Marianne Arriola '23 (CCS Computing) and Lila Velasquez Singh ‘23 (CCS Writing & Literature) Receive CCS Sara Sterphone Student Service Award
CCS students receive award for exceptional dedication to the intellectual and social life at the College in loving memory of Sara Sterphone
The 2023 Sara Sterphone Student Service Award was presented during the College of Creative Studies (CCS) Commencement on June 11, 2023 to Marianne Arriola '23 (CCS Computing) and Lila Velasquez Singh '23 (CCS Writing & Literature ‘23).
Originally established as the College of Creative Studies Student Service Award in 2010, the award was renamed the CCS Sara Sterphone Student Service Award in memory of Sara Sterphone in 2021. Both an honor and a financial prize, the award is presented to exceptional graduating students who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the CCS community.
“Sara Sterphone, a remarkable CCS Student Academic Advisor from 2013-2019, tirelessly dedicated herself to serving the College and its students. In celebration of her memory, we recognize individuals who have found their own ways to consistently go above and beyond in advancing our communal spirit. Whether it's through their participation in student events, their leadership roles in CCS student groups, their assistance in organizing student-led courses, or any number of other activities—-these graduates help this place be more than the sum of our parts and have made a lasting impact on us all.”
—-Timothy Sherwood, Interim Dean, College of Creative Studies
Marianne Arriola has been an influential individual through her kindness, mentorship, and commitment to serving as a role model for her peers. One CCS student noted: "Marianne was the entire reason why I have been so invested in research over my first year at CCS. She saw my potential and eagerness to learn as well as introduced me to CCS as a whole which has led me to accomplish more than I ever thought I could.” During her time at CCS, Marianne not only provided guidance to fellow students, but also served as an inspiration through her own academic journey as an underrepresented student. Marianne received a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship and was one of seven CCS students to be awarded a 2023 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Lila Velasquez Singh has shown consistent dedication to Spectrum, an annual journal of art and literature published by CCS and is also the longest-running literary journal in the University of California system. As Spectrum’s Editor-in-Chief, Lila’s vision went past simply managing operations. Lila piloted Spectrum towards a more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-centric mission to showcase the unique talents of the literary landscape while ensuring no marginalized voices went unheard. The Spectrum blog offers fascinating insights into how this entirely student-run journal is created. In addition, Lila's selflessness and unwavering support made a lasting impact on her peers at the College. A CCS staff member well acquainted with Lila noted: “She consistently prioritizes the well-being of others, offering delicious baked treats, a comforting word, or a shoulder to lean on without hesitation.”
CCS Interim Dean Timothy Sherwood applauded the award recipients, stating: “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Marianne and Lila for their awards. It has been such a pleasure hearing from the many students, staff, and faculty who know first hand how their efforts have made a real difference here. It is an honor and a privilege to work with such outstanding individuals.”
Congratulations once again to Marianne and Lila, whose contributions to the College exemplify Sara’s dedication to student well-being and community.
The CCS Sara Stephone Student Service Award is supported by the Sara Sterphone Memorial Fund with generous donations from students, faculty, staff, family, and friends in loving memory of Sara. In addition to the award, the Fund promotes student activities and extracurricular programming.