Bonnie felt like a fish out of water at the beginning of her journey, it was through the guidance of Dr. Peggy Renner at Glendale Community College who helped Bonnie believe in herself and challenged her to do her best.  And Dr. Lori Campbell at CSUN that motivated Bonnie with her teaching, converting her to like statistics, and Dr. Campbell’s inspiring class, Sociology of Education that kept Bonnie engaged.   Aside from her daughter, she is the first to get a degree in her family.  Throughout Bonnie’s higher education at both Glendale Community College and CSUN she maintained a 4.0 GPA, she notes this is not due to her intelligence, but rather to prove persistence pays off.   She graduated with honors from Glendale College where she was an SI (supplemental instructor), student note taker, volunteer tutor for a few school athletes, given the Ann Reid Collaborative Learning Award and scholarship for her service to student learning, and was a volunteer for Burbank Temporary Aid.  She’s a member of AKD Sociology Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.  Bonnie’s future career goals include attending graduate school and to work with children and young adults to assist them in tapping their potential, especially those from lower socioeconomic status areas.

Sara & Marshall Magnuson Top Graduating M.A. degree recipient Award (highest GPA) ($400)

The Sara and Marshall awards, are funded by the Sara and Marshall Magnuson Endowment in Sociology. Sara and Marshall Magnuson both attended CSUN. In 1971 Sara graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology and Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Art.  Although they have both passed away, part of their legacy was to financially support scholarships and awards for sociology students. This year’s award goes to Kimberly Romero.

Kimberly Romero

When she was younger, Kimberly was part of an after-school program called LA’s Best where she met counselors who inspired her to develop an undying and empowering desire to help others. This passion to help others has been carried throughout her academic career. Kimberly began her journey at CSUN as an undergraduate student in the Sociology Department’s Criminology & Criminal Justice option with a minor in Psychology. She interned at the Chatsworth Court House and also worked with Dr. Lori Campbell as a Sociology Department tutor and peer mentor. After earning her bachelor’s degree Kimberly was accepted into the master’s degree program in sociology. Taking courses in the graduate program with Dr. Carter, Dr. Capous-Desyllas, Dr. Missari, Dr. Mavaddat, and Dr. Olmos has given Kimberly the chance to both challenge herself and delve into multiple topics of interest. In 2019 Kimberly received 3rd place in the Sociology Department’s Quantitative Poster Contest for her research titled “Let’s Talk About Sex Baby!: A Quantitative Study Linking an Individual’s Music Preferences and their Participation in Sexually Deviant Behavior.” This year Kimberly was awarded funding from CSUN’s Thesis Support Program for her project titled “Fight Like a Girl: A Qualitative Content Analysis of How Superheroines are Portrayed in Comics.” After earning her master’s degree this summer, Kimberly’s future plans include applying to Ed.D. programs and earning her doctorate degree in the field of education. 

Outstanding Thesis/Graduate Project Competition Award ($1,000)

Jen Marony

Jen Marony was one of four recipients chosen by the Office of Graduate Studies to receive the Outstanding Thesis/Graduate Project Award in the amount of $1,000 for their thesis titled “Traversing Heteronomativity, Homophobia, and Transphobia: How Queer Foster Parents Navigate the U.S. Foster Care System.”  Jen conducted in-depth interviews with 41 diversely queer-identified people from 17 states and the District of Columbia who successfully completed the foster care certification process. Jen used feminist and queer theory as a lens through which to interpret the data and examine processes of institutionalized discrimination practiced by family forming agencies. Based on an analysis of the data, Jen created four conceptual categories into which queer foster parents fall: Incidentally Gay, Political Queers, (In)Visible Queers, and Queers in Progress. Jen argues that encounters with foster care professionals are reliably unpredictable and precarious, and describes how foster parents employ several strategies to navigate these interactions. Jen names these strategies: passing, doing (homo/hetero) normativity, acquiescingdisrupting/resisting, and proceeding with caution, each of which reproduces or resists heteronormativity. In nominating Jen for the award, thesis committee members, Dr. Lauren McDonald (Chair), Dr. Karen Morgaine, and Dr. Michael Carter pointed to the rigor, depth, and thoughtfulness that Jen used to approach their project, the gaps it fills in the literature, and the important contribution the research makes to the field of sociology.