The President's Commission for the Status of Women presents the new award and the spring 2021 Person of the Year award as Women's HIstory Month concludes.
Cal U’s celebration of Women’s History Month concluded March 30 with a virtual awards ceremony honoring students, faculty and staff for outstanding achievements.
For the first time the commission presented the Sunshine Award, named in memory of the late Dr. Melanie Blumberg, to three individuals: Dr. Holiday Adair, professor of psychology; Carrie Schubert, interim director of Peer Mentoring/Parent and Family Engagement; and Sierra Snyder, a 2019 graduate who is pursuing master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling.
Blumberg, a political science professor and director of the American Democracy Project at Cal U, was a champion for students and colleagues. The Sunshine Award is so named to honor her knack for spreading positivity and to acknowledge those on campus who share the ability.
“When you would compliment Mel, she’d say you were over-praising, but we know it wasn’t over-praise,” said Dr. Laura Tuennerman, ADP director and history professor. “We know that Mel took time to mentor people, to recognize the achievement of others, to push her students toward internships and fellowships. The Sunshine Award honors that legacy.”
The commission also honored Selena Montijo as the spring 2021 Person of the Year in the traditional undergraduate category. The award acknowledges her work on behalf of women at Cal U and in the community.
Nominators praised the Sunshine Award winners’ qualifications.
“I’m proud to have Dr. Adair as a mentor. She is cheerful, optimistic, supportive and inspiring,” said Dr. Michael Baranski, assistant professor of psychology. “She has made me a better professor, providing general counsel and guidance on content, assessment, and classroom resources. Because of her support of mentorship, faculty are better instructors, researchers and clinicians.”
“There have been a number of our student staff members who connect with Carrie and seek her help on personal, professional and academic concerns,” said Dori Eichelberger, interim director of Academic Success Initiatives and Programming. “Carrie takes the time to get to know our students and encourages them to be successful, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
“Sierra’s focus at work is always her desire to help students in any way she can,” said Lisa Glasser, student success specialist and Snyder’s supervisor in the Success Center. “Her uplifting words of encouragement are beyond her years, and she is well-loved by her students, as well as all those who have the pleasure of knowing her. "
It is the second President’s Commission honor for Snyder, who was an undergraduate Person of the Year in 2019.
Nancy Skobel, director of the Cal U Women’s Center and associate dean for Student Affairs, noted Montijo’s volunteer work at the Women’s Center and End Violence Center and a project to provide dispensers for feminine hygiene products in campus buildings. As a Community Assistant, she developed programming that focused on social justice issues, and other leadership roles included serving as a peer mentor. In April 2020, Montijo won the Bill and Candace Booker Student Leadership Scholarship.