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@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

SDSU Searches for Standout Students

logo: Quest for the BestAt any given moment on campus, one student’s diligent research is leading to breakthrough discoveries, while another’s idea for a volunteer project is changing lives on the other side of the world. Every year, San Diego State University students take their personal and academic achievements to new heights, and every year SDSU sets out to find those students who exemplify a commitment to excellence.

This month, SDSU begins its annual search for the “best of the best”— the standout student leaders who have excelled academically while dedicating themselves to both campus involvement and community service.

Applications are available January 24 for the Vice Presidential Student Services Award, known as Quest for the Best, which recognizes up to 10 students each year along with the faculty or staff members who have mentored and influenced each student recipient.

Decision Time

photo: Lydia Keema
Lydia Keema, 2013 Quest for the Best Award winner

Lydia Keema was in an elevator last year at New York University, on the way to her first round of admissions interviews for graduate school, when she received the call notifying her she had been selected as a Quest for the Best award winner.

“Tears just started streaming down my face,” Keema said. “I was able to walk into my interview and tell them I was just chosen for this award, recognizing me as a top student at my university, the university I love.”

This month, Keema will begin her second semester at NYU and continue her assistantship in a program helping high achieving community college students transition into the university.

With a nearly 7-year-old son, Keema knows a thing or two about a tough transition into and through college. Her vow to overcome self-doubt and become a role model for her son helped her maintain the strong focus on success that put her on a path to the Quest for the Best awards ceremony last year.

photo: Genaro Hernandez
Genaro Hernandez, 2013 Quest for the Best Award winner

The timing of the award was just as gratifying for another one of last year's award recipients, Genaro Hernandez. In between acceptance calls from Ivy League graduate schools, Hernandez got his phone call from the Quest for the Best panel notifying him of his award.

Hernandez is now working along side Nobel laureates at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researching cures for diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The eight other recipients who received similar phone calls that day were formally honored at a gala banquet in April, validating years of hard work, both in and outside of the classroom.

Now conquering a new set of personal and professional goals, past Quest for the Best recipients will join SDSU faculty and staff in selecting this year’s group of award winners.

Putting Yourself in the Running

Those interested in becoming a Quest for the Best award candidate must submit an application, which includes a recommendation form to be completed by an SDSU faculty or staff member. Nominations are open to regularly enrolled SDSU students who have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have completed at least one year at SDSU and at least 75 units of college work.