CSU Monterey Bay will hold its annual honors convocation May 16, recognizing more than 250 students for their distinguished academic achievements.

This year’s event was moved from the University Center to Freeman Stadium, and from its traditional date in late April to the day before commencement.

Five students will receive special awards, 22 will be honored for their Service Learning work and 247 will be acknowledged for having earned grade-point averages of at least 3.5.

The honors students will be among the approximately 1,400 graduates crossing the stage at the May 17 commencement ceremony.

Award winners:

Honors convocation President's Award for Exemplary Student Achievement, given to a well-rounded student who made notable contributions to a particular area of university life through depth of involvement and service as a student leader; participated actively as a positive agent of innovation and action with demonstrated service to the campus community; and achieved a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher: Alijah Jade Marquez, Collaborative Health and Human Services

Through her work as a peer educator, Marquez has helped to promote healthy lifestyle choices, instilling lessons they can take with them beyond graduation. Her capstone project focused on helping to raise awareness and educate students about the health risks and responsibilities that accompany unsafe sexual practices and behaviors.

Provost's Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement, given to a student who has demonstrated exemplary achievement in his or her major; excelled personally and academically with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher; and contributed to the learning community of CSUMB: Philip Cooksey, Computer Science and Information Technology

A first-generation college student, Cooksey arrived on camps with a strong drive to excel academically. Even as a freshman, he impressed faculty members with his enthusiasm for learning and commitment to achieving high academic goals.

As a junior, he secured a summer research experience at Carnegie Mellon University. As a senior, he co-developed the first upper division Artificial Intelligence course at CSUMB with Dr. Kate Lockwood, and helped to teach it alongside Dr. Lockwood.

Next year, he will enroll in a Ph.D. program at Carnegie Mellon’s prestigious Robotics Institute with his tuition paid and a $31,000 annual stipend.

Outstanding Senior Award for Social Justice, given to a student who has coordinated or participated in a project that promotes equity or social justice and generates awareness that benefited historically underserved populations in the local communities: Charity Hawkins, Human Communication

Hawkins served as cultural enrichment series student coordinator for the Otter Cross-Cultural Center. She was instrumental in the campus-wide effort to bring thought-provoking speakers to campus to address issues of social justice.

She also served as president of Black Students United and vice president of the campus chapter of the NAACP. Through her work, she has helped people with different perspectives and backgrounds to better understand one another.

Alumni Vision Award, given to a first-generation student who manifests the beliefs and tenets of the Vision Statement through personal example and has provided leadership in a project or activity that extends the university’s Vision into the lives of others: Marina Rico, psychology

Marina is a first-generation student from a farm-working family who came to CSUMB as a transfer student from Hartnell College in Salinas. She compiled an outstanding academic record while caring for her daughter and working two jobs. She found time to serve as a peer mentor in the Educational Opportunity Program, which provides support

Outstanding Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, given to a student-athlete who has demonstrated exemplary academic achievement: Sherene Thompson, kinesiology

Thompson maintained a 3.97 grade-point average while earning a number of conference all-academic honors as a member of the women’s soccer team. To put an exclamation point on her athletic career at CSUMB, as a senior she has been a member of the softball team as well.

Off the field, she demonstrated leadership as co-president of the CSUMB Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Service Learning awards were presented to students in each academic major who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to service in the local community.

Service Learning award winners and their majors: 

• Biology – Karen Garcia
• Business Administration – Jarrett Garife

• Cinematic Arts and Technology – Thomas Stevens
• Collaborative Health and Human Services – Jesus Castillo Mendoza

• Communication Design – Kate Wilson
• Computer Science and Information Technology – Leigh Anne Warner
• Environmental Science, Technology and Policy – Jillian Flavin
• Environmental Studies – Jilian Epstein

• Global Studies – Yazmin Guzman
• Human Communication – Mojola Osifeso
• Integrated Studies – Jewel-Sean Yahut Gentry

• Japanese Language and Culture – Steven Silbert
• Kinesiology – Cory Harage
• Liberal Studies – Pilar Mendoza, Sally Jamieson
• Marine Science – Carylann Menzies
• Mathematics – Daniel Lopez
• Psychology – Heather Rogers, Lorena Pinon Gutierrez
• Social and Behavioral Sciences – Ofa Nau
Jr., Victoria Flores
• Visual and Public Art – Ryan Bugarin

Get information on CSUMB's May 17 commencement ceremony here.