Silvia Juarez Viveros, a California State University, Northridge, graduate student pursuing a master’s in nutrition and food science, has been named the inaugural Suzan Jean Lebowitz Scholar.
Juaraez Viveros, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition at CSUN, is using the funds to conduct field research on nutrition education in local elementary schools.
For her project, Juaraez Viveros has been teaching garden and nutrition lessons to parents of children at Van Nuys elementary schools. She will then be studying how the classes impacted the family’s diets. If effective, the program will be studied further and implemented in more schools.
Juaraez Viveros is excited at the opportunity to continue working with community members and impact health, especially childhood obesity. “I really look forward to putting all my energy and best efforts into each lesson and interaction with the parents. I know this will be essential to making the most positive impact in their lives and helping them lead healthier lifestyles,” she said.
The Suzan Jean Lebowitz Scholar program is funded by a generous endowment from Marty and Joanie Lebowitz ’75 (Home Economics). Named in honor of their daughter, who passed away at just two years old, the program provides funds for research in nutrition, a topic close to the Lebowitzes’ hearts, since Joanie studied it while earning her second bachelor’s degree at CSUN.
When her daughter passed away, Joanie Lebowitz began taking college courses, first at Santa Monica College and then at CSUN. “Cal State Northridge gave me a lot of comfort during a time of grieving, and they really helped me move forward,” she said. “The endowment is a way of honoring Suzan and giving back to Cal State Northridge, who gave a lot to me.”
The Lebowitzes decided to fund nutrition research in honor of their daughter, furthering CSUN’s ability to attract and support talented graduate students while also furthering nutrition’s crucial role in public health. “I think there are so many health problems that are going to solved with good nutrition,” said Joanie Lebowitz.
“Words can’t describe how thankful I am to Marty and Joanie Lebowitz for their generosity and kindness,” said Juaraez Viveros. “It’s a huge honor to be the recipient of this research grant because it comes from individuals who also have a passion for improving the lives of others.”
For the Lebowitzes, the ability to determine exactly how their gift would be used was crucial. “We were given the choice of directing our contribution in a way that gave us even greater pleasure than simply giving a general donation, so we picked nutrition, which is very dear to our hearts,” said Marty Lebowitz.
Joanie Lebowitz echoed his sentiments when asked about her advice to anyone else considering a gift to the university. “Give sincerely from your heart with lots of love,” she said. “Pick out something, a real worthy cause, and go for it!”
For more: Help other students by contributing to CSUN student scholarships.