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2017 Zuma Award winners (Credit: diFranco Photography) 2017 Zuma Award winners (Credit: diFranco Photography)

Recognizing Staff Excellence

President Sally Roush honored 10 SDSU staff members at the Zuma Awards ceremony on Aug. 3.
By SDSU News Team

The Zuma Awards recognize outstanding contributions and efforts made by San Diego State University staff in support of the university, fellow employees and the community. During an awards ceremony on Aug. 3, President Sally Roush recognized staff excellence in seven categories, including staff-to-staff mentoring, innovation and team effort. Candidates were nominated by their colleagues and the finalists were selected from a pool of more than 130 entries.

Auxiliary Support

Frank Sweeney
, account administrator at the SDSU Research Foundation

Sweeney is being recognized for more than a decade of service to the university’s grant administration division. His colleagues call him a problem-solver, and the faculty he works with appreciates his prompt reviews and meticulous documentation of grant expenses.

Community Service

Mohamed Ahmed
, community engagement and special assistant to the dean of students

Ahmed has been instrumental in fostering an environment of inclusion since joining the SDSU staff last year. He has forged partnerships between SDSU and local mosques, and has developed cultural sensitivity trainings to educate the campus about the needs of the local Muslim community.

Manager of the Year

Rick Gulizia
, director of Research Affairs

In just two years at SDSU, Gulizia has been able to streamline internal processes by shortening review times, which allows SDSU faculty and student investigators to conduct their research in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Staff-to-Staff Mentoring

Teddi Brock
, administrative coordinator in the Department of Women’s Studies

Brock has been instrumental in starting and sustaining several programs and resources within her department, including the Women’s Resource Center. In addition to supporting the faculty, staff and students in her department, she helps with budget management, class scheduling and event planning.

Brock has been with the university for 18 years and previously won a Zuma Award in this category in 2012.

Service to the University

Thelma Chavez
, program coordinator in the College of Sciences

Chavez has been at SDSU for nearly 24 years and coordinates several federally-funded research programs to help prepare underrepresented students for graduate school. She oversees the MARC and MESA programs, as well as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

Chavez is an advisor for the Sigma Alpha Zeta sorority and works as a volunteer for several major campus events, including Explore SDSU and Commencement.


The technical staff in the Department of Geography’s Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research (CESAR)

The CESAR team facilitates and maintains the hardware and software required for instructional and research computing. Their work has helped faculty within the geography department in completing projects with NASA, the U.S. Border Patrol and SANDAG. Due to their outstanding work, the CESAR Team has also been tasked with building a Geographic Information Systems database for the entire campus.

The team consists of:

  • Dave McKinsey
  • Marcus Chiu
  • Harry Johnson
  • Pete Coulter


Andrea Saltzman Martin
, instructional designer in the College of Education

Saltzman has been with SDSU for 10 years and helped develop the online master of arts in teaching program for elementary and secondary education offered by the College of Education. She was on the original development team for the online program and now coaches faculty on the development and deployment of the courses.