San Francisco State University graduate student Christine D. Gonzalez has been named the Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar for 2015 by the California State University (CSU). The honor is conferred as part of the annual CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement, which recognizes the academic success, personal accomplishments and community service of select CSU students.
The Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar is the award winner with the highest overall score from the award committee. The student earning the honor receives a $12,000 scholarship.
"That's a big deal," said Gonzalez, who expects to receive her graduate degree in sexuality studies next spring. "I'm going to be able to focus on my studies and not stress out too much about money. I can really delve into my passion and my thesis."
The daughter of a single mother who immigrated to East Los Angeles from Mexico, Gonzalez is the first member of her family to attend college. After earning a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego, she worked as a public school sexual health educator in L.A. before moving on to grad school.
"I sought out a master's program in the social sciences at a diverse university and location," Gonzalez said. "Since I wanted to learn more about community activism, race/ethnicity and LGBTQ issues, enrolling in SF State's sexuality studies M.A. program was a no-brainer. I've learned so much here and have enjoyed getting to work with passionate students and faculty. Their support has given me the confidence to pursue the things that are most important to me."
Gonzalez's thesis explores gender nonconformity in mariachi music. Once it's finished and she has her M.A., she hopes to work as a community educator or counselor for a nonprofit organization.
Edward J. McCaughan, professor of sociology and interim director of the School of Social Work, says he was impressed with Gonzalez from the moment she first introduced herself at a department orientation for new graduate students last August.
"It was her first week on campus and she was already prepared with a smart, compelling narrative about how her intellectual interests and social commitments came together at the intersection of Mexican American culture, music and the performance of gender and sexuality," McCaughan said. "Her intellectual curiosity and capacity for hard work seem boundless, and her ability to quickly assimilate new ideas and make them her own demonstrates a keen intelligence."
To learn more about the CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement, go to the CSU scholarship programs page.