July 10, 2015

Contact: Katie VanMeter
805-756-1216; kvanmete@calpoly.edu 

Cal Poly Ethnic Studies Student Receives CSU Trustees’ Award

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly comparative ethnic studies student Mario Espinoza of Modesto, Calif., was awarded the 2015 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The Outstanding Achievement Awards are presented annually to one student from each of the CSU system’s 23 campuses. Honorees are selected for their superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. As part of the recognition, Espinoza will receive a $6,000 scholarship.

“Mario is one of the most talented young scholars I have seen come through my many courses at Cal Poly,” said ethnic studies Professor Jenell Navarro. “He is incredibly insightful, driven and humble. These are not often qualities that accompany one another in most students, but Mario displays them all. He is most deserving of this award.”

Espinoza, a first-generation college student, will begin his senior year in the fall. Since transferring to Cal Poly from Cuesta College in fall 2014, Espinoza has been active on campus as a peer counselor for the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Allies) group, co-chair of the cultural clubMovimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlán (M.E.X.A.), and volunteer at the Cal Poly Pride Center and MultiCultural Center. In the community, Espinoza is a volunteer event coordinator with the AIDS Support Network.

This spring, Espinoza was selected as a UC Santa Barbara Academic Research Consortium Scholar. In preparation for graduate school, he will conduct research that will serve as the foundation for a future outreach program to interest underrepresented youth in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Espinoza plans to earn a doctorate in Chicano/a studies or comparative ethnic studies and become a professor in higher education. 

- CSU Trustees: www.calstate.edu/foundation/trusteesawards/
- Cal Poly Ethnic Studies Department: www.ethnicstudies.calpoly.edu/
- College of Liberal Arts: www.cla.calpoly.edu/  

About the Cal Poly Ethnic Studies Department
Cal Poly’s Ethnic Studies Department works at the intersection of the fundamental social forces of ethnicity, race, culture and gender. By exploring these issues, students are able to understand the factors that shape social and occupational identities, preparing them to work, collaborate and interact in an increasingly heterogeneous and complex world. The department’s size and ethos produce close connections between students and faculty and inspire active engagement on campus, contributing to the diversity and inclusivity of the Cal Poly community and the cultural competence of its students.  

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