Saint Mary's Alumna, Narisa Orosco '03, Receives Statewide Award for Academics and Service

Narisa Orosco '03, who majored in sociology/ anthropology, has received a statewide award given for academic achievement and service to community and school. Orosco was presented with the California Sociological Association (CSA) Outstanding Undergraduate in November.

Orosco's name was submitted for the award by Phylis Martinelli, professor of sociology. Martinelli said Orosco was the first student she had ever nominated. "She excelled in all of the qualities they were looking for," said Martinelli.

"The award wasn't strictly an academic award alone," she explained. "The other part of the [criteria] was service to the school and she was top-notch in both."

At commencement ceremonies last May, Orosco received the Rigoberta Menchu Award, which is given to a graduating student with an outstanding record as a Sociology/Anthropology major. She was very active in the work of the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action (CILSA). For two years she was a Bonner leader and spent ten to fifteen hours a week working with homeless women and their children in transitional housing at Oakland's Elizabeth House. She also was a resident assistant in the College's residence halls.

Now working as a youth outreach specialist for the Solano County Office of Education, Orosco helps middle and high school students avoid the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. She gives presentations, leads workshops, and trains high school students to be mentors to their peers. She sees her work as directly related to her activities on campus with CILSA. They both emphasize education and the importance of making healthy choices, she said.

"If I know that I was able to make a difference in one youth's life, if they felt that I could give good advice, that, to me, is success," she said. "If I can touch one person, I think I'm doing my job."

-- by Joseph Wakelee-Lynch
College Communications