Quest for the Best awards nine students for their academic achievement – The Daily Aztec

Quest for the Best awards nine students for their academic achievement – The Daily Aztec

Nine San Diego State University students were awarded the Quest for the Best Vice Presidential Student Service Award in April for their academic excellence and involvement in the community.

As part of the awarding process, each honoree was asked to nominate an SDSU staff or faculty member who had an impact on their academic and personal journey.

The 2024 Quest for the Best honorees and their respective nominated faculty or staff members are:

  1. Adam Barber – Senior, business administration and political science major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Janice Dils, Associated Students government affairs assistant director
  2. Maya Elden – Senior, speech, language and hearing sciences major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Maureen Paolini, biology professor
  3. Derrick Herrera – Senior, political science and American Indian studies major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Benjamin Gonzales O’Brien, political science professor
  4. Dennise Juarez Aguilar – Senior, public administration major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Valerie Stahl, public affairs assistant professor
  5. Leanne Locano – Senior, public health major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Stacey Sinclair, Weber Honors college director
  6. Cesar Lopez – Senior, business management major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Chelsea Lombrozo, Glazer Center for Leadership and Service assistant director
  7. Clara Smith – Senior, political science major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Claudia Woodard, Spanish lecturer
  8. Brandon Wells – Senior, mechanical engineering major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Theresa Garcia, College of Engineering assistant dean for student affairs
  9. Ingrid Yu – Junior, psychology major; Faculty/Staff Honoree: Koko Nishi, Counseling and Psychological Services therapist

Each student had to first be nominated by a staff or faculty member. Nominees are required to have completed at least one year at SDSU with a minimum of 75 credits and a 3.0 GPA.

They then submit a resume that displays their academic and community achievements. Nominees are evaluated by their academic excellence, student involvement, community service outside of campus, leadership qualities and development.

“There is a rigorous application process,” said Chelsea Lombrozo, an assistant director of the Glazer Center for Leadership & Service. “Various documents are submitted and reviewed blindly by our selection committee members. The top scoring applicants are invited for an in-person interview.”

Students appeared before a panel of judges from the Glazer Center for Leadership & Community Service who interviewed them and chose the winners.

“It’s heartwarming to receive this award,” Lopez said. “As a Project Rebound student, at times it’s felt like we’ve been kind of outcasts on campus, this recognition shows our community that SDSU values us and our contributions to the campus.”

On April 19, an awards gala was held at Bali Hai, a Polynesian restaurant, where students brought their honorees and up to two guests.

“For me, the highlights were the speeches,” Lopez said. “Some of the speeches were very heartfelt. It was amazing being in that room full of powerhouses in our SDSU community.”

Lombrozo oversaw the ceremony planning with a team from the Glazer Center, who oversaw the entirety of the program.

“This was the 38th annual gala celebration,” Lombrozo said. “We are honored to carry out this tradition on behalf of the Vice President for Student Affairs & Campus Diversity.”

The Quest for the Best is done annually with each spring semester and awarded in the month of April.

According to Lombrozo, being recognized means you are a student who lives out the mission of SDSU by excelling academically, giving back to the university, overcoming adversity and leaving a legacy.

“If you’re thinking of applying I would say, really take some time to think about your ‘why,’ and how the things you do represent you and tell your story,” Lopez said. “Don’t be afraid to open up and give the campus an opportunity to get to know who you are and the legacy you’re leaving behind.”

Editor’s Note: The Daily Aztec has updated the story to maintain accuracy regarding the Quest for the Best panel. A previous version of this story stated there was a Q&A and presentation portion of the panel, which was not the case. The story has been edited to reflect this.

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