CSUN Professor of Biology MariaElena Zavala is one of 100 inspiring Hispanic and Latinx scientists in the US recognized by Cell Mentor for their “scholarly achievements, mentoring excellence, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion”, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. As profiled in CSUN Today, Zavala has certainly earned the recognition:
Zavala, who has taught at CSUN since 1988, was the first Mexican American woman in the country to earn a Ph.D. in botany. Since coming to CSUN, she has played an integral part in building the national reputation of CSUN’s Department of Biology as a place where students, particularly those from underserved communities, thrive and successfully pursue advanced degrees at top-tier research institutions.
She has served as director of CSUN’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate – Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) program since 1990 and Research Initiatives for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) since 1993. Her work as a mentor and advocate for countless students who have gone through these programs earned her recognition from the White House. In 2000, Zavala received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from former President Bill Clinton. And in 2017, Zavala was named the first Latina Fellow of the American Society of Cell Biology in its 57-year history.— CSUN Today