The California State University has selected 23 students who have demonstrated superior academic and personal achievement to receive the 2023 CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. These exemplary students – one from each CSU university – will be honored during a ceremony as part of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, September 12.
“The life stories of these extraordinary students who have triumphed over personal hardships to stand among the university system’s most distinguished scholars are a testament to the transformative power of public higher education,” said CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester. “Through donor support, the CSU is able to provide students who have faced educational barriers the opportunity to pursue a college degree and apply their life experiences and classroom knowledge to elevate their communities and our great state.”
Sonoma State University’s honoree is Angelo Incitti, who was recognized as the Trustee Emeritus Kenneth Fong Scholar.
Angelo, whose academic concentration is in Physiological Ecology, was hired as a farmhand at Curbstone Valley Farm in the midst of the pandemic. There, a veterinarian and celebrated research scientist mentored him, providing Angelo with as many scientific papers to read as stalls to clean. This fueled his passion to be a research biologist motivated by the desire to care for animals.
Now a Sonoma State graduate student in biology, he works with the National Marine Mammal Foundation to understand the physiological impact of environmental disturbances on marine mammals.
“I aim to make meaningful contributions within the field of conservation throughout California,” Angelo said.
In his nominating letter to the CSU Scholarship Review Committee, SSU President Mike Lee praised Incitti for overcoming obstacles to achieve his educational goals and for engaging in a wealth of practical, hands-on experiences to further his learned engagement and sense of service.
“Angelo has pieced together an inspiring and enlightening course of work and study, overcoming a number of obstacles to successful program completion and demonstrating a commitment to building strong, community-based initiatives to protect modern marine ecosystems. The combination allows him to learn, innovate, apply, and learn, in a continuous cycle of embracing, generating, and implementing climate-friendly knowledge,” Lee told the committee.
“In so many ways, Angelo is a model of what we idealize as the highest benefits of a CSU education – service, research, learning, benefit to the community at large – and I am certain he will use this award to benefit the California coastal community, as much as it powers his own academic work."