Theresa Dexter earns 2018 Alumni Vision Award

By Jessenya Guerra
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Theresa Dexter, winner of the 2018 Alumni Vision Award.

Theresa Dexter is being recognized by CSUMB’s Alumni center for the promotion and facilitation of higher education. The Alumni Center selects one student from the graduating class every academic year to honor for their outstanding contribution to the Alumni Vision. The Alumni Vision Award is given in recognition to the graduating student who best exemplifies the Vision of CSUMB of preparing leaders for a collaborative, multicultural society.

The Alumni Vision Award is awarded to a student who: Manifests the beliefs and tenets of the vision statement through personal example, voice and initiative, is a powerful spokesperson whose words touch and move others in promoting the vision, has provided leadership in a project or activity that extended the vision into the lives of others, especially in the areas of bridging social/economic divides, empowering education, celebrating diversity, and promoting understanding and respect for other cultures and global awareness; Is in good standing and not on probation of any kind; Is an undergraduate or graduate student with a degree award date of Fall 2017, Spring 2018, or Summer 2018.

Dexter was nominated for this award by her magnificent work with the TRiO program at CSUMB. The TRiO student support services office on campus has one main goal which, “contributes to the success of first generation, low-income students, and individuals with disabilities by supporting and empowering program participants in their academic, personal, and professional growth.”according to the office’s mission statement. These offices help to make a college education more attainable to those eligible and to increase the likelihood of a student’s success of completing their college education.

“At TRiO student support services we work with first generation students, low income students, and students with disabilities. A lot of the time we are mentoring these students and my boss really took a notice to how I was interacting with the students and promoting education passionately. When I heard that she had nominated me I was so shocked because this is such an honor to even be considered for a prestigious award such as this,” said Dexter.

“[My boss] told me that she really admired the way that I had been mentoring students and really giving it my all. I told her that that is what my job is and I am just doing my job the best that I could and she said, ‘No. You are a visionary and this award really fits who you are and the work you have done’,” said Dexter.

“I am really excited to have been chosen for the Alumni Vision award. To me the Alumni Vision award goes to someone who is going to pass the baton forward when it comes to education. Especially when it comes to the embodiment of  CSUMB’s mission statement. Being a Hispanic serving institution and coming from a Hispanic background, who is first generation and low income, it means that this university embraces that and encourages change. It encourages change in my family and for my future generations,” said Dexter.

“That’s what the Alumni vision really means to me. Creating change where there wasn’t change before. Creating change to where before education wasn’t even an option,” said Dexter.

Dexter would like to say thank you to those who supported her and helped her earn such a prestigious award. “Thank you to Kyrstie Lane, Kim Barber, Enid Ryce, Clarisa Avila, Asya Guillory, Shiela Hernandez, Andrew Porteous and most of all thank you to my husband Jason Dexter,” said Dexter.

After graduating CSUMB with the highest honors, Cum Laude, Dexter will be attending The University of California at Berkeley in the Fall for her masters degree. “I will be pursuing their masters in Social Welfare. I want to go there because I am ready to make some changes for underrepresented communities. I want to make a Hispanic presence on that campus because it is severely lacking. I am ready to go with full steam ahead and I really want them to know that CSUMB is really crafting the future of social work,” said Dexter.

Dexter would like to leave the CSUMB graduating class, and all current and future CSUMB students with these inspiring words, “Stick to your dreams and make your what ifs become attainable.”

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