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Students, Faculty and Partners Lauded for Support to Community

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Students, faculty members and community partners have been recognized with Community Engagement Awards for their collaboration to address community needs through academic internships and service-learning courses.

The awards are organized by Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Internships & Community Engagement, which coordinates course-related partnerships for many of the academic departments on campus and conducts community engagement programs that employ CSUF students.

The awards and honorees, and their majors or departments, recognized April 17 at the 15th annual event are:

Student Awards

Outstanding Student Leader: graduating senior Junely Merwin, human services. Merwin, a Guardian Scholar, completed her human services practicum requirement with CSUF’s WoMen’s and Adult Reentry Center and dedicated nearly three years at the center advocating for the needs of parents, foster youth and victims of sexual violence.  

Extraordinary Acts of Service: Hafez Karimi, a graduate student in economics. Karimi ’18 (B.A. economics) has dedicated efforts to assist homeless communities, producing tangible outcomes for those he served. These included preparing a business start-up plan for a shelter resident and facilitating the job search process for those seeking to attain self-sufficiency.

Partner Award

Most Committed Partner: Casanova//McCann. Since 2015, the agency has contributed to providing a high-impact academic internship experience for students. The communications and brand strategy agency has provided learning experience for students pursuing careers in entertainment and media.  

Stewards of Place Awards

Site Recognition: Higher Ground Youth and Family Services. The organization received the award for its commitment to provide support to local at-risk youth and their families. The site has hosted more than 86 CSUF student interns and service-learners since fall 2017, providing opportunities for students to explore the various factors that influence youth decision-making in underserved communities.

Faculty Recognition: Orvic Pada, lecturer in sociology. Pada has partnered with Higher Ground to produce measurable and positive outcomes among class participants and the communities they serve. He incorporates service-learning pedagogy as he guides his students in reflection and analysis of the challenges faced by families served at Higher Ground.

Student Recognition: graduating senior Mirvais Aminy, sociology. Aminy has given extraordinary commitment and selfless service to the youth at Higher Ground and exemplifies the site’s mission to engage, mentor and positively impact youth and families at risk.

Faculty Awards

Extraordinary Faculty Internship Coordinator: Amber Chitty Wilson, faculty internship coordinator for the College of Communications. She was recognized for her management of the college’s internship program, which serves about 400 academic interns each semester.

Outstanding Service-Learning Professor: Saul Tobias, associate professor of liberal studies. Tobias received the award for his commitment to linking student experiential learning to positive community outcomes, including training scholars, students and community partners in the use of service-learning as a high-impact practice. His work has benefitted hundreds of students, most recently during his international service-learning course in Cambodia.

Additionally, 183 graduating students have earned the Community Engagement Medal. The award is given to students who complete two or more academic internships or service-learning courses prior to graduation and exceed more hours of service at their site beyond their degree or course requirements.

For more information about the center and awards, visit online