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President’s Commission Names 2009 Award Winners

Published: July 1, 2009

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) at CSULB recently selected the recipients of its Seventh Annual Advancement of Women Awards.

This year, the PCSW honored a staff and faculty member, each of whom actively contributed to the advancement of women through their scholarship, teaching, organizational work and/or campus community service. Women and men who are current members of the campus community are eligible for the award.

Faculty honors went to Claire E. Martin, professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures. Among her many publications, Martin has co-edited, with Christina Arambel, the two volumes Las mujeres toman la palabra: escritura feminina hispanoamericana del siglo XIX, Vol. I and Antologia de escritoras histpanoamericanas del siglo XIX, Vol. II (Frankfurt-Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2001) which have recovered and made available the writings of 19th century South American women authors. Her research has recently turned to the fictional representation of Argentina, her birth country, by women authors. Martin is beloved by her students as a teacher-mentor. By encouraging her students to engage in research and participate in conferences, she has inspired several of them to pursue advanced degrees and academic careers.

The award-winning staff member was Vivian Barrera, the project director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). Barrera, a CSULB alumna, has been building supportive social networks since her days as a student. She was active in the Hispanic Business Student Association, the International Student Association and La Raza, and, in addition, she founded a support group for Latina women at the Women’s Resource Center. As director of CAMP she has helped more than 200 students, most of them female, from diverse backgrounds. Barrera was the catalyst for the AB540 Resource Guide which is the first of its kind in the CSU for advisors of undocumented immigrant students and has been acknowledged as a prototype by the College Board.

In addition, the PCSW gave special recognition to the Women’s Studies Student Association for their activities and activism. They have not only forged relationships with organizations across campus to reach more students but have also been involved in a variety of community programs. The students in the association developed a workshop “It Takes a Village to Rape a Woman” which was first presented at the 2008 LA Social Forum and then in several other venues including KPFK’s Feminist Magazine. According to their advisor, Jennifer Reed, their activities demonstrate “…their ability to take an issue that they learned about in classes and make activism of it, to take a contact they make and turn it into a relationship and to take an idea and see it to fruition.”

Martin, Barrera and the Women’s Studies Student Association were recognized at the Spring Women’s Research Colloquium in April and received plaques. Martin’s and Barrera’s names have also been included on a perpetual plaque which is displayed in the Women’s Resource Center.