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Monday, September 25, 2023

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The 2023 “Quest for the Best” awards will recognize 10 outstanding student leaders at SDSU. The 2023 “Quest for the Best” awards will recognize 10 outstanding student leaders at SDSU.

2023 Quest for the Best Applications Are Being Accepted

Students are encouraged to apply for the annual award honoring student leaders who also excel in academics
By Aaron Burgin

When Crissy Ramirez arrived at San Diego State University in 2018, she had no idea where her college quest would lead. The introvert didn’t see herself as a “leader” and struggled with the notion that she could ever become one. 


But by her senior year, when her mentors recommended she apply for the Quest for the Best Vice Presidential Student Service Award, the Chula Vista native took stock of the resume she amassed during her undergraduate career — mentor, board member of a recognized student organization, a participant in Aztec Unity Projects and workshop presenter at the SDSU Leadership Summit, among other things – and realized the leader she’d become. 


Two months later, Ramirez was one of 10 students to receive the annual award that recognizes student leaders who also demonstrate excellence in academics. 


“As a first-generation college student, I encountered imposter syndrome early on in my college career and experienced feelings of loneliness and self-doubt,” Ramirez said. “I also never viewed myself as a ‘leader,’ because I believed in the misconception that leaders need to be outgoing extroverts, which I am not. However, I learned that leaders follow various styles and have diverse qualities, which I've learned to appreciate. Being selected as a winner as a first-generation college student was very rewarding because it allowed me to reflect on my own leadership journey and overall personal growth and development during my time at SDSU.”


Ramirez, now on staff at SDSU as assistant coordinator of SDSU Connects, is among the host of staff and faculty encouraging students to apply for the 2023 Quest for the Best Vice Presidential Student Service Award. The award is presented by the Glazer Center for Leadership & Service in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity.


Each year, 10 students are selected to receive the Quest for the Best award at a gala honoring the “best of the best” students in April. The application period for Quest for the Best opened Jan. 20, and the deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Feb. 20. 


Enrolled SDSU undergraduate and graduate students with a minimum 3.0 overall GPA who have completed at least one year at SDSU and earned at least 75 units of college work are eligible. Applicants are evaluated in four areas:


  • Academic excellence
  • Student involvement and commitment
  • Community service outside the SDSU campus
  • Leadership qualities and development



“If you have the opportunity to apply for Quest for the Best, do it. If you are on the fence about applying, do it,” Ramirez said. “Taking opportunities like this may feel uncomfortable at first, but growth is uncomfortable and that's OK because, essentially, you will learn more about yourself and it will help you evolve as a leader and overall person.”


Beyond the recognition, Ramirez said, the award also is a chance for students to recognize a staff or faculty member who contributed to their growth and success. She singled out Chelsea Lombrozo, assistant director of the Glazer Center for Leadership & Service, one of her mentors who encouraged her to apply for the award. 


“Chelsea has played a huge role in my leadership journey,” Ramirez said, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in counseling and social change. “From working as a peer mentor for the Nyewa Presidential Leadership Program to serving as a facilitator at the Aztec CORE leadership retreat, she has provided endless support and made me realize my true potential as a leader. With that being said, I hope that I can eventually make as much of a lasting impact on a student like Chelsea did for me.”


And, Ramirez said, the Quest for the Best award looks good when it’s time to look for a job.


“Being a part of a proud university tradition at SDSU will make you stand out when future employers are looking at your resumé,” she noted. 


To apply, visit the Quest for the Best website. If you have any questions, send an email to