Award honors professors that also serve as mentors

Champaign Williams

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Communication studies professor Bridget Sampson is set to receive a Don Dorsey Excellence Award. Photo credit: Kat Russell.

>>CORRECTION: EOP stands for Educational Opportunity Program

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) will be honoring four CSUN leaders who have made exceptional contributions as EOP mentors today.

The honorees will each receive the 2012 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Award at a campus reception in Sierra Hall.

Among the four award recipients this year is communication studies professor Bridget Sampson, who has worked with EOP in providing training for student mentors and staff for more than 14 years. As a result of her positive influence in the lives of her students and colleagues, she will be receiving the award.

Glenn Omatsu, EOP academic liaison and Faculty Mentor Program (FMP) coordinator, said the award is a special award given to only a handful of faculty, administrators, staff and/or students each year.

“Professor Sampson is the type of person that does a lot but is very humble,” Omatsu said. “She herself does not go out and seek recognition. Unless we honor her, she will not be honored.”

Sampson has worked hard to educate low-income students of diverse backgrounds about the higher education opportunities available to them through the EOP services.

“In my undergrad and grad work my biggest passion was really social justice: breaking down the institutionalized discrimination, lack of access, and opening up opportunities for underserved student population,” Sampson said.

It was this passion that led Sampson to CSUN’s EOP program where she could pursue social justice in an academic community.

“The EOP program is all about reaching out to young people and letting them know that there are programs specifically to support them in being successful college students,” she said.

Orlando Roybal, EOP academic mentor, met Sampson his freshman year when he signed up to take her speech class. Now a graduating senior studying sociology, Roybal remembers his semester in Sampson’s speech class as one of his best experiences at CSUN.

“Professor Sampson has a way of making you feel comfortable in any situation,” Roybal said. “Her passion is clearly shown through the countless work she does with EOP and every one of her students. She is always willing to give of herself without asking for anything in return.”

Michelle Hofmann, adjunct instructor at Pierce Community College and freelance reporter for the L.A. Times, said she is a better instructor because of Sampson’s influence.

Hofmann was a graduate mass communications student at CSUN in Fall 2010 and enrolled in Sampson’s organizational communications course as an elective. The class soon became her favorite part of the week.

“I have modeled much of my teaching career and methods after Sampson’s,” Hofmann said. “She is always professional in appearance and attitude. Always prepared. Never demeaning. She creates an environment in which students feel safe enough to come out of their shells and open up.”

Sampson’s work in the EOP program has effected change in the lives of many students because the mentoring program utilizes a holistic approach. The mentors learn to focus on helping students in every area of their lives, not just academically.

“She loves to see people rise,” Hofmann said. “And she wants to see people genuinely better (other) people because of their experience.”

Other recipients include: Bradley McAuliff, psychology professor; Christopher Aston, assistant director of Student Development; and Linda Reid Chassiakos director of Klotz Student Health Center.

The EOP award ceremony will take place in the Whitsett Room on the fourth floor of Sierra Hall tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.