California State University, Long Beach
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Kaplan, Zentgraf Honored With Community Service Awards

Published: June 30, 2011

Kristine Zentgraf
Sociology

Kristine Zentgraf

What may be above and beyond the call of duty for other faculty members is business as usual for sociology’s Kristine Zentgraf. She has been a strong supporter of immigrant students and families in the greater Long Beach area as well as an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and economic justice issues.

Her special relationship with immigrant students, including those who are undocumented, began six years ago, long before there was a formal faculty-staff AB 540 student ally program. Immigrant students began to seek her out because they’d heard her give talks about the effects of U.S. immigration policies on youth and families. A member of the Sociology Department since 1998, Zentgraf works tirelessly with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) to help provide a path for legalization for undocumented students and has helped to organize community fundraisers that benefit immigrant students at CSULB.

As part of her work with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Zentgraf has reached out to the larger community at a number of public events including Long Beach’s Latin American Festival, and its Cesar Chavez festival and she regularly speaks to community and religious groups about immigration and the importance of immigration reform. She served as co-organizer of the First Interfaith Service on Immigration held in 2010 at the First Congregational Church. Zentgraf has also played a vital role in LBIRC’s free immigrant legal clinics and “Know Your Rights” trainings for undocumented immigrants. Zentgraf was a founding member of the Long Beach Coaltion for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community from 2008-10.

She received the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2005. She received her bachelor of arts in sociology from CSULB in 1986 and went on to UCLA where she earned her master’s in 1988 and her doctorate in 1998.

Asha Nettles
Sociology

Asha Nettles

For the past year, senior Asha Nettles has volunteered with the YWCA, helping victims of sexual assault. As a sexual assault advocate, she has handled a wide variety of tasks like staffing the 24-hour hotlines, helping her supervisor prepare for presentations, sitting with sexual assault victims through physical exams and accompanying them to the police station or courthouse. In the past few months, she has volunteered to serve as on-call supervisor for an assigned week, in which she provides support to her fellow advocates during their work.

“Over the course of my training and time as an advocate, I have learned the value of the service I provide,” Nettles said. “One night as I was sitting with a young lady through her physical exam, she shared that she thought that because she had no family around during this difficult time, that she would be alone. She cried knowing a complete stranger cared enough to give up two hours during the night to just be there and support her. It was then, only a few weeks into my service, that I realized it would never be about what I’m paid or how I benefit, it would always be about giving someone a moment of peace and comfort.”

Nettles also serves as a student representative for the Association of College Unions International for which she develops the student workshops session track for the association’s annual regional conference and provides support and input to the rest of the regional leadership team. She was also a campus ambassador for Stop Child Trafficking Now.

In addition, Nettles serves as the chair of the University Student Union Board of Trustees, the vice president of the Criminal Justice Student Association and a student leader for Ethnos Campus Ministry. Nettles graduated in May with her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. She plans to pursue her master’s in counseling this fall, as she has recently been admitted to the student development and higher education program at CSULB.

Mat Kaplan
College of Continuing
and Professional Education

Mat Kaplan

Mat Kaplan’s voice can be heard all over the world. Kaplan, who has given nearly three decades of service to CSULB, the city of Long Beach, Lakewood and many other organizations, hosts “Planetary Radio,” a weekly public radio series and podcast carried by nearly 150 radio stations around the world along with Sirius XM satellite radio. He is the voice of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s “Aquacast” podcast and who gallery tours visitors hear, as well as the voice of the Long Beach Red Cross, and he can be heard on countless CSULB video and audio productions.

Arguably, the aquarium’s first volunteer, Kaplan reads children’s stories during Halloween celebrations. He serves on the Long Beach Red Cross public relations committee and hosts the annual Hometown Heroes breakfast, telling dramatic stories of honorees who have saved lives.

Kaplan reviews planning and projects as a charter member of the Long Beach Citizen’s Technology Advisory Committee and has been involved with Long Beach community media since he became the city’s first paid public access coordinator in 1982. Kaplan has also been very active in the Digital Media Arts Summits and other efforts to make Long Beach a “digital city.”

As senior director for Technology and Development in the College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE), Kaplan has lent his expertise and talent to many campus projects, hosting studio videos and reprising his role as backstage announcer for the Carillon Society Awards. He also hosts and produces two podcasts for CCPE’s Center for International Trade and Transportation.

He oversaw the creation of CSULB’s Beach TV channel, which now broadcasts educational programs and CSULB events 24 hours a day. It is seen throughout the region on Charter Cable and Verizon FiOS TV.

Kaplan made a deal with Charter Communications that allows all CSULB colleges and departments to broadcast a 30-second media spot for free in more than 40 Southern California markets. His efforts have resulted in many students getting internships and creating linkages between CSULB and the community.