Quest for the Best

Quest for the Best

The application for the 2021 year is currently closed. Email [email protected] with any questions.

The measure of a university is more than the sum of its buildings, the size of its enrollment, its array of degrees, its number of graduates, or its cumulative grade point average. It is instead the qualities of the people which comprise its community: students, faculty, and staff. The educational mission is more than certification of degrees; it is instead a series of quests. It is a quest for knowledge about our present world, its past, and its possible future. It is an internal quest, to discover and develop the potential within each person. It is a quest to serve and improve the community outside the university and to further human understanding and the qualities of leadership.

The “Quest for the Best” awards seek to recognize outstanding student leaders who have typified and promoted the mission of the university. This Vice Presidential Student Service award is given each April to the “best of the best” at SDSU – those students who excel academically and through community and campus involvement. This award recognizes individual excellence in academics, campus involvement, and community service.

The “Quest for the Best” awards are presented at a gala banquet in April. The ceremony is attended by winning students two special guests of each winner, and faculty honorees.

Applicants are evaluated in four areas:

  1. Academic excellence, including grade point average (a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required), individual research, participation in professional and academic societies, involvement in departmental activities, etc.;
  2. Student involvement and commitment, including student organizations, student government and college councils, The Daily Aztec, housing, fraternity/sorority life, athletics, honor societies, etc.;
  3. Community service outside the SDSU campus, including volunteer work with medical, social service, theatrical, artistic, cultural, political entities, etc.;
  4. Leadership qualities and development, including the degree of involvement and initiative within activities, the furtherance of intercultural understanding, and evidence of the development of positive, ethical decision-making.

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. Applications of students on probation of any kind will not be reviewed.

Questions? Email Chelsea Winer, coordinator of the award, at [email protected]



Congratulations to the 2020 Quest for the Best award winners!

Watch the virtual Quest for the Best ceremony 

The 2020 honorees:

photo: quest for the best winner Tia Kieu

Tia Abusham

(pronouns she, her, hers)

Senior, Double majoring in biology and philosophy

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Omar Baza, Student Life & Leadership

photo of quest winner Dustin Adkins

Dustin Adkins

(pronouns: he, him, his)

Senior, Sociology and Economics with an emphasis in Public Policy

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Andrea Dooley, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

photo: quest for the best winner Christian Holt

Christian Holt

(pronouns: he, him, his)

Senior, Kinesiology with an emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Anwar Cruter, Residential Education Office

photo:quest for the best winner Talia Kieu

Talia Kieu

(pronouns: she, her, hers)

Senior, Public Health, minors in Women’s Studies and LGBTQ+ Studies

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Jerel Calzo, School of Public Health

Photo: quest winner Brandon Lim

Brandon Lim

(pronouns: he, him, his)

Senior, Psychology & Journalism with an emphasis in Media Studies, minor in Sociology

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Kimberly Nishi, Counseling & Psychological Services

photo: quest winner Julia Moluf

Julia Moluf

(pronouns: she, her, hers)

Senior, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, minor in Psychology of Personality

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Sonja Pruitt-Lord, College of Health and Human Services

photo: quest winner Gabriella Medina

Gabriella Medina

(pronouns: she, her, hers)

Junior, Sustainability, minor in Political Science

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Lori Stewart, Religious Studies

photo: quest winner naomi Moore

Naomi Moore

(pronouns: she, her, hers)

Senior, International Security and Conflict Resolution

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Cheryl O’Brien, Political Science

photo: quest winner Citlayi Villasenor

Citlayi Villaseñor

(pronouns: she, her, hers)

Senior, Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, minors in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Cellular & Molecular Biology

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Thelma Chavez, College of Sciences

photo: quest winner Maria Voss

Maria Voss

(pronouns: she. her, hers)

Junior, International Security and Conflict Resolution with an Emphasis in Environment and Security, minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies

Faculty/Staff Honoree – Dr. Cheryl O’Brien, Political Science


Past Winners 


Richard Amaechi (pronouns: he/him/his)

Junior, International Business with an emphasis in Japanese and Finance, minors in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Cultural Proficiency

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Sandra Cook, Enrollment Services


Annika Bilog (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Senior, Nursing, minor in Leadership Development

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Gerilyn Herold, School of Nursing


Arturo Fernandez Rios (pronouns: he/him/his)

Senior, Business Administration

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Michelle Dean, Management


Daniela Garcia (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Senior, Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Mathematics

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Miguel Rahiotis, Imperial Valley Campus


Aubie Jones (pronouns: she/her/hers)
Senior, Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Therapy, minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Gwendolyn Hill, Health Professions Advising Office


Liana Marin (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Junior, Industrial Organizational Psychology, minors in Leadership Development and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Chelsea Winer, Student Life & Leadership


Morgan Newport (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Senior, International Security and Conflict Resolution with an emphasis in Environment and Security

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Cheryl O'Brien, Political Science


Tomi Osinfolarin (pronouns: he/him/his)

Senior, Kinesiology with an emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy, minor in Cultural Proficiency

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Estralita Martin, College of Sciences


Latrel Powell (pronouns: he/him/his)

Senior, Political Science and Africana Studies, minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Martha Encisco, Weber Honors College


Renata Valente (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Senior, Economics with a specialization in Quantitative Analysis, minors in Sociology and Leadership Development

Faculty/Staff Honoree: Dr. Lisa Gates, College of Education