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Service Learning Celebration

On May 4, 2016, the Office of Service Learning held its Annual Service Learning Celebration!  We recognized the outstanding work of our students, faculty, and community partners. The reception and program was held at the McMahan House, where we shared stories about the impact service learning has on our students as well as our community.

We are honored to recognize the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Service Learning Awards:


Outstanding Student Leaders in the Community 

Isabel Monzano

Isabel Manzano volunteered at Alta Vista High School as part Professor Poole’s Sociology of Women & Violence class.  At Alta Vista, Isabel helped in the classroom, working with at-risk teens who need educational assistance and motivation.  She often shared how the assignments we did in class were helping her as a college student as well.  When appropriate, she shared information about her personal experiences about overcoming significant personal obstacles in order to continue with her education and attend college.  In fact, her own life story and family mirrored the students’, so it made her example so much more powerful.  She is an inspiration, and she clearly motivated Alta students to continue with their own educations and make good life choices. 

Randy Hensley

Randy Hensley completed his service learning volunteering at Tutor Connection, with his class Cultural Diversity and Schooling. Randy worked one-on-one weekly with a foster youth, providing academic tutoring and career advocacy.   He spent well over that class’s hour requirement for serving, working with his student even after his class ended. Randy was given a difficult task when he was assigned a 17 year old traumatized foster youth to work with. With his commitment to her she felt not only successful in school but importantly felt a sense of self worth and that can not be measured. What he did for her will remain with her for the rest of her life. She has continued to stay in school and about to graduate. 

Oustanding Service Learning Students

Ginger Mina

Ginger Mina participated in service learning as part of my course entitled Chemistry in the Community.  Ginger led an event at the San Diego Science Olympiad with over 180 students attending the event throughout the day.  Students from over 100 middle schools come together to compete in 23 different science events.  The event Ginger ran was Food Science, one of only a few lab events.  The lab was very safe, working with curdling milk, but it had the potential to be very messy and difficult to give teams the same experience. Coaches were impressed with how smoothly the event went, thanks to Ginger's organization.  She spent the entire day at the Science Olympiad after helping to prepare all of the materials, then graded for several more hours. After that, she developed several experiments for the SuperSTEM Saturday event on campus, where she served in a leadership capacity once again. 

Connor Leone

Connor Leone was in Professor Simokat's Intro to Environmental Studies course, where he volunteered with ECOLIFE Conservation for his service learning hours.  Connor not only performed high quality work at his service learning site on whatever projects ECOLIFE Conservation asked of him, he also introduced the site to CSUSM, which has been a productive partnership and excellent learning site for later students.  Connor helped CSUSM make a connection that will be meaningful for countless students in the future. In the following semester after our class was over, he made himself available to be a guest speaker in other classes about service learning and his experience at ECOLIFE.  He helped students with questions outside of class and promotes service learning and his site whenever possible.  He speaks well and enthusiastically of the experience and has been a good program ambassador.


Outstanding Service Learning Faculty

Jacqueline Trischman

Chemistry in the Community, with Dr. Trischman was very enjoyable and rewarding. It definitely helped me understand how much work needs to go into creating a community outreach event.  We had to design experiments, create badges, and other activities needed to create an event. Dr. Trischman would follow up with our progress regularly, and praised our work while providing needed feedback. For my part of the event, I designed a Girl and Boy Scout Badge, and Dr. Trischman provided feedback and suggestions all along the way. In the end, when we saw the final badges I had a final product I could be really proud of. This is only one example that shows how Dr. Trischman is a very caring instructor. Seeing Dr. Trischman's efforts in putting on these outreach events inspires me to do more outreach, and deepen my understanding of the importance and value of reaching our community. 

Visionary Leadership in Service Learning

Lori Montross

Professor Montross was nominated by student Lennea Fish and partner, Lisa Lipsey. Having been the Outstanding Service Learning Faculty for 2014, Professor Montross has a record of teaching impactful Service Learning through her Psychology Field Experience. The class provides students with hands-on experience in psychology.  Lennea stated in her nomination, "I have gained a great understanding of palliative care, hospice care, therapeutic skills, and ethics regarding field experience." Dr. Montross helps students to feel prepared while volunteering at their service learning site by providing interactive lectures that compliment the service learning volunteer work very well and provides tools needed to provide better care to patients or residents. Step by step instructions and assignments helped parallel the volunteer work so that students felt confident and were able to provide meaningful service.  She makes herself available to her students for questions or concerns, and provides real-world solutions and helpful insight. Dr. Montross has one of the kindest hearts I have ever known, and her care and interest in her work, students, and the subject of palliative care really show in her class.

Community Partners

Outstanding Community Partners

ECOLIFE Conservation

Stephanie volunteered with ECOLIFE Conservation for her Communication Research Methods class. "I have learned about how aquaponics works to conserve water while harvesting crops and farming edible fish within the same cycle. I have also learned how nonprofit organizations such as ECOLIFE Conservation reach out to get the community involved in promoting environmental awareness while contributing to local organizations such as food banks in which they donate their crops grown out of aquaponics greenhouses." ECOLIFE Conservation works to educate service learners within the organization, provide enriching one on one experiences, and provide important services to help people with water conservation, deforestation, health improvement, and saving wildlife.  Stephanie further stated, "I am now more dedicated to environmental conservation, and am grateful for the time that ECOLIFE Conservation gave to help me grow as a human being."

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Foundation

Professor Simokat partners with Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF) and nominated them for this award. They offer opportunities in trail management, environmental education as well as other projects. AHLF provides important opportunities for students to understand their local habitats and environmental issues, and they are also an example of a non-profit business.  AHLF staff has been complimented by students as being friendly and welcoming and flexible with school schedules.  They also make a point of engaging students' interests and trying to accommodate them.  AHLF staff are excellent supervisors, getting to know their students and giving them training and feedback so they feel able to do their work well, setting them up for success.  They are professional and reliable, and communicate in a timely way.  They have been a long time partner with CSUSM and have worked with us in service learning, internships, and other projects, and they have always had positive feedback from students and faculty.  


Outstanding Video

North County Trade Tech High School

Video team members not pictured: students Ryan Anzil, Micheal Hebert, Kyler Smith