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Sunday, December 10, 2023

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SDSU Student Receives Fellowship

Emily Issler, a graduate student studying social work, received a fellowship from Mortar Board.
By Michelle Monroy, The Daily Aztec

Out of the nation’s top Mortar Board scholars boasting long lists of impressive service work, San Diego State University's Emily Issler came out on top as one of eight students nationwide to receive a fellowship from Mortar Board.

It’s one of the most competitive and prestigious fellowships Mortar Board gives, according to Jane Smith, adviser for SDSU's Mortar Board chapter.

“She excels in scholarship, leadership and service and has studied abroad," Smith said. "She was an excellent candidate.”

During Issler’s undergraduate education at SDSU, she won several academic awards, volunteered to help teach math and English in West Africa and volunteered at a braille institute.

Emily Issler
She graduated from SDSU with a GPA of 3.93, which earned her a spot on all five honor societies on campus and received the Dr. Henry L. Janssen Honors Council Award and Scholarship.

“She is just a very richly involved scholar and leader and that’s what made her stand out among the other applicants,” said Jane Hamblin, executive director for the National Mortar Board Honor Society.

Moving forward

Each year the honor society awards eight fellowships to students they feel are exceptional in terms of drive and talent. The fellowships are designed to help students pay for their graduate education. Issler was awarded $2,500, which will help her pay for graduate school.

“I’m paying for graduate school on my own through loans,” Issler said. “This means that I can focus on my schooling, and going to school full time with a 16-hour internship, there’s really no time for a job.”

She is currently studying to get her masters in social work at SDSU after receiving her bachelor’s in psychology in 2013.

“SDSU provided me with a great undergrad education with so many opportunities, so I knew the grad program would provide me with a base to begin my social work career,” Issler said.

She was also the vice president of the Mortar Board chapter at SDSU, which she said helped her gain valuable experience as an undergraduate. In her first meeting with Mortar Board she decided to step up and become the vice president.

“The decision to raise my hand changed my experiences throughout my senior year and my financial stability through graduate school,” Issler said. “You never know how one decision will affect you years later.”

A model chapter

Issler was shocked when she found out she was going to receive the award but is proud to represent a great chapter, she said.

The SDSU chapter of the honor society is well known nationally; it is the only chapter that has received the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Award twice for its outstanding performance, Smith said.

Issler attended the national conference in Georgia and presented in front of more than 200 students and a board of advisors.

“She is able to be a leader among leaders,” Smith said.

Issler hopes to become a clinical social worker to be able to impact the people she works with.

“Emily is truly someone who believes in giving to human kind not for what she will reap from it but because she knows she’s been blessed,” Hamblin said.

This article originally appeard in The Daily Aztec.