Kristine Zentgraf Receives CSULB Faculty Community Service Award

March 16, 2011

Professor Kristine Zentgraf, Sociology, is the recipient of the 2011 CSULB Faculty Award for Community Service. Professor Zentgraf was nominated for her contributions in three areas;

  • support for immigrant students at CSULB
  • advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform and support for immigrant families in the greater Long Beach community
  • advocacy for economic justice issues

In her nomination, colleague Professor. Norma Chinchilla wrote,

In the last five years, it has become clear that Professor Zentgraf has … [a] special gift:  that of working to make our world a more just and humane place and motivating others—students, faculty colleagues, and greater Long Beach community members—to do the same.  She has engaged in significant unpaid campus and community service on behalf of immigrant students, comprehensive immigration reform, and economic  justice without fanfare or publicity but with a significant, powerful impact.

A summary of the service activities in which Professor Zentgraf  has engaged and for which she is recognized includes the following.

Professor Zentgraf’s work helping immigrant CSULB students succeed predates AB 540 and she is now educating colleagues about the bill and how to assist these students navigate the bureaucracy.

Recognizing that problems faced by immigrant students are rooted in flawed U.S. immigration policies, Professor Zentgraf broadened her reach by participating in the creation of the Long Beach Coalition for Immigrant Rights (LBIRC).  In an effort to make the community’s treatment of immigrants more just and humane, the Coalition conducts educational outreach, advocates for the local immigrant community with elected officials and corporate executives, and provides much needed services and support.

A tireless advocate of economic justice for immigrants, Professor Zentgraf has co-organized “know your rights” trainings, immigration-related legal clinics, an interfaith worship service on immigration, and speaks frequently on immigration reform and immigrant rights.

In addition to her commitment to the success of immigrant students, Professor Zentgraf has engaged student participation in her social action and organization.  Such student involvement is critical to CSULB’s core instructional mission and earned her much deserved praise from students writing in support of her nomination.

For the past four years we have worked closely with Dr. Zentgraf as community organizers and steering committee members for the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. Working alongside her, we have both benefitted tremendously from her guidance, support, and hard work. Both of us have become skilled social activists, and effective community organizers and leaders due to her consistent mentorship. Dr. Zengraf’s dedication to social justice, then, has a multiplying effect since she has helped cultivate us, as well as many other students and community members, to become vehicles for social change. Her dedication to social justice, especially immigrant rights, has served the Long Beach community very well…