CGU Student Grant & Award Successes

Enjoy a few spotlights of CGU students winning important awards to help fund their education, conference travel, and research.

Elizabeth “Liz” Lopez

Written by Lorise Diamond

Elizabeth “Liz” Lopez (she/they) closed the last semester on a high note, clinching three distinguished accolades: the California Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair’s Scholarship, the Point Foundation BIPOC Scholarship, and The Dru Project Scholarship. Reflecting on her triumphant journey, Liz opens up about her roots in South Central Los Angeles, a community vibrant with Black and Brown people yet impacted by economic inequities. Her early educational experiences at King Drew Medical Magnet High School, amidst glaring structural disparities compared to her peers’ schools, steered her toward a passionate career in education. Liz’s mission is anchored in her desire to uplift and provide for historically overlooked communities, striving tirelessly to bridge the gap in access to higher education.

Liz’s accolades testify to her relentless advocacy and dedication. The Dru Project Scholarship holds a poignant significance, commemorating Dru’s life, tragically cut short during the Orlando Pulse massacre. This recognition, alongside the Point Foundation BIPOC Scholarship—the nation’s largest scholarship fund of its kind—affirms Liz’s resolve, reminding her that she is not alone in her fight for equity. Furthermore, the California LGBTQ Caucus Scholarship fuels her drive and fills her with immense pride for being acknowledged as a leader within the LGBTQ community by her home state. The opportunity to meet icons like Chicana activist Dolores Huerta and California Senator Susan Eggman was particularly joyous, reinforcing her commitment to her cause.

Supportive connections underlie success. Liz’s achievements correlate to community engagement, mainly through her work with UCLA’s LGBTQ Resource Center, UC Davis’s Women’s Center, and various DEI initiatives, which ultimately inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in Education focusing on Higher Education and Student Affairs. Liz’s uplifting story urges fellow students and aspiring change-makers to immerse themselves in community resources and harness the power of identity-based funding opportunities. The best time to begin building community is today.


Rebecca Donaldson

Written by Lorise Diamond

Rebecca Donaldson, a fifth-year doctoral student in Psychology at CGU, recently garnered the 2023 CASE Research Grant, a tribute to her perseverance and innovative spirit. With this $25,000 award, Donaldson and Dr. Jeanne Nakamura will explore the nuances of fluency in speech during periods of flow through their project “Fluency and Flow Experiences in the Daily Lives of People Who Stutter: An Experience Sampling Study.” This groundbreaking research seeks to unravel the complexities of stuttering, a condition that affects millions yet remains largely misunderstood, potentially reshaping our understanding and approaches to treatment.

Donaldson’s journey to this achievement reflects a deep commitment to her field, having previously secured a Crossing Boundaries Transdisciplinary Studies grant, which laid the groundwork for her interest in stuttering research. Dr. Nakamura’s mentorship was crucial, particularly in mastering the challenge of drafting a comprehensive project budget. Donaldson also credits her proposal-writing skills to her experience as a Fulbright semi-finalist, fine-tuning her proposal-writing abilities and setting the stage for her latest achievement. Donaldson underscores the importance of academic mentorship and the value of transdisciplinary exploration, reaching across perceived scholarly lines to uncover new perspectives and methodologies that propel our work into exciting territories.

Considering CGU resources, Donaldson’s success marks more than a personal milestone. It lights the way for fellow scholars navigating the competitive terrain of academic funding. She advocates for early planning, pursuing mentorship, and cultivating the courage to venture beyond familiar disciplinary boundaries. Her success highlights the transformative potential of academic research when coupled with determination, strategic preparation, and collaborative support.