California State University, Long Beach
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Trio Earn Service Awards For Efforts In The Community

Published: July 17, 2012

Gary Hytrek

Gary Hytrek

For several years, Gary Hytrek has worked with community-based organizations to fight for socio-economic justice and nurture closer community-university relations.

Since 2004, Hytrek, an associate professor of sociology at CSULB, has worked with the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), collaborating on a number of projects related to air quality, housing and civic engagement. As a founding member of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community, Hytrek has led discussions and forums about responsible and sustainable development, living wages and workers’ rights. As a member of the coalition’s steering committee, he organized and participated in the coalition’s successful town hall forum at CSULB that brought together nearly 200 people from the Long Beach community and campus.

He has also worked on several civic engagement campaigns including Get Out the Vote 2010, and more recently, Long Beach Rising, a four-day intensive leadership training program focused on civic engagement and voter education. Hytrek has also organized a variety of workshops and conference panels such as “Poverty is Way of Life in Long Beach” at Martin Luther King Park, and “Revisioning Long Beach: Creating an Equitable, Participatory and Sustainable City” at the Long Beach Historical Society.

Throughout his career at CSULB, he has created significant opportunities for student community engagement in his courses and by establishing a number of campus-community collaborations. Partnerships include ICO, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the Institute for Popular Education of Southern California, Dramatic Results, St. Lucy’s, PATH Ventures (People Assisting the Homeless) and Embracing Latina Leadership Alliances.

Hytrek also serves as an empowerment evaluator for the Long Beach Building Healthy Communities Youth Organizing Working Group and was previously the Evaluation and Learning Specialist for The California Endowment. Additionally, he is a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for Long Beach City Council District 9 and a member of the Community Advisory Committee for LAANE.

His work in the community is even more impressive given his leadership role in the Sociology Department, which includes implementing the new applied master’s program in Health and Community Development. He has served as the program’s interim director since 2011.

Kayla Crow

Kayla Crow

Kayla Crow has rallied against budget cuts to education and executive pay raises in a time when education is under attack. She has stood alongside hotel workers on picket lines and during boycotts and has spoken out at City Council and Planning Commission meetings against the displacing of community members.

A political science and English double major, Crow is passionate about improving the quality of life in Long Beach. Her desire to help others, especially victims of inequality and poverty, began in 2007 when she started working with One Imagination, a group known for open microphones, plays addressing social justice issues and youth programs for the community.

In 2008, Crow joined CSULB’s Political Science Student Association (PSSA), where she served as treasurer (2009-10) and vice president (2010-11). This year, as president, she is working to make politics accessible, interesting, and inspiring outside of the classroom.

Crow is an organizing intern with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, an advocacy organization aimed at influencing public policy related to good jobs, bettering the environment and community development. She connects students and professors to local issues, events and campaigns, as well as informs them of how they can contribute and participate in the community they directly affect.

Last year, Crow began volunteering with the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community, an organization that promotes responsible development, affordable housing and healthy communities. Through the coalition, Crow has helped groups and organizations come together in support of each other’s efforts to improve the quality of life in Long Beach. One example has been the Long Beach Rising! Civic Engagement program, which was aimed at strengthening civic engagement in the city. The program trained new community organizers, conducted voter outreach and taught coalition building to strengthen campaigns.

Crow recently joined the American Civil Liberties Union at the state capitol to lobby for bills that would reform deportation, drug charges and incarceration, as well as strengthen and increase accessibility to reproductive health care.

After commencement in May, Crow began focusing on community and labor organizing while participating in Organizing Beyond Barriers through Unite Here!

“Long Beach is my home,” she said. “And it only seemed right to give back and work to create a city that all of us could feel at home in.”

Khin Sandar Aung

Growing up in Burma, Khin Sandar Aung often saw people living in poverty without adequate health care. Dedicated to making a difference, she began volunteering at a school for orphaned children and low-income families when she was just 12 years old.

In 2000, Aung came to the United States as an international student at Orange Coast College. She earned an associate of arts degree in health care Administration and in 2005 transferred to CSULB.

While a student here, Aung participated in a global forum organized by the Alliance Towards Harnessing Global Opportunity (ATHGO), that focused on drafting a proposal to the United Nations about its Millennium Development Goals. Aung’s enthusiasm and leadership at that event earned her internships helping with ATHGO’s future forums. As an intern, she assisted diplomats, presenters and participants and facilitated group debates at annual global warming forums at the United Nations in New York and at UCLA.

In 2007, she gained a greater understanding of the implications of global policy on poor nations while volunteering at the Economic Development Project at the World Bank. In 2011, she served as a group leader, assisting entrepreneurs from around the world at ATHGO’s Constructive Entrepreneurship and Climate Change forum at the World Bank.

Aung has also volunteered at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach as a community outreach specialist, promoting health care services at special events and health fairs.

Aung earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration in 2007. An active student, she was president of the International Student Association, the Associated Student government representative on the International Education Committee and a member of the International Retreat Committee.

Aung currently works at Memorial HealthCare IPA and OptumHealth/UnitedHealth Group in Signal Hill as a quality and compliance physician relations and data collection specialist. She is a board member on CSULB’s Health Care Administration Alumni Network and is involved in numerous professional organizations.

–Richard Manly