AGS awards
A Cuesta College student and a faculty member recently received awards from Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS), the academic honor society and service organization of the California community colleges, at the AGS Annual Spring State Convention held April 8-10 in San Jose, CA.

Cuesta College student Ashley Erden received a prestigious academic scholarship; the Kathleen D. Loly Award worth $700. AGS maintains more than 5,000 student members from around the State; Erden was one of only 49 students to receive a scholarship from the organization this year.

Erden’s impressive academic record at Cuesta College and extensive volunteer service earned the sociology major the Loly Award. The college’s AGS chapter requires members to perform 40 hours of volunteer service per year. According to Cuesta College AGS Faculty Advisor Dr. Christopher Gilbert, as of February 2016, Erden had accrued more than three times the required service hours for the year; a total of 141.5 hours of service to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO).

“While she was performing her volunteer service, Ms. Erden also earned more than 61 units at Cuesta College with a perfect cumulative GPA of 4.0. To have given so much service to her community while also earning A’s in all her courses is a testament to both her focus and her diligence,” said Dr. Gilbert, who nominated Erden for the scholarship. “Through her academic achievements, her commitment to service, and her desire to help others improve their own lives, Ms. Erden represents the best of the California community colleges and of AGS.”

Erden, a Los Osos resident, hopes to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in fall 2016, earn a bachelor’s degree in social work and become licensed in addiction counseling. Her goal is to work in a field where she can help restore those struggling with addiction, homelessness or domestic violence.

“Winning this scholarship means a great deal to me,” said Erden. “Since I am a full time student with young children, monies I receive from scholarships like this help me focus on my academics and ease some of my financial stresses. I have worked extremely hard at Cuesta College to keep my GPA high and I am very proud of what I have accomplished." 

Dr. Gilbert, a Cuesta College philosophy instructor, was also the recipient of accolades at the convention – he was awarded an Outstanding Advisor Award by the state organization after being nominated by the Cuesta College AGS student officers.

“Dr. Gilbert is one of the most humble, mindful and compassionate individuals I have ever met,” said Cuesta College AGS President Natalie Granger. “Community college has given me a second chance at education, but AGS has given me a second chance to believe in my fullest potential and capabilities. It was because of Dr. Gilbert’s encouragement that I discovered qualities in myself I had not yet seen.”

For more information on the Kathleen D. Loly Award and other AGS scholarships, click here. For more information on Cuesta College’s AGS Chapter, which provides members with scholarship opportunities, social activities and leadership-building skills, click here or call (805) 546-3289.