March 2023: Accomplishments of the CSULB community

Published March 20, 2023

Shenandoah Bennett named February Employee of the Month  

Shenandoah Bennett, February Employee of the Month
Shenandoah Bennett, February Employee of the Month

Shenandoah Bennett, a systems administrator in Information Technology Services, has been named Employee of the Month for February. Bennett ’13, who earned a bachelor’s degree in film and electronic arts, works in the Servers and Systems Group in ITS. Among his achievements, he helped onboard CSU Monterrey Bay into the CSULB College of Education’s Titanium system. He also discovered a problem with how Titanium works, and his findings prompted the manufacturer to release a new version to address the issue. 

“Shenandoah Bennett is a pleasure to work with,” said Jesse Santana, the director of systems, servers and web services and Bennett’s manager. “He has a can-do attitude and is always willing to help with any project or task …. Shenandoah is also always available to help others.” 

University Achievement Awards celebrate faculty and students  

The Pointe is located at the top of Walter Pyramid
The Pointe is located in the Walter Pyramid.

The Provost’s office has announced the annual University Achievement Awards. Eighteen faculty members and four students in 10 categories – including Outstanding Professor, Distinguished Faculty Teaching and Legacy Lecturer – are receiving the awards honoring their academic achievements. 

The awards ceremony will be held April 19 at The Pointe Conference Center in the Walter Pyramid. Invitations are limited to awardees, their guests, nominators and CSULB leadership.  

Math professor featured on website 

Professor Kagba Suaray
Kagba Suaray

Kagba Suaray ’98, a professor of mathematics, was recently honored on Mathematically Gifted & Black, a website produced by the Network of Minorities in Mathematics. The site acknowledged Suaray’s work teaching and tutoring math to African American students, and his efforts to encourage Black students to get excited about math. He likes to point out African origins to mathematical concepts in his curriculum. 

Suaray co-founded Hesabu Circle, a collection of African American math scholars that provides support and guidance for math colleagues and students. Suaray was also featured on the Provost’s website during Black History Month.    

Second-year dance student wins Miss Fountain Valley 

Topanga Scherf, Miss Fountain Vallery
Topanga Scherf. Photo by Cathleen McGrath

Topanga Scherf, a second-year dance major at The Beach, won the title of Miss Fountain Valley on Feb. 11 at Golden West College. Along with the honor, she won a $5,000 scholarship, a $500 Talent Award, a $200 cash award for Miss Congeniality and a diamond pendant.  

Scherf will go on to represent Fountain Valley at the Miss California 2023 competition on July 1 at the Visalia Convention Center.  

Professor emerita wins outstanding scholarship award  

Maria Carreira, professor emerita of Spanish
Maria Carreira

Maria Carreira, professor emerita of Spanish, has been named the 2023 Charles A. Ferguson Award winner for outstanding scholarship. Carreira taught Spanish linguistics at The Beach for over 30 years and co-founded the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA, where she served as co-director for 16 years.  

More recently, she was appointed the next executive director of AATSP, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese. AATSP is the largest and oldest language-specific professional association in North America.  

IST professor challenges dominant discourses about migrant families in new book 

Caitlin Fouratt, associate professor of international studies
Caitlin Fouratt

Caitlin Fouratt, an associate professor in the International Studies department, has published her first book, “Flexible Families: Nicaraguan Transnational Families in Costa Rica.” Published by Vanderbilt University Press and based on more than two years of fieldwork, the book breaks new ground in studying, understanding and reframing the flexibility of family configurations in transnational communities.  

Fouratt joined the IST faculty in 2014 after completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology at UC Irvine.  

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