CSN Foundation

Spirit of CSN Awards - 2020

2020 Spirit of CSN Award Recipients

CSN President Dr. Federico Zaragoza and the CSN Foundation Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the 2020-2021 Spirit of CSN award recipients.

Learning by Hands on Research – 8 students – $5,650 award – James Theoret, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

This project addresses issues of college readiness and economic disparities by providing students with the in-depth and personalized experience working with faculty outside of the classroom in the “Living Laboratory.” While participating in this research immersion, students will be provided the hands-on-experience in environmental investigation.  This experience will provide students with a sense of belonging, connectivity, and a vested interest in the work rather than just the old fashion lecture room that can feel cold, sterile, and impersonal.  This is a tool that is a necessity to succeed in the STEM fields for all students but even more so for underrepresented populations.

Meaningful Writing Initiative – up to 1,200 students – $10,000 – Robyn Rohde, Dr. Brendan Shapiro, Dr. Laura Powell, and Dr. Sheree Royer, English Department

The Meaningful Writing Initiative will operate as a sub-committee of the existing Composition Committee in the English Department. The MWI leaders will partner directly with ALS and other course instructors to implement and assess the project at each key stage below. The MWI will change the student’s perspective on the relevancy of first-year courses to their overall personal, academic, and professional goals, and this will increase engagement and motivation to succeed. The MWI also hopes to impact course completion and persistence rates from first-year to second-year for the students who participate.

First Year Experience (FYE) Connection Award – 3,500 students – $10,000 – Dr. Karen Violanti and Courtney Schmitz, Student Affairs

The inspiration for the FYE Connection Award is to create an official “launch” to the First Year Experience (FYE) for new students at CSN. FYE provides a research-based opportunity for students to engage, academically and socially, with proven success strategies for the first year of college.

Textbook Assistance Program (TAP) – $10,000 – Leanita “Nikki” Hughes, Student Affairs

Through TAP, CSN students decrease the cost of attendance through the book loan process. Textbooks are checked out/checked in at the beginning and end of each semester and tracked through the use of the current Resource Mate. This service increases the academic success of students, which will lead to high graduation and transfer rates. Additionally, TAP provides an opportunity for students to connect with Career & Transfer Services and other services provided by the department.

The Collective Project – 20 students – $10,000 – Gregette Perry Simmons and Denesha Stamps Moore, Academic Advising

Our plan is to collaborate with invested and supportive CSN constituents to address the challenge(s) and reason(s) African American students are graduating at a 3% rate. We would like to explore how Academic Advising can assist with the retention, persistence, and completion of this population of students. Many times, academic advisors are the first people students meet. In turn, we set the tone for the institution, so it is imperative that we are equipped to provide the needed support African American students need to navigate the rigor of higher education and ultimately graduate.

Thanks to the Spirit of CSN 2020 Selection Committee appointed by Dr. Zaragoza.

  • Bob Bonora, Chair, Fine Arts
  • Barbara Burgess, Administrative Faculty
  • Cheryl Feldmeier, Associate CIO, Office of Technology Services
  • LaDella Levy, Professor, Political Science
  • Lisa De Jesus, AVP, Student Affairs
  • Frank Woodbeck, Executive Director, Office of Sponsored Projects
  • Marcus Johnson, Dean, School of Business, Hospitality and Public Service
  • John Min, Instructor, Social Sciences
  • Natalie Nelson, Coordinator, Student Learning
  • Terry Norris, Director, Office of ELearning
  • Daniel Gutierrez, ASCSN President

Contact Us

Danita Simons

Executive Director


Jocelyn Metoxen

Philanthropy Coordinator


A headshot of Lauren Johnson. Lauren smiles at camera standing in front of wood background.

Lauren Johnson

Manager of Alumni & Donor Relations


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