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Outstanding Seniors

Outstanding Senior: Kevin Nishi
 

HatKevin returned to college after leaving a career in corporate banking. He said that one of the best things that ever happened to him was getting laid off from the bank "because now I feel like a 'real person.'" Although the transition was not easy, his commitment to succeed as a returning student has been rewarding. "Sociology has both challenged and strengthened my internal integrity," said Kevin. "I am most proud of my perseverance and willingness to keep an open mind." Now that he is actively looking to start a new career, Kevin believes that majoring in Sociology will allow him to contribute meaningfully to his community and provide opportunities that will enhance his most cherished role: a single father.

M. "Jack" Mason Award: Elizabeth Musquiz
 

Elizabeth was selected for the Mason Award, which is given to a graduating senior in Sociology who has a superior GPA and who best exemplifies "the Sociological Imagination" through activities on and off campus. Elizabeth has been highly active in the social, cultural and political life of the Central Valley. Her most recent community service projects include coordinating the Annual Intertribal Pow Wow at Modesto Junior College, serving as Treasurer and Fundraising Chair for the Modesto/Stanislaus Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Other service projects include volunteering with the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of the League of Women Voters, tutoring fourth grade students in the Step-Up After School Program and working as a writing mentor in the Sociology Department. Elizabeth has received numerous awards for her community service from organizations and politicians. She plans to seek a career in government working with the Native American community.

Harold S. Jacoby Citizen Leader Award: Martha Valadez
 

Martha ValadezMartha was presented with the Harold Jacoby Citizen Leader Award, named after the first Dean of the College of the Pacific and awarded to a student who has given responsible and exemplary public service to the community. Martha has demonstrated exceptional service in Stockton, in her hometown of Rialto, and even in Mexico. She has worked to foster environmental sustainability as the ASUOP Sustainability Commissioner and as an intern at the Healthy Rialto program; to promote racial equality as a co-chair of MEChA and by working with migrant youth and their families; and to build better campus community relations through the Center for Community Involvement.

As a Sociology major, Martha has constantly pushed herself in her intellectual and civic goals. Her leadership stems from an ever-deepening understanding of the entrenched nature of inequality, as well as empathy for individuals from all walks of life. In the fall she will begin graduate studies in social work at the University of Michigan, and we have no doubt that her exceptional service while at Pacific is the beginning of a worthy and interesting career.