Making Waves: May 2024

Published May 23, 2024

Making Waves is a monthly column that celebrates accomplishments of the Ӱ community.

Employee of the Month: Xenia Orozco

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Human Resources Specialist Xenia Orozco
Human Resources Specialist Xenia Orozco

Although she’s been on staff at Ӱ for only two years, Xenia Orozco ‘20 already has proven herself to be a standout human resources specialist known for her commitment and versatility. A powerful advocate for student assistants, Orozco also has skillfully managed various HR challenges — especially during staffing shortages. For this, the business major was named . "Xenia's relentless dedication and proactive approach truly embody what we consider the ‘Best of The Beach,’ " said Roxanna Roa, associate director of employee relations and leave of absence programs. Orozco’s credits her fellow Beach staffers and supervisors for showing so much initiative so early in her career. “They have created an environment where I feel encouraged to learn and grow every day.” 

Dirtbags retire No. 36 in honor of Jered Weaver 

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Jered Weaver at a ceremony for the retirement of his Dirtbags jersey
Jered Weaver

Former Anaheim Angels player Jered Weaver ‘04 was immortalized in a ceremony May 10, as Long Beach State retired his number, 36. Once dubbed the "Friday Knight," Weaver was named 2004 National Player of the Year and was a multiple-time MLB All-Star. The ceremony as it was the first time the team had retired a number. Renowned for his dominance at Blair Field during the ‘04 season, Weaver's achievements that year included 213 strikeouts and a 14-0 start. On two occasions he struck out the first 10 batters he faced. Weaver's legacy extends beyond college, with multiple professional records and a stellar career primarily with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Limited-edition "36” shirts were given out before the game. 

CHHS dean to lead Academy of Kinesiology 

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College of Health and Human Services Dean Monica Lounsbery
CHHS Dean Monica Lounsbery

Dean Monica Lounsbery of the College of Health and Human Services has been elected president-elect of the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK), a century-old organization dedicated to advancing knowledge, upholding standards, and Ӱthe study of human movement and physical activity. Its members are elected based on their significant contributions within the field; Lounsbery has been a fellow since 2015. Founded in 1925 as the American Academy of Physical Education, the NAK recognizes that the broadening field of kinesiology goes beyond traditional PE to encompass areas such as exercise science, biomechanics, motor control and sport psychology, among other fields. Lounsbery, who will be the NAK’s 84th president in 100 years, has written extensively on strategies and interventions aimed at raising the overall level of physical activity within a population. 
 

Faculty Achievement Awards announced  

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President Jane Conoley
President Jane Close Conoley

President Jane Close Conoley has announced the 2023-24 President’s Awards for Outstanding Faculty Achievement. This year, 29 faculty members across seven colleges were recognized for their outstanding and sustained academic achievements in teaching, service, research, scholarly and creative activity, administration, and success initiatives. The list included 13 faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts, five from the College of Health & Human Services, three from the College of Engineering, three from the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, three from the College of Business and two from College of the Arts. Each President’s Award includes a monetary prize of $10,000. The awards also acknowledge the work of faculty that aligns with the strategic initiatives reflected in Beach 2030. For a complete list of winners, visit the Office of the President’s website.   

Ӱ staffer a champion of service 

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Alessandro Russo
Alessandro Russo

Alessandro Russo '10, '16, has received this year’s Staff Council Outstanding Staff Award. Called out specifically for his commitment to bettering both The Beach and the broader community, Russo has served various roles at Ӱ, including Staff Council chair, where he has contributed to the Academic Senate and International Education Committee. Russo has held administrative positions at the George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies, the Learning Assistance Center, the Department of Romance German Russian Languages & Literatures and — finally — the Department of Economics. "Alessandro is one of the savviest staff members we have,” Spanish Professor Bonnie Gasior said in her nomination, adding that Russo elevates every project with his “grace and efficiency." Russo is actively engaged in community service, such as charity walks and preparing holiday care packages for the unhoused.

Associate dean explores legacy in new book

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"Black Woman on Board" cover by Donna J. Nicol
Cover of "Black Woman on Board"
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Donna J. Nicol
Donna J. Nicol

The University Library recently hosted for a discussion on her new book, “Black Woman on Board: Claudia Hampton, the ӰState University, and the Fight to Save Affirmative Action.” (University of Rochester Press, 2024). Nicol is associate dean of personnel and curriculum in the College of Liberal Arts at Ӱ. Her work delves into the influential role of Claudia H. Hampton, the first Black woman trustee and later chair of the CSU board, who tirelessly advocated for the rights of historically marginalized groups from 1974 to 1994. Nicol’s narrative reveals how Hampton's strategic use of "sly civility" and boardsmanship significantly advanced affirmative action within the CSU system. , which also featured U.S. History Professor Patricia Cleary, focused on that pivotal period in educational history and the groundbreaking leadership of Black women in academia. 

Ӱ Moot Court teams triumph at nationals

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Moot court winners hold 2024 awards
Morgan Barragan, left, and Ivonne Sotelo

Two teams at Cal State Long Beach demonstrated legal mastery at the American Moot Court Association's (AMCA) National Championship. Fourth-year English major Morgan Barragan and Ivonne Sotelo, a third-year political science major, showcased their advocacy and reasoning skills to reach the semifinals from a pool of close to 500 others. In a separate victory, seniors Alexa Alvarez and Stevie De La Fuente secured second-place wins in the “respondent written brief competition,” maintaining The Beach’s impressive 14-year streak in the top 10 — a record-setting run in AMCA history. Under the guidance of Lewis Rangel, a lecturer in the Political Science Department and coach since 2006, the Moot Court program continues to prepare future legal minds in simulated Supreme Court battles, a tradition that spans over two decades at the university. 

Have an item for Making Waves? Send your submissions to Wendy Thomas Russell.