Fall Quarter 2008
I am nominating: Erika Zepeda
Years of Service at Cal Poly: 1
Department: Stop Violence Office
Position: Assistant Coordinator
Why are you nominating this person: It has been a pleasure working with Erica over the years. Her job is not an easy one and it must take a lot out of her when working with students in crises. Yet she is professional and always caring and supportive of the students in need. I have worked on a couple of cases with Erica and I am always pleased and amazed by her compassion, desire to support students, and dedication to the both the student and the university. She is approachable and available for students to come to her with questions, concerns, resources, or just to say hello. I have never seen her without a smile and a welcoming hello. She has been outstanding in supporting the richness of diversity in her work with students. She truly takes into consideration the students life story and adjusts her approach in working with the student based on cultural influences. She gets that students may experience a crisis in a many different ways and understands the role of culture may have on how a student responds to assistance or services.
Student-Centered Philosophy: It is evident to those who know Erika and to those who have had the opportunity to hear her speak that the Student-Centered Philosophy is an integral part of everything she does on campus. She is an ally, advocate, and provides hours of her time to develop and encourage students to grow and learn more about themselves and others. One examples of this was her dedication and support as an advisor to the two students producing and directing the Vagina monologues. Not only did this create an opportunity for students to develop as leaders but also gave 35 cast members the opportunity to develop and discover themselves and learn new skills, while making a difference in other peoples lives. Erica is all about the students. She has brought student concerns to my attention in a professional and caring manner. She assist students through their process and allowing them to feel empowered. She is also aware of each student’s particular situation and uses this to customize the type of referral she presents each student with.
Integrity: Standing up for ones own values, ideals, beliefs, in a respectful and honest manner is the behavior in which Erika conduct herself. She is dependable, amiable, honest, trustworthy, and reliable all of which demonstrates her outstanding character. In her position she must have a high level of integrity to work with the broad range of difficult topics. She approached her position with integrity and has never demonstrated anything other then high level of professional integrity. Erika treats each student with respect, and supports all cultural differences with equal consideration
Interconnectedness: Erika makes it her business to reach out to others in the community both on and off campus. Her friendly open and honest approach is welcomed by others, which in turn has garnered trust and respect from her colleagues in a relatively short period of time. Erika’s appreciation of diversity encourages collaborate interactions with departments campus wide. She is always looking for ways to collaborate with others. These include collaborations with faculty, staff and students to provide education programs, trainings, and special events. In March, Erika is collaborating with the University Village, the ReEntry and WoMen’s Resource Center, and the African American Student Center for a special program. This program address sexual assault and racism in the Black community. Erica is known to walk with students to ensure that they are supported and able to take advantage of resources while dealing with a traumatic experience. The purpose of this nomination is a result of her demonstrated ability to connect with others across the campus to better assist students. Erika has formed informal partnerships with various offices on campus to help create a safe place for students during and after the transition from one office to another. This has helped her in providing confidentiality, and has helped other offices better handle those specific student issues.
Passion: Ask those who know Erika and they will tell you she is passionate in everything that she does. Her passion motivates others into action. Students want to be involved in the Stop Violence Office, they want to intern, volunteer, and help with special events because Erika demonstrates a passion for the work she doing and that passion is contagious. Along with this passion is a sense of humor, conviction and purposeful direction, which makes her fun to be around and a very strong leader. Erica will drop everything for a student in crisis, no matter what time of day. She is always educating students on personal safety, rights, and responsibilities. She will take the time out to sit with a student male or female and over not only campus resources but also community resources.
Quality: Everything that Erika does is important enough to do it right. Erika is vigilant in making certain that the programs and products she produces are the very best they can be. Erika pays attention to detail and is willing to do what it takes to provide students, faculty and staff with programming that is educational and interesting. She advises the “Men Against Violence” Group and provides “personal attention” beyond what is expected of her. For example, Erika recognized funding was needed to promote the “Men Against Violence” Program, therefore, she wrote a grant asking Verizon for funding to help sponsor this program. Her commitment to the “Men Against Violence” Program and Cal Poly Pomona is extraordinary. When working on a sensitive case, I was able to have full trust that Erica would be able to assist me. She looked through her records, came meet with me to discuss and followed up the next couple of days to offer updates and to check-in with me. All the work that she has done in the Stop Violence Office and programs on campus have been of the highest quality. She is very resourceful and has great attention to details. Her work reflects detail in many aspects, especially in her coordination of services for students.
Richness of Diversity: Other strengths of Erika’s are her beliefs in the importance of inclusiveness, the value of differences, and the richness of diversity. This is evident in the programming that she endeavors to provide to the campus community, the recruitment of interns and volunteers and her alliance with individuals and groups other than herself. She has been outstanding in supporting the richness of diversity in her work with students. She truly takes into consideration the students life story and adjusts her approach in working with the student based on cultural influences. She gets that students may experience a crisis in a many different ways and understands the role of culture may have on how a student responds to assistance or services.