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UC Berkeley will honor five graduates at May 15 Commencement Convocation

– Five University of California, Berkeley, students will be honored with Mather Good Citizen Awards and Kenneth Priestly Awards at the campus's 2003 Commencement Convocation on Thursday, May 15. The event will honor the estimated 10,000 students who became eligible during the school year for undergraduate and graduate degrees at UC Berkeley.

The winner of the Mather Good Citizen Award "to recognize a graduating senior who has demonstrated a high standard of conduct and service to the University" is Myra Castillo, a sociology major from Los Angeles with minors in public policy and education. Castillo has been active in the Cal Corps Public Service Center as an AmeriCorps member, the UC Rally Committee and the Prytanean Women's Honor Society. She also will receive $500 and a certificate and have her name added to the award plaque in the UC Berkeley Moffitt Library

This summer, Castillo will be participating in the United Leaders Institute for Political Service in Washington, D.C., with 11 other fellows. The program aims at bridging the gap between service and politics by involving the fellows in internships, community service, and activities with community leaders.

Aisha Baqai, a , senior from Victorville, Calif., is the honorable mention winner of the Mather Good Citizen Award

A nutritional sciences major, Baqai was active as a peer educator at University Health Services, a tutor in the Student Learning Center, a volunteer at Alta Bates Medical Center and a provider of foot-washing services to the homeless for the student-initiated Suitcase Clinic. Her long-term goals include attending medical school with the hopes of establishing a practice in geriatrics or gynecology. She also would like to establish a soup kitchen in her community.

The winner of the Kenneth Priestley Award for "a graduating senior who is outstanding in student leadership and contribution to student welfare" is Felipe Martínez, a sociology major from East Los Angeles who was born in Mexico City. Martinez has been active as a retention coordinator in the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center; a counselor and tutor for low-income, at-risk youth at the Berkeley YMCA; President of his fraternity, Gamma Zeta Alpha; and instructor and coordinator of the Grupo Folklórico Reflejos de México. Martínez will receive $500 and a certificate.

Honorable mention will go to Jasper Aguinaldo Cacananta, from Panorama City, Calif. and Jose Luis Lopez, from San Jose.

Born in Manila, Cacananta is graduating with degrees in business administration and political science. He has been active as a student government senator; founder and executive director of the Partnership for Pre-Professional Pilipinos; resident assistant and security coordinator in the Unit 1 residence halls; Cal Student Orientation counselor and legislative analyst for the UC student regent at UC Berkeley.

Lopez, an English major, was a student government senator and academic affairs vice president, an AmeriCorps member serving low-income youth, a program coordinator in Stiles Hall's youth mentoring program and a columnist for the Daily Californian, the UC Berkeley student newspaper.

Lopez was a Sage Scholar on campus. The scholarship program is for high achieving students with financial need. As part of the program, he was an intern for Rep. Michael Honda, 15th district, working on issues including transportation and women's access to education and employment.

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