California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) student Heather Valenova Dayag of Buena Park, has been selected as a 2015 recipient of the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, CSULB announced Tuesday.
This makes Dayag one of the most distinguished scholars in the CSU system and the recipient of an award given each year to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Her scholarship award is for $7,500, according to the announcement.
Dayag discovered a passion for healthcare and research after the sudden illness and death of her grandmother. She volunteered for over four years at a hospital and gained the understanding of human development and healthcare administration she needed to pique her creative and analytical skills.
“I am honored to have been selected for the 2015 CSU Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement. I accept this recognition on behalf of all of the individuals in my life who have shaped me into who I am today,” Dayag said in a statement. “My strength increases when it is challenged by those who try to stop me.”
As a first-generation college student, Dayag expects to graduate in May 2016 with a Master’s in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on Medical Education. She is a California Pre-doctoral Fellow and plans to obtain a doctorate degree to further her studies in effective clinical teaching practices.
She has presented her work at national and local conferences, while her many achievements throughout her academic career were acknowledged CSULB Community Engagement Award, Sally Casanova Scholarship, Phi Delta Gamma honor society, Exemplary Leadership Award, and President's Academic Honors.
“A first-generation college student, Heather’s dedication to advancing medical education in her community is admirable,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB, in a statement. “She is a wonderful role model for current and future students and I am proud she is part of our Beach family.”
According to the announcement, Dayag will join 22 other CSU students (one from each of the system’s campuses) to be recognized by the CSU Board of Trustees on September 8.
“I greatly appreciate the California State University for its value of excellence in interdisciplinary fields which helped flourish my personal and academic interests,” said Dayag in a statement. “I have gained resilience by surrounding myself with multiple mentors, building self-empowerment, and taking initiative to reach my goals.”
The Trustees’ Award program began about 30 years ago with scholarships endowed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. More than 300 scholarships have been awarded since the Hearst Foundation initiated its endowment in 1984 to help high-achieving students who have overcome adversity.