The President’s Outstanding Graduate Award recognizes one graduating student each
year who demonstrates exemplary contributions to their field and to the university.
The recipient for this award is selected from the pool of students who have been awarded
one of the six Dean’s Awards. The six Dean’s Awards are as follows: College of Education,
Health & Human Services; College of Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences; College
of Business Administration; College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics;
Graduate Studies; and the Student Leadership Award selected by the Dean of Students.
The 2022-23 President's Outstanding Graduate
Aidelen Montoya, is completing her bachelor’s degree this month as a special major.
Aidelen crafted her own program that brings together her interests in management and
art history. Aidelen’s degree title “Special Major in Studio Art, Museum Studies,
and Theory” only scratches the surface of her interdisciplinary and community-engaged
accomplishments. Aidelen is a TRIO McNair Scholar who has been accepted into multiple
competitive graduate programs. Aidelen integrates themes of climate justice into her
art. Her research and creative activities utilize creative data visualizations for
education that encompasses inclusive climate awareness and intersectional social justice
issues. She is an original thinker who crosses boundaries between physical science
and the arts with a mind for practical situations such as improving museum sustainability
and K-12 education.
Aidelen has made the most of her time and education here at CSUSM. She has sought
out all the opportunities available to her on campus. In addition to her work with
Professor Lucy HG Solomon over the past two years, Aidelen has worked in the Data
and Transdisciplinary Art Lab where she integrated her research and beautifully beaded
artwork. She was selected as one of nine students of color in the Planet Mentorship
pilot, a joint project of the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Center Artes, and Sustainability.
As a Planet Change Maker, Aidelen conducted careful research resulting in a beaded
data visualization that addresses environmental issues through a social justice lens.
At last year’s undergraduate and graduate research symposium, Aidelen presented her
research on changing coastlines in the Philippines and discussed her filipinx identity,
both of which informed her series of beaded maps of impacted coastal areas that incorporates
traditional beading from the Philippines. Aidelen also shared this work at the CSUSM
Clim`ate Teach-in where she was one of a handful of students who presented alongside
faculty. Based on the quality of this presentation, Aidelen was invited to join Lucy
HG Solomon at a prestigious residency on Volcan Mountain, which led to a public exhibition
of her work alongside other artists. Aidelen also won the Best Oral Talk in the Humanities
in the Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium at the
University of Washington.
Aidelen Montoya, Museum Studies, Art, and Art History (Special Major), B.A., College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences