Cal State LA student earns master's degree
and top CSU award; will attend UCLA in fall
By Margie Low
Cal State LA News Service
While earning her Master of Arts in History at California State University, Los Angeles, Amalia Castañeda received the California State University system’s highest award for student achievement.
In 2016, she was a recipient of the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The award acknowledges students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. She was also named a Michael A. and Debe Lucki Scholar by the CSU.
“This honor brings me closer to my aspirations and motivates me to continue my work in archives and museums, for in both these types of institutions … people of color are heavily underrepresented,” Castañeda says. “It is important that we help tell the stories of our communities.”
After graduation from Cal State LA, she plans to attend UCLA in the fall to pursue a Master of Library and Information Science and focus her study on rare books and print and visual culture.
A first-generation college student, Castañeda received her undergraduate degree in political science and women’s studies at UCLA.
“We’re proud of Amalia and everything she has accomplished,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino says. “Her stellar academic performance, strong work ethic and volunteer activities will provide the foundation necessary to launch her into the bright future that she has worked tirelessly to achieve.”
At Cal State LA, Castañeda was co-editor-in-chief for the history journal Perspectives. She also worked in the University Library’s Special Collections and Archives, where she helped process collections, assisted faculty and students with their research projects, and digitized photos and documents highlighting the rich history of the university.
Castañeda was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Services-Rare Book School Fellowship. The fellowship included funding to take a course at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, which was taught by a chief preservationist from the Library of Congress.
She also interned at the University of Chicago through the support of the CSU’s Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship. During her internship, she digitized a collection of rare books and materials from the 1888 Republican National Convention. She also was an intern at the Museum of Social Justice in downtown Los Angeles and served on the institution’s board of directors.
Raised in Lynwood, southeast of Los Angeles, Castañeda is the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico who only have second- and third-grade educations. She graduated from UCLA cum laude and with college and departmental honors.