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CEHHS Dean's Award - Past Recipients

CEHHS Dean's Award 2018-2019

Diana Lopez

Diana Lopez, B.A., Human Development

Dean’s Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

A first-generation college student struggling with her cultural identity, Diana was embarrassed to speak Spanish in front of her friends until her second year at CSUSM. Helped by the university’s and the department’s celebration of diversity, she built her fluency in English and demonstrated a drive and sense of leadership.

Last year, she served as the president of the student-led Human Development Club, and she has volunteered many hours to local community organizations helping culturally diverse youth and their parents, all while working to put herself through college.

Diana plans to continue her education and is applying to master’s programs in social work.

CEHHS Dean's Award 2017-2018


Tomas T. Simunovic Jr. received his undergraduate degree here at CSUSM in 2013, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, followed by completing a Multiple Subject and Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Teaching credentials this year. This month, Tomas will be joining graduates walking across the Commencement stage when he graduates with a Master’s of Arts in Education Program (Special Education Option.)

Tomas has overcome a great deal in order to reach his goal of becoming a Special Education Teacher. Due to multiple medical issues and physical disability, Tomas has been through 73 surgeries and these surgeries continue for him. He overcame the difficulties he experienced and was inspired by special educators and other resources he connected with such as the Disability Support Services here at CSUSM. Tomas decided to follow his dream and support students like himself who needed special types of support.
Learn more about Tomas...

Edith Mendez

Edith Mendez

B.A. Human Development

Dean's Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Edith Mendez is a Human Development major and her academic achievement, personal maturity and leadership, clear vision of her career development in educational leadership for underrepresented youth and families, and her active and creative community engagement during her years in Human Development, represent the mission of CEHHS which emphasizes collaborative engagement with community as skilled and ethical educators and human services providers. 

Ms. Mendez is one of the top students in HD and her skills and understanding of new concepts and theories are just a few of her traits that make her shine. For example, one day when Dr. Toyokawa asked her class if someone could explain the findings of ‘the suspension bridge experiment” which they’d learned in an introductory courses, most students looked down to their desk but not Ms. Mendez. In a room of 35 students she was the only one who raised her hand. She then successfully drew a picture of the human system on the board and clearly and accurately explained the step-by-step process. Mendez carefully listens to others and is well respected by her classmates. She facilitates discussions, comes to class well prepared and she leads by example. Mendez was recently accepted into the Master of Science degree program at USD so we hope she will remember us at CSUSM and stayed connected.


J. Johnson

Jamaela Johnson

B.A. Human Development

President's Outstanding Graduate
Dean's Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Jamaela Johnson is a student in Human Development, receiving her B.A. degree this year with academic honors. The standout scholar has transformed herself into an engaged community advocate involved in myriad causes on campus and in the larger community.  Jamaela, who is vice president of Student and University Affairs, helped charter the CSUSM’s first African-American Greek organizations, contributed as a peer educator at the Gender Equity Center, served as vice president of the Black Student Union and as a student representative for Diversity and Inclusion, and helped coordinate the annual Race for the Cure through the Colleges Against Cancer organization.  She is also is a proud member of Kappa Omicron Nu, a national honor society for human sciences. Her name is a regular presence on the annual Dean’s List.

“Jamaela Johnson exemplifies the values of the Human Development Department: civic engagement, social responsibility, and a commitment to helping communities in need,” said Rodney Beaulieu, assistant professor of human development. “In addition, she excels in the areas of academic achievement and campus wide leadership and activism. Her passion for addressing sociopolitical disparities, social justice and improving her own effectiveness as a leader has provided guidance throughout her educational career.”  Her professional goal is to take the skills she has honed here and make a difference in world.

Jamaela was one of six outstanding graduatess honored by President Karen Haynes in 2016 at a special awards dinner.


M. Gonzalez

Maricela Gonzalez

B.A. Human Development

Dean's Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Maricela (Marcie) Gonzalez is a first generation college student who will receive her Master’s degree in Social Work in May. She is an outstanding student with a passion for making a difference in the lives of the vulnerable and the disenfranchised. Marciela grew up in a migrant farm workers’ community in California’s Central Valley. Her parents faced many hardships, yet they made sure that their children understood the value of education and service to others. Marciela often accompanied them when they volunteered to serve other migrant families in need. Because of her own life experiences as the child of immigrants and as the wife of a Marine, Marciela has a keen interest in working with and empowering immigrant families as well as military members and their families.

Marcie was one of six outstanding graduates honored by President Karen Haynes in 2015 at a special awards dinner.


E. Powell

Elliot Powell

Middle Level Credential

Dean's Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Captain Elliott Powell Jr, USN, Retired,  is the recipient of this year's Dean's Award.  Captain Powell is a student in our Middle Level Program in the School of Education.  The skills he has developed from his prior experiences in the military contribute to what makes him an outstanding student and  will make him an exceptional educator.  Captain Powell has had an illustrious career in the Navy, serving as a Commanding Officer, successfully negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords (assisting with peace efforts in the former Republic of Yugoslavia).  He also served as the Director of the White House Situation Room during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.

Captain Powell’s leadership qualities have transferred in very positive ways in the teaching credential program.  For example, he “unofficially” mentors several of his class peers as well as middle school students.  He is open to consensus and mediation and is respectful of other’s ideas.  He manages time effectively, is assertive, but not aggressive, and uses reflection as a means of self-evaluation.  He also uses his background to relate history to current events.  He creates a learning environment that operationalizes the School of Education’s mission statement’s focus on social justice and educational equity.

In the community, Captain Powell mentors foster youth and speaks with school groups about his time as an active duty service member.  We are confident he will be not only an excellent teacher, but also an excellent alumnus who will continue to be a great ambassador for CSUSM.

Elliott was one of six outstanding graduates honored by President Haynes in 2014 at a special awards dinner.