2018 San Benito High grad Vivian Hernandez Wins Top University Awards – SanBenito.com
When Vivian Hernandez entered first year at Chico State University in the summer of 2018, she was like any other incoming student: enthusiastic, a little fearful, and ready to learn.
This is where the comparison with most other students ends. Now a senior, the 2018 San Benito High School graduate has won several prestigious awards and scholarships, including the Adelante Postbaccalaureate Pipeline Program, a Lieutenant Robert Merton Rawlins Merit Award, a 2021-2022 Undergraduate Sally Casanova Award and the most recent, the CSU Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement.
This latest award, one of the most prestigious in the entire CSU system, is awarded annually to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal achievement, community service, and financial need.
“The CSU Trustees’ Award is the one that blows my mind,” said Hernandez, who is expected to graduate in May 2022 with degrees in History and Latin American Studies, and minors in Spanish and World Development Studies. “I never thought I would be in this position.”
The Adelante Postbaccalaureate Pipeline program grant helped accelerate the start of her research project, “Women and Social Transformation in Modern Mexico, 1968-1988”.
“As a historian, I intend to rewrite Mexican women in Mexican history,” Hernandez said on the school’s website.
The Rawlins Merit Award, one of Chico State’s most prestigious, was not even on its radar.
“I didn’t apply, but I was appointed by my advisor (history professor Steve Lewis),” Hernandez said.
The Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award helps Hernandez stay on track for her graduate studies as her goal is to earn a PhD and become a history professor at the university. Obtaining the Trustees Award allowed Hernandez to connect with the President of CSU and various Trustees, as well as other recipients.
“I’m proud of it all and really grateful for all the opportunities during my time at Chico State,” said Hernandez, who was the second singles player for the San Benito High women’s tennis team in her senior year.
Hernandez thanked the teachers at San Benito High School for helping her throughout her school journey and, most importantly, she points to her mother, Mercedes, as her source of refuge and strength.
“My mom is definitely my rock and I know I can go to her for anything,” Vivian said. “There were a lot of things that happened during my time in college that affected my personal life, and she was always there and supporting me. I wouldn’t be who I am today and I couldn’t have accomplished all I have without her.
Hernandez’s aforementioned awards, scholarships, and titles are literally just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his academic work and many activities. She is President of the National History Honors Society Phi Alpha Theta and the History Club, Director of External Affairs of MECha de Chico State, Editor-in-Chief of Chico Historian and Vice-President of the League of United American Citizens Young Adult Council in Hollister. .
In fact, Hernandez is expected to be in town on October 2, as the organization plans to help run a pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinic at San Benito High.
“We are really trying to stay as connected as possible to our community,” she said.
As if she didn’t already have a full plate in her schedule, Hernandez also works as a reception assistant at the Chico State Department of History, is a student ambassador, responsible for additional education and counselor in summer peer orientation.
Chico State professors, including Lewis and Sarah Anderson, who worked most closely with Hernandez, praised him for criticism, portraying someone whose abilities and motivation seemingly have no ceiling.
The two piled up Hernandez-style superlatives that were posted on the college’s website.
“I feel so lucky to be working with Vivian,” Lewis said. “She combines raw ability with tenacious motivation and a winning personality. His self-confidence is tempered by a good dose of humility. She is a great and tireless leader who attracts the most reluctant students with her infectious energy. And she never forgets where she came from and is committed to giving back to her community. … In 22 years of teaching, I have never met a student who is more likely to make the most of their opportunities.
Anderson said: “It didn’t take long for me to realize that she was a young woman who was going to make her mark in this world.”