CSUN biology professor MariaElena Zavala was awarded the prestigious Andreoli Faculty Service Award, presented to a CSU faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the development of biotechnology programs in the CSU system. The award also recognizes a faculty member who has made significant efforts to provide access to biotechnology to underrepresented and non-traditional students.
The Andreoli Faculty Award is awarded by the CSU Program for Education & Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), whose mission is to develop a professional biotechnology workforce by mobilizing and supporting collaborative CSU student and faculty research, innovating educational practices and partnering with the life science industry. It is named for the late Anthony Andreoli, a longtime chemistry professor at CSU Los Angeles who was known for his commitment to providing opportunities in higher education to underrepresented and non-traditional students.
Zavala is the first Mexican-American woman in the country to earn a Ph.D. in botany and has taught at CSUN since 1988. She is the lead director of U-RISE, the Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement, for students studying biomedical sciences with an eye toward earning a Ph.D. Targeting students from traditionally underrepresented communities, the program provides tuition assistance as well as stipends and support for attending scientific conferences or for conducting research. U-RISE was established in 2021 and replaced CSUN’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program where Zavala served as director since 1990 and Research Initiatives for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), where she was director since 1993. She was recently named a Fellow of the prestigious California Academy of Sciences.