November 2022: Accomplishments of the CSULB community

Published November 30, 2022

Sovandany Wang named October Employee of the Month 

Sovandany Dang, October employee of the month
Sovandany Wang is October employee of the month.

Sovandany “Dany” Wang, a student account specialist in Student Financial Services under Financial Management, has been named Employee of the Month for October. Wang was hired in October 2021 as an account technician III, working with third-party sponsorships that helped students with tuition costs. She served as an intermediary for students, networking with departments on campus, such as the Bob Murphy Access Center, to assist in making the billing process easier for students. 

Wang was recently promoted, and in her new role, she focuses on major processes like enrollment cancellation and mass student refunding. Here, she is learning how to process huge volumes of students all at once. 

“Dany has been instrumental in helping me resolve student account issues,” said colleague Kevin Hall, a student account analyst. “She is always asking questions to learn more about how she can help students and to better understand the overall mission of Student Financial Services.”

Alumni elected to new positions 

Robert Luna, the new sheriff of Los Angeles County
Robert Luna, new L.A. County sheriff

Two prominent CSULB alumni are taking on new offices after winning in the November elections. 

Robert Luna, ’01, ’06, will succeed Alex Villanueva as the next sheriff of Los Angeles County. He will be sworn in in December. Luna, the former chief of police of Long Beach, holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational studies and a master’s degree in public administration from The Beach. 

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, ’02, ’10, will be the next U.S. representative for California’s new 42nd district, which includes Long Beach. He will assume office on Jan. 3, 2023.

Robert Garcia, the new U.S. representative of the 42nd district
Robert Garcia, new U.S. representative

Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communications and a doctorate in higher ed leadership from The Beach. He’s also married to Matthew Mendez-Garcia, an assistant professor in political science at CSULB. 

2022-23 Faculty Research Awards announced 

Fourteen faculty members have received 2022-23 Faculty Research Awards to promote racial equity, diversity and inclusion. They represent nearly every college at the university, as well as the University Library.  

The university considered proposals that aimed to investigate issues of racial equity, diversity and inclusion on the CSULB campus and in the immediate geographical region that support student access and success. Each award carries a maximum of $15,000 in funding. For a complete list of award recipients and project abstracts, visit this Office of Research and Economic Development site.  

The Beach receives CSU HSI Community Grant 

Cal State Long Beach has received a $150,000 grant to establish a Long Beach Data Science Learning Community. The grant is one of 17 California State University HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) Community Grants announced this month as part of the CSU-wide initiative of the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub. Collectively, more than $2 million will go to CSUs to support efforts to inspire the next generation of creators and innovators to pursue high-demand careers in STEM and the creative and tech industries. 

Campus leaders join Middle Leadership Academy 

A cross-divisional team of CSULB community members are participating in the Middle Leadership Academy throughout the 2022-23 academic year. The Middle Leadership Academy is a year-long professional development opportunity that brings together campus-based teams of CSU faculty, student affairs staff, researchers and students. A CSU system-wide program, this collaborative and supportive environment aims to solve common issues related to student learning, engagement, progression and degree completion.  

The Office of the Provost is assisting with coordinating the group as it conceptualizes strategies to enhance student success, particularly for culturally diverse students. The team is co-led by Ennette Morton, director of faculty affairs, and Meghan Griffith, university registrar. To learn more about the CSULB Cross-Divisional Team, visit this site on the Office of the Provost’s page.    

Aparna Nayak to participate in faculty development seminar in Senegal 

Dr. Arpana Nayak, chair of the Romance, German, Russian Literatures and Languages Department
Dr. Aparna Nayak, chair of the RGRLL Department

Dr. Aparna Nayak, chair of the Romance, German, Russian Literatures and Languages Department, has been selected to participate in the Council of American Overseas Research Centers/West African Research Association 2022-23 Faculty Development Seminar in Senegal.

Nayak, a professor of French, was among the few selected in this competitive program to receive funds to participate in a two-week workshop in Dakar. The seminar will place special emphasis on Senegal’s spiritual diversity and religious tolerance, as well as the region’s growing transnational movements. 

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