Manuel Gonzales, a fifth-year undergraduate student majoring in psychology with a minor in public health, was just selected to receive the prestigious Cal State University Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Achievement. Two students from each CSU are nominated to the chancellor’s office, on behalf of the institution, for consideration of an award ranging from $6,000-$12,000. Of those two students, only one student from each CSU will receive one of the awards. After being selected for one of the awards, Manuel was notified that he was ranked among the highest of the applicants and was invited to interview as a potential recipient for one of the top awards. He was then notified that he was selected to be the recipient of the highest award, the Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholarship with a $12,000 supplement.

Manuel is a first-generation student who transferred to SDSU in the Fall of 2016 from San Diego Mesa College. On campus, Manuel has been very involved since his transfer and has excelled academically. He was accepted into the Creating Scientists in Cancer Disparities summer research program prior to his transfer, which placed him into the Body Image, Sexuality, and Health (BISH) Lab under Dr. Aaron J. Blashill. In the BISH lab he has researched skin cancer risk behaviors among Hispanic adolescents and he has developed an independent project assessing ethnic/racial differences in body image disorders in a nationally recruited sample of sexual minority men and women. Manuel has presented his research as both oral and poster presentations at national conferences and SDSU’s very own Student Research Symposium. Through his research, Manuel was accepted into the National Institutes of Health funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program, which funds students to conduct undergraduate research and aids in their journey towards doctoral level studies through networking and bi-monthly workshops. He also has three publications in scientific journals, one of which is a first-author publication in the number one journal for behavior medicine in the world, and has had the honor of being selected as a prestigious Sally Casanova PreDoctoral Scholar through the CSU Chancellor’s Office, with a $3,000 award to aid in activities that would strengthen a student as a potential doctoral candidate.

On campus, Manuel is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter at SDSU, Psi Chi the Honor Society for Psychology, the Honor Society for Leadership and Success, and is in route to completing his leadership certificate through the Student Life and Leadership Department. He has also volunteered as a Peer Leadership Consultant through the Student Life and Leadership Department for the last two years, and will continue for this upcoming year, where he presents various leadership workshops to all organizations on campus. In the community, Manuel has helped with food and clothes drives for low income families in Tijuana, volunteered at outreach events for IMSD at local community colleges, participated in canyon day clean-ups, volunteered as a judge for the San Diego County youth science fair, and given his research interests in cancer disparities he actively donates blood and platelets for cancer patients. Manuel has managed to do all of this while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. Manuel will apply to PhD programs across the nation in clinical psychology this upcoming fall. His career goals are to become a tenured faculty member at a CSU conducting research on Hispanic health and mentoring the next generation of future scientists.

Link to the Award: (awardees from 2017)