13:58 PM

Biology Grad Student Chosen to Receive Prestigious CSU Award

Cal State San Marcos graduate student Yesenia Mora has been selected as the campus’ recipient of the 2023 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the California State University’s highest recognition of student accomplishment.

Students are selected based on academic achievements, financial need, excellence in community service and personal hardship. Awardees have all demonstrated inspirational resolve along the path to college success, and many are the first in their families to attend college. 

The CSU recognizes 23 students every year – one from each campus – with the Trustees’ Award. Mora was named a Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Scholar, which includes a donor-funded scholarship of $7,000. 

Mora and the other awardees will recognized during a ceremony as part of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Mora has been a biology student at CSUSM since 2017. Her passion for behavioral ecology was first sparked during an undergraduate research project in the lab of professor Diego Sustaita; the project was aimed at uncovering the functional significance of wing-flashing behaviors in San Clemente loggerhead shrikes. Mora continued her work with Sustaita throughout her undergraduate career, presenting her research at more than a dozen local and national conferences.

During her third year, she was one of 10 students accepted into CSUSM’s URISE (Undergraduate Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) program, supported by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences to prepare talented and motivated minority undergraduate students to succeed in doctoral programs.

In addition to her research, Mora has enjoyed facilitating educational experiences for K-12 students by volunteering at events that inspire curiosity and excitement for STEM education in young children.

Now a master’s student in biological sciences at CSUSM, Mora continues to pursue her passion for scientific discovery and animal ecology by advancing her research on the wing-flashing behavior of shrikes.

More than 440 students have been honored with the Trustees' Award since the scholarship program was established in 1984 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In 1999, the Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees, CSU Foundation board members and private donors. Each student scholarship bears the name of a donor.