PULLMAN, Wash.–Two students, a student organization, and two admissions leaders were honored during the 1997 Washington State University Multicultural Convocation.
Alma Montes de Oca, a student from Yakima, received the Office of Multicultural Student Services Director’s Award. As part of the honor, she will serve as MSS director for one day during the 1997-1998 academic year. Maya Almachar Santos, a student from Seattle currently studying at WSU Spokane, received the Multicultural Student Leadership Award presented by the Council of Multicultural Student Presidents.
CAMARADAS, the Chicano/Latino Graduate Student Association, received the Graduate Award. Faculty awards went to WSU admissions leaders Terry Flynn, director, and Mike Reilly, associate director.
Those “selected for the awards exemplify the leadership and commitment to diversity that we hope all will aspire to. They serve as great role models on campus for diversity. The Office of Multicultural Student Services is proud to recognize them for helping make WSU a better place for all students, faculty, and staff,” said Steve Nakata, MSS interim director.
The convocation, sponsored by the university’s Office of Multicultural Student Services and Council of Multicultural Student Presidents, was held Sept. 30 in the WSU Compton Union Building.

Director’s Award winner Alma Montes de Oca is a sophomore international business/pre-law major. A 1995 graduate of Yakima’s Eisenhower High School, she is the daughter of Graciela and Gregorio Montes de Oca of Yakima. “Alma’s strengths are her maturity, sensitivity to social issues, and ability to draw people together for a common cause,” said her nomination material.
Montes de Oca was praised for her “enthusiasm for higher education and commitment to serving a diverse community…and being a role model for middle school and high school as well as college Chicano/Latino students.”
She has served as Mujeres Unidas president, on the Council of Multicultural Student Presidents, and as an active member of M.E.Ch.A. A WSU Diversity Educator, the award recipient has been involved with the university’s College Knowledge for the Mind and Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education recruitment programs.

Multicultural Student Leadership Award winner Maya Almachar Santos is a senior architecture major currently studying at WSU Spokane. A 1993 graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School, she is the daughter of Thelma and Bing Santos of Seattle. Maya “clearly exemplifies student commitment to the advancement of multicultural issues” at WSU, said nomination material. “Maya has a good academic record, actively participates in student organizations, and contributes to making WSU and Pullman a better community for fellow students.”
Nominators said, “Maya is one of the best ambassadors we could have.” They added, she “has been an outstanding mentor and has initiated many unique programs which help to bring students together” such as REVISIONS, an evening of open-microphone readings of poetry.
She has been active at WSU with the Filipino American Student Association, Multicultural Student Mentor Program, Student Ambassadors for Diversity, Conflict Resolution Team, and College Knowledge for the Mind, as well as the National Filipino American Youth Association.

Graduate Award winner CAMARADAS, the Chicano/Latino Graduate Student Association at WSU, includes more than 20 WSU Chicano/Latino graduate students. Nominators cited the association’s Mentor Program. Through the program, during the 1996-1997 academic year, some 35 graduate students mentored at least one undergraduate student each. Other CAMARADAS activities includes Encuentros, a forum for scholars committed to the principles of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies; the Dolores Huerta Essay Competition; the Chicano Latino Civil Rights Marcha; and the Chicano Latino Graduation Ceremony. CAMARADAS 1997-1998 president is Lucila Loera, a graduate student working on a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.

Faculty Award nominators praised Terry Flynn, WSU admissions director, and Mike Reilly, WSU associate admissions director, for their “particular sensitivity to students of color.” Their proactive efforts to assure that students of color receive consideration for admissions to the university are appreciated by the Office of Multicultural Student Services, according to their nominators.