Buena Park native receives high academic honor

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Heather Valenova Dayag

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) student Heather Valenova Dayag, from Buena Park, has been selected as a 2015 recipient of the California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement making her one of the most distinguished student scholars in the CSU system.

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) student Heather Valenova Dayag, from Buena Park, has been selected as a 2015 recipient of the California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement making her one of the most distinguished student scholars in the CSU system.

The awards are given each year to those students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Her scholarship award is for $7,500.
After witnessing her grandmother’s sudden illness and death, Dayag discovered her passion in healthcare and research, dedicating more than four years as a hospital volunteer. During this time she gained an understanding of human development and healthcare administration and that interactions within healthcare piqued her creative and analytical skills.
“I am honored to have been selected for the 2015 CSU Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement. I accept this recognition on behalf of all of the individuals in my life who have shaped me into who I am today. My strength increases when it is challenged by those who try to stop me,” said Dayag. “I greatly appreciate the California State University for its value of excellence in interdisciplinary fields which helped flourish my personal and academic interests. I have gained resilience by surrounding myself with multiple mentors, building self-empowerment, and taking initiative to reach my goals.”
A first-generation college student, Dayag expects to graduate in May 2016 with a master’s degree in educational psychology with an emphasis on medical education. She is a California Pre-doctoral Fellow and plans to obtain a doctorate degree to further her studies in effective clinical teaching practices. Her inquisitiveness led her to become a senior laboratory coordinator and research assistant at CSULB, where she studied parent-child, student-teacher and patient-physician interpersonal relationships. She also conducted clinical research on patient-reported outcomes at the University of California, Irvine.
She has presented her research at local and national conferences and her work led to the development of programs for nonprofits in higher education and public health policy. Her achievements were acknowledged with the CSULB Community Engagement Award, Sally Casanova Scholarship, Phi Delta Gamma honor society, Exemplary Leadership Award, and President’s Academic Honors.
“An exceptional scholar, leader and researcher with a longstanding commitment to service, Heather is an excellent choice for the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. A first-generation college student, Heather’s dedication to advancing medical education in her community is admirable. She is a wonderful role model for current and future students and I am proud she is part of our Beach family,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB.Dayag will join 22 other CSU students (one from each of the system’s 23 campuses) who will be recognized by the CSU Board of Trustees on Sept. 8.
The CSU Trustees’ Awards are among the highest student distinctions within the university system with each student nominated by their respective campus presidents and selected for designated awards by a committee formed by the CSU Foundation.
The Trustees’ Award program began about three decades ago with scholarships endowed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

More than 300 scholarships have been awarded since the Hearst Foundation initiated its endowment in 1984 to help high achieving students who have overcome adversity. Past honorees have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and even to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees.

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