Civic & Community Engagement Awards: 2020

Traditionally, the Civic & Community Engagement Awards Ceremony is held in late April. However, due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandate order, we, unfortunately, had to cancel the 2020 Ceremony. We appreciated the excitement that surrounded this event and the numerous nominations that we received. Additionally, we wish to express our gratitude to all those who took the time and effort to submit nominations. In celebration of community and recognition of the incredible work and commitment of all of our awardees, congratulations!

2020 Awardees were celebrated at the 2024 Awards Ceremony. For the event program and photos, please view the 2024 Awards page.

ICCE 2024 Awards 189

We are proud to present this year’s Faculty Award to Professor Ricardo Gomes and Professor Russell Jeung. This award recognizes the exceptional work of our faculty who demonstrate excellence in engagement with our communities through the use of service learning as a teaching method

Ricardo Gomes, Professor

School of Design | College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Ricardo Gomes is the Nathan Shapira Design Archive coordinator and professor in the School of Design at SF State. Among his many accomplishments, Professor Gomes has received both the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar award (1984) and Ron Mace Designing for the 21st Century award (2004). He is also active in many professional organizations including the Institute for Human-Centered Design, Industrial Designers Society of America, and Episilon Pi Tau as a Distinguished Service Member. Professor Gomes implements a synergistic learning approach incorporating service-learning, human-centric design, and collaborative partnerships to teach his students.  They learn about the social impact of design to tackle critical issues including homelessness, accessibility, aging, mental health, and sustainability.  Undergraduate student, Seira Yasumatsu, collaborated with an SF State community partner led by Dr. June Fisher, to make community gardening more accessible for senior citizens by constructing a movable cart that includes support features for walking, sitting, and storing tools. Seira’s finished product called “Grow and Gather” won 3rd place in the annual international competition at the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge. Professor Gomes has also presented keynote speeches and presentations at international conferences in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. His professional experience as both an educator and active community member has enabled him to serve on many juries related to universal design, design for social responsibility, inclusive design, global design, and cultural identity.

Russell Jeung, Ph.D., Professor

Asian American Studies Department | College of Ethnic Studies

Professor Russell Jeung is the Chair of the Asian American Studies Department at SF State. Professor Jeung is a leading sociologist whose research focuses on Asian American race and religion, community organizing, and social movements that inform policy. Asian immigrant and refugee populations face post-resettlement challenges inhibiting their access to employment and health care. Professor Jeung is actively involved with community-based participatory research projects bringing together local organizations and students from his service-learning courses; together they host health fairs and design needs assessments for diverse Asian communities in the Bay Area.  Two of his many notable research projects include “Himalayan Women’s Health Needs” (2014) and “Mongolian Needs Assessments” (2014). These research projects highlighted the importance of ethnic heterogeneity in identifying barriers to accessing health services and other resources. Results helped reform policies to implement more effective evidence-based interventions addressing health disparities as well as garner funding for community organizations involved in these projects. Furthermore, Professor Jeung has utilized different media platforms to raise awareness about critical issues facing Asian Americans, his work with SF State students in the Asian American community, and efforts to improve his own community in East Oakland. Professor Jeung is a well-known author of many publications such as his most recent 2016 work titled At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors.  A recipient of numerous awards, Professor Jeung has most recently spoken out against the harassment of Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic through an interview with National Public Radio. 

We are pleased to present this year’s Student Award for Excellence in Service Learning to Monica DiLullo. This Award recognizes the extraordinary work and the impact that SF State students have within our surrounding communities through their service-learning experience. Recipients of this award have made a significant contribution to our institution’s culture of engagement, further establishing and strengthening SF State’s commitment to supporting the communities we serve. 

Monica DiLullo

Economics | Lam Family College of Business

Monica DiLullo is a current graduate student earning her Master of Arts in the department of Economics at SF State. She is proactively engaged in the Bay Area community and has also demonstrated personal as well as academic growth, as a result of enrolling in the service-learning course, ECON 840: Health Economics Analysis and Research. Monica successfully completed an independent research project with an SF State community partner, City Surf Project (CSP), a non-profit organization that provides underrepresented youth with an impactful surfing experience. Monica actively visited high schools collecting data, advertised the impact of CSP’s mission and work, and met with the organization’s surf instructors to advocate the importance of tapping into the power of data-driven decision-making. Her diligence and hard work on this invaluable study culminated in the article, “From Service Learning to Community Based Research: A Health Economics Course and Community Partnerships”, which is co-authored with SF State professor Anoshua Chaudhuri and CSP’s Executive Director, Johnny Irwin. This article is currently under review by the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning for possible future publication. Monica also showcased the results of her service-learning and community-engaged research at the 2019 SF State Faculty Retreat in a workshop co-led with the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. Monica has a bright future ahead of her and even secured a job offer as a policy analyst before completing her master’s program.  

We are proud to present this year’s Student Award for Excellence in Community Engagement to Jazmin Mendez to recognize and celebrate her efforts, on both a local and international level. This Award recognizes SF State students who have performed exceptional outreach and engagement with Bay Area communities through their personal commitment to service. 

Jazmin Mendez

Recreation, Parks & Tourism | College of Health & Social Sciences 

Jazmin Mendez will earn a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration from SF State in May 2020. Jazmin has demonstrated an exceptional record of service to the community by engaging in a multitude of different service-learning projects. As a sophomore in 2018, Jazmin enrolled in the RPT 470 course called “Travel with a Purpose” where students learn about socially responsible travel, community engagement, cultural competency, and sustainability through a service-learning experience in Costa Rica. She successfully spearheaded a class fundraiser in the Bay Area to purchase recreational supplies that were then delivered to schools in both Tortuguero and Yorkin, impoverished, rural communities in Costa Rica. Jazmin also collaborated with fellow classmates to directly engage with Yorkin elementary school youth by leading and developing recreational activities. She also worked with ARA Manzanillo, an organization dedicated to conserving the Great Green Macaw, and Stibrawpa, another nonprofit founded by the Yorkin Village women committed to protecting their native land and culture. Since then, Jazmin has continued her dedication to community service as a member of SF State’s Lambda Theta Nu Sorority by serving on the Incorporated Latina Youth Leadership Conference Committee and is the current Community Service & Cultural Affairs Chair. Jazmin also received the 2019 California Travel Summit Scholarship. This semester, Jazmin is completing additional service hours as an event planner for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Jazmin’s extensive service involvement has significantly impacted the SF State campus, local, and international communities. 

We are pleased to announce that the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Community Partnership Award for Campus Collaboration. This Award recognizes the exceptional work of our community partners and one organization that demonstrates excellence in contributing to student learning outcomes and increased faculty awareness each year is honored. Enhancing faculty knowledge of community needs as well as their impact on course content is equally important. Under Cindy Blackstone’s leadership, Pomeroy’s contributions to support service-learning and our students at SF State have been tremendous, and we are pleased to recognize their efforts.

Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center / Cindy Blackstone, Volunteer & Safety Manager

The Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center (PRRC) is a nonprofit organization that provides people with disabilities with recreational, vocational, and educational programs, designed to promote individual independence, self-expression, and personal achievements. PRRC is a university community partner and the Director of Staff Support Services, Cindy Blackstone, actively recruits many students from across campus. For example, the ENG 214 service-learning courses taught every semester by Amy Love and Jolie Goorjian take advantage of the wonderful opportunities at PPRC. The Youth Program serves the needs of children, teens, and transition-age youth; the Adult Day Services help those with developmental brain injuries. PPCR also creates a community of support by encouraging family members of participants to connect with one another through their Family Advisory Council. Cindy helps ENG 214 students develop personalized projects including multiple opportunities for both academic and professional skill development. Cindy’s leadership addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities in ways that empower individuals to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence, and dynamic social relationships to achieve independence. Furthermore, Cindy adopts essential core values of service-learning courses by inspiring SF State students to deeply reflect upon their experiences. Many students have expressed that by becoming part of the PRRC community these life-changing experiences have provided a deeper understanding of the social issues people with disabilities face daily and have enabled students to learn more about themselves. PRRC is an ideal community partner due to Cindy’s active outreach, excellent mentorship, and adoption of core service-learning concepts. 

We are pleased to present this year’s Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement to Rebecca Mendez. This Award recognizes SF State staff members who have supported exceptional outreach and/or engagement with Bay Area communities through their personal and professional commitment. 

Rebecca Mendez

Health Equity Research (HER) Lab | College of Science & Engineering

Rebecca Mendez is the Lab Manager for the Health Equity Research (HER) Lab and a Master’s of Public Health candidate in Community Health Education at SF State. Rebecca has a longstanding commitment to reducing health disparities in ethnic minority communities that originated with her undergraduate volunteer work with Clínica Martín-Baró. Clínica is a local organization based in the Mission District dedicated to providing much-needed health care to the economically disadvantaged Spanish-speaking community. In her current role as Lab Manager, Rebecca works on multiple research projects using her specialized training in cellular and molecular biology. These projects all strive towards contributing to the existing body of knowledge on how the lived experiences of marginalized and underserved Bay Area communities not only affect bodily biological mechanisms but also serve as social determinants of health. In a study using biospecimens collected from African-American women, for example, Rebecca analyzes telomeres, a proposer biomarker of aging, to illuminate how everyday experiences of racism and discrimination have been shown to accelerate aging in this population. She has also studied how “Love Intervention” combats adverse health outcomes for local high school students as well as positive impacts of a stress intervention program on Latina breast cancer survivors. Rebecca also volunteers at La Casa de las Madres to support victims of domestic violence and the Center for Youth Wellness in Bayview Hunters Point. Her continued service in the community and role model as a community-engaged researcher embodies the university’s commitment as a “City University” to support the communities we serve.