GSOE Undergraduate Education Awards

Congratulations to the recipients of the undergraduate education awards!

Outstanding Achievement Award: Samia Alkam
This award recognizes students—one from each of the colleges—who are selected by their respective deans (based on faculty nominations) for their exemplary achievement in academics and research or creative activity, breadth of involvement in the college, and commitment to service and citizenship.

Samia Alkam

Samia Alkam is earning a B.A. in Education, Society, and Human Development with a concentration in Community Leadership, Policy, and Social Justice. She is a research assistant for UC Riverside's Civic Engagement Research Center as a Dutton Scholar and a Community Outreach Intern with the Middle Eastern Student Center. In the Fall, she will be continuing her time with the GSOE pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Policy Analysis and Leadership with the Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship.

Academic Excellence Award: Thomas Cortez, Daisy Gonzalez, Jason Tse
This award recognizes students—one from each Education Concentration—who are selected by the Undergraduate Education Committee (based on faculty nominations) for achieving excellence in their academics, research, and community engagement or creative activity.

Thomas Cortez

Thomas Cortez is a first-generation college student earning a B.A. in Education, Society, and Human Development with a concentration in Learning and Behavioral Studies. He transferred from College of the Desert in Fall 2019. During his time at UCR, he interned at Blu Education Foundation as a college readiness advisor in the local Riverside Unified School District (RUSD); served as a student ambassador in the Graduate School of Education (GSOE) serving students in transfer orientation and Highlander day. Thomas was recently nominated and awarded as the 2021 Chief Azul Scholar for his tribe the Gila River Indian Community Tribal Education Department which recognizes educational achievements, academics, excellence, and leadership. After graduation Thomas will be attending the University of Southern California (USC) to earn a Master of Education in Educational Counseling (EC).

Daisy G

Daisy Gonzalez is a first-generation undergraduate earning a degree in Education and Public Policy. During her time at UCR, Daisy has played an active role in her community and served in multiple leadership roles. She was a Dean’s Student Ambassador for the UCR School of Public Policy, served as a Resident Advisor, a Peer Mentor for Chicano Student Programs, and President for the National Residence Hall Honorary Highlander chapter, an on-campus housing organization dedicated to developing a successful residential community. Daisy interned for Latina Republic, a non-profit organization that sheds light on Latinos and Immigrants living in the U.S. As an Immigration Writer, she researched current immigration policy, conducted interviews with NGO leaders, and published compelling stories of undocumented and Latino student resilience. This quarter Daisy participated in the University of California Washington D.C. (UCDC) Program, and because of her commitment to civic engagement, was awarded the UCDC Presidential Public Service Fellowship Award for the Spring 2021 cohort. Daisy aspires to receive her Master’s degree in Education Policy, where she can learn of the critical policies needed to ensure educational equity and achievement for marginalized students.


Jason Tse is a double major in Education (Student Designed Comparative Track) and Music (Composition). This past year, he presented an original music video at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, led the UCR Highlander Pep Band through two virtual ensemble projects, and composed pieces for several musicians across the country including Disney Concert Hall percussionist Wesley Sumpter, Chicago-based flute duo Duo Zonda, and LA-based Brightworks ensemble. He frequently collaborates with the Theatre, Film, and Digital Production department, creating short films and soundtracks. After graduation, Jason plans to continue his education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Music Composition.

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