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Students receive Galarza and Islas Prizes

Four Latino students were recognized for their scholarly work at the 13th annual Ernesto Galarza Commemorative Lecture.

The Galarza Prize for excellence in research in graduate and undergraduate categories, and the Arturo Islas Jr. Prize for overall academic excellence are awarded every year at the event sponsored by the Stanford Center for Chicano Research.

Together, the prizes celebrate and honor the ongoing process in which undergraduates, graduates and faculty work collectively to expand the limits of knowledge in diverse areas.

Gabriela Gonzalez, a second-year doctoral student in history, was awarded the Galarza Prize for graduate research. Gonzalez wrote a paper examining the life and contributions of Josefina Fierro, a civil rights leader and labor activist of the 1930s and 1940s.

Ernesto Martinez, a senior majoring in English, was awarded the Galarza Prize for undergraduate research. In his prize-winning paper, Martinez addressed the need Chicana lesbians sometimes feel to distance themselves from their own primarily heterosexual community in order to grow in strength and creativity.

Seniors Cecilia Balli and Yvonne Gastélum were the co-recipients of the Arturo Islas Jr. Prize.

Balli, who is double majoring in American studies and Spanish, received a Mellon minority undergraduate research grant and participated in the Irvine summer program for future doctoral students. A native of Brownsville, Texas, she is writing a thesis on the Tejano dance music scene and Tejano talk radio.

Gastélum, a political science major, participated in the Irvine summer program for prospective doctoral students as well as her department's honors program. Her thesis addresses issues of difference in liberal democratic theory. In nominating Gastélum for the award, Luis Fraga, an associate professor of political science, said, "Yvonne is possibly the most insightful student of political theory that I've encountered in my 15 years of university teaching."


By Marisa Cigarroa

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