Sarah Amira de la Garza, associate professor of intercultural communication and performance studies and Southwest Borderlands Scholar in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University, is the 2020 recipient of the Victoria Foundation’s Dr. Eugene Garcia Outstanding Faculty Research in Higher Education Award. The award is named for Eugene Garcia, professor emeritus and dean of the former College of Education at Arizona State University.
The Victoria Foundation, the first Latino community foundation in the United States, was established to promote the advancement and support of higher education among the youth of socially and economically impoverished communities as well as underserved ethnic groups. The foundation seeks to increase access to higher education so youth in these groups can pursue advanced degrees and make a positive difference for neighborhoods and communities throughout Arizona.
“We are bestowing Amira this award because of her sustained leadership and effort in working with all students and specifically with Latino students in their ability to enter the university, persist and graduate,” said Louis Olivas, a retired professor in ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and the organization’s current president. “The greater Arizona community is very much aware of who she is, her presence, and what this means to the general community.”
This award is not de la Garza’s first accolade. In 2019, she received the Francine Merritt Award by the Women’s Caucus of the National Communication Association. The interest group bestows the award to scholars “who have made a difference in the field of communication through their mentoring, service, advocacy, teaching and scholarship.”
“I am humbled and honored to receive the Dr. Eugene Garcia Outstanding Faculty Research in Higher Education Award,” de la Garza said. “My work throughout my years at ASU has always been inspired by the students, artists, leaders, scholars, and activists who remind me of my purpose in the academy. This award will remind me of the immense role Arizona has played in shaping what I do. I hope to continue serving in any way I can to increase access and success for Arizona's students and community.”
“Professor de la Garza is doing important work that sheds critical and important light on the lived experience of individuals in underserved and underrepresented groups,” said Paul Mongeau, professor and interim director of the Hugh Downs School. “What is more, she has served as a tireless mentor and champion for minority students, particularly Latinx individuals.”
The Victoria Foundation’s 11th annual Arizona Higher Education Awards ceremony will take place on Nov. 18 in a virtual ceremony.
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