Academic journal

Psychology graduate student honored with 2022 CSU Trustee Award

When Samantha Patricia Navarro was a senior in high school, there wasn’t much talk in the house about going to college. Her parents, who worked cherry and almond orchards in and around Modesto, were surprised when she told them.

“They had planned for me to work and help with the bills,” Navarro said. And why not? That’s what they had done, much earlier in their lives, in fact. Navarro’s father completed sixth grade before leaving school to earn money; his mother dropped out of high school to work.

“It was kind of an understanding that my parents wouldn’t be able to give me a lot of advice,” Navarro said. “I had to step in and look for information and look for a mentor.”

She was in college when she first met Aaron Sanchez, guidance counselor and tutor for her school’s TRiO program, a federal student services outreach program designed to identify and provide services to people from backgrounds. disadvantaged. The program helps low-income individuals, first-generation students, and students with disabilities progress through college-to-college education.

Sanchez, Navarro said, supported her with counseling and tutoring throughout her graduation from Modesto Junior College.

“Aaron was my mentor for years,” Navarro said. “I saw how he helped me, and I knew I wanted to do that too.”

With Sanchez’s support, Navarro was accepted to the University of California, Merced, where she earned a degree in psychology and a minor in public health.

Now, Navarro is a sophomore graduate student at Fresno State, where she is majoring in experimental psychology and maintaining an upper-level 4.0 GPA. His research on human judgment will soon be published in an academic journal.

She was also one of 23 students chosen by California State University (one from each campus) to receive the 2022 CSU Trustee Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU system’s highest recognition for student achievement. As a Fresno State recipient, she is a Peter Mehas Distinguished Fellow.

Recipients were recognized for their superior accomplishments during the Committee on Institutional Advancement portion of the September 13 CSU Board meeting.

“I was very surprised to receive it, but I feel like it’s a way of honoring my mentors and teachers,” Navarro said. “It lets me know that I’m capable of succeeding despite my past.”

Now halfway through her graduate career, Navarro works as a graduate teaching associate and was honored as the top teaching assistant of the year for providing students with an exceptional learning experience. She is passionate about teaching and mentoring students and also stays connected to her community, volunteering in higher education for K-12 students and supporting agricultural workers. through the United Farm Workers organization.

After graduating in the spring of 2023, Navarro plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive psychology and become a professor in the CSU system so he can support underrepresented students in higher education.

And while it took them a while to tell, Navarro’s parents recently told him how proud they are.

“They can see how [education] is now,” Navarro said.

The Trustees Award is the university’s highest recognition for student achievement. Each award provides a donor-funded scholarship to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal achievement, community service, and financial need. The recipients have all shown inspiring determination throughout their journey to academic success and many of them are the first members of their families to attend university.

More than 420 students have received the Trustees Award since the scholarship program was established in 1984 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In 1999, the Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU trustees, CSU Foundation board members, and private donors.

Visit the USC website for the biographies of the 23 scholarship recipients.​