The Gloria L. Hobbs Inspiration Award

Presented to students who have shown empathy, helpfulness, and a willingness to go above and beyond in support of their peers throughout their undergraduate experience.

Our Namesake: Dr. Gloria L. Hobbs

In 1962. Dr. Hobbs became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the Department of Foreign Languages at the recently desegregated University of Texas. During this time, she encountered several experiences with racism and was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, including the housing of the Freedom Riders. In 1966, she helped create and direct the first Texas Women’s Job Corps Center, which provided thousands of underprivileged young women from all over the country with the skills needed to be gainfully employed and good citizens.  

In 1972, Hobbs became the first African American elected to the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. She has since had a long and deep relationship with Ithaca College, including establishing the President Shirley M. Collado Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Ithaca College Community and the Dr. Gloria L. Hobbs Endowed Scholarship for Students in the African Diaspora. She was named an honorary trustee and recognized with the college’s Meritorious Service Award. Dr. Hobbs is a charter member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, the Leadership Council of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Legacy Society of Doctors Without Borders, and a Life Member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Her commitment to our community and her passion for equity work serve as an inspiration to us all. 

Our 2023 Recipients

The 2023 Gloria L. Hobbs Inspiration Awards recipients along with their majors, minors, and a small highlight of their involvement on campus.  Congratulations to all our awardees!

Brianna R. Mutsindashyaka

Brianna is posing for a camera headshot on black background. Wearing a black shirt and block rimmed glasses.  Is smiling.

Major: Cinema Production

Rugby: Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 | Student Cook at CC Dining Hall: Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 | Server at Chick N' Bap: Fall 2019 | Barista at Library: Fall 2019 | Resident Assistant: Fall 2019 - Spring 2022 | Summer College Resident Assistant: Summer 2020 | Immersive Technology Specialist @ IT: Spring 2020 - Fall 2020 (Including Summer 2020) | Creative Technology Specialist @ IT: Fall 2020 - Fall 2022 (Including Summers) | Senior Creative Tech Specialist: Fall 2022Apartment Assistant: Fall 2022 | Technical Services Employee @ PPECS: Spring 2022 - Fall 2022ICTV | Technical Director: Spring 2020, Technical Director: Fall 2021, Assistant Director: Fall 2021 | Delta Kappa Alpha Professional Cinema Fraternity | Equipment Chair: Spring 2020 - Fall 2022 | MLK Week Volunteering: Spring 2019 & Spring 2020 | FLEEF: Spring 2019 | Outstanding Academic Excellence POC Award: Academic Year 2020-21 

Cayla Krista Jones

Cayla is staring off to her right and is smiling. She is wearing a green sweater with a white tank top exposed over her left shoulder.

Major: Occupational Therapy | Minor: Outdoor Adventure Leadership

ICSOTA Co-President | Fall 2022 & Spring 2023Habitat for Humanity VP | Fall 2022 & Spring 2023Build and Operations Manager of Ithaca College Fitness Center | 2022 & 2023Armani Gospel 2023

Christian Castro

Christian is posing for a selfie. He is wearing a grey long sleeve shirt and blue Ithaca hat.

Major: Integrated Marketing Communications

Community Council – Treasurer – Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 | Ithaca First Gen Club - Treasurer/Event Coordinator - Fall 2021 - Spring 2022 | Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science at Ithaca College - Officer - Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 | Ithaca College Biology Club – Social Media Coordinator - Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 | Ithacappella – Treasurer - Spring 2020 -Spring 2021 | Ithacappella – Health and Safety Manager - Spring 2020 - Spring 2021 | Ithacappella – President - Fall 2021 - Spring 2023 | American Advertising Federation - Member - Fall 2022 - Spring 2023 | Students Today Alumni Tomorrow – Marketing Manager – Fall 2020 - Spring 2021 | RA - Spring 2021 - Spring 2022 | Office of New Student and Transition Program - NSTA - Spring 2020 - Fall 2022 | Senior Class E-Board - Chief of Staff - Fall 2022 - Spring 2023 | Orientation Leader - Fall 2022 | President's Host - Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 

Oluwadamilola Risikat Oyetunji

Is wearing a long blue and seafoam green dress with extended sleeves. Is posing on orange patterned background. Looking at camera, but not smiling.

Major: Business Administration (Marketing Concentration) 

African Student Association President: Fall 2022-Spring 2023 | African Student Association Director of Communications: Fall 2021-Spring 2022 | Ujima Black Student Union Subcommittee for Park School of Business: Spring 2020- Fall 2021 | Sister2Sister Member: Fall 2022- Spring 2023 | Startup Pitch Demo Day Fall 2022- Spring 2023 | National BlackStudent Accountants Member: Fall 2022- Spring 2023 | Ithaca Achievement Program: Fall 2019- Spring 2023 | Learning Technology Consultant Spring 2022-Spring 2023 MemberCenter of IDEAS: Fall 2022- Spring 2023 | Students of Color Coalition Retreat: Spring 2023 | Member Student Leadership Institute: Fall 2020- Spring 2023 | IC Voices- MLK Celebration: Spring 2023 | Fist Friday with IDEAS: Brains and Band$: Spring 2023 | First Friday with IDEAS: BIPOC Student Kickback | First Friday with IDEAS: Relaxation Stations 

Erica Jordan Reyes

Erica is posing for a standard headshot on beige background. Is wearing a red top with exposed shoulders. Is smiling.

Major: Musical Theatre

Dillingham Traditions Committee (Senior) Performance Representative: Fall 2022-Spring 2023 | Musical Theatre Workshop Teaching Assistant: Fall 2022-Spring 2023 | IC Catholic Music Ministry-Member/Volunteer: Spring 2023 | Volunteer at the Food Pantry: Fall 2022-Spring 2023 | RockHard Dance Company-Company Member: Fall 2021-Fall 2022 

Jacquelyn Paige Chin

Jaquelyn is posing for standard headshot on dark grey background. Wearing red and white floral patterned top and glasses. Is smiling.

Major: Cinema and Photography

PPECS Employee (Spring 2021-Fall 2022) | PPECS Pro Employee (Spring 2023) | ICTV "A Piece of Art" (Spring 2021) | ICTV "Fathoms Below" Director (Fall 2021) | ICTV Director of On-Air Promotions (Spring 2021-Fall 2021) | ICTV "Newswatch" Assistant Producer (Fall 2020) | ICTV "Fake Out" (Fall 2020-Spring 2021) | ICTV "Sketch Me If You Can" Production Assistant (Fall 2022) | Teacher's Assistant for Cinema Production 2 (Fall 2021; Fall 2022-Spring 2023) | IC Second Stage Co-Dramaturg (Fall 2020) | ICircus (Fall 2021-Spring 2023) | Women in Communications (Fall 2021-Spring 2023) | New York Film and Television Student Alliance (Fall 2021-Spring 2023) | Teacher's Assistant for Acting for the Camera (Spring 2023) | Dean's List | Phi Kappa Phi National Oracle Honor Society | James J. Whalen College Academic Symposium (Spring 2022) | Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society | DreamWorks Animation Feature Production Intern (Spring 2022 & Fall 2022) | FOX Soul Writer's Assistant & Social Media Intern (Fall 2020) | Disney Streaming Global Content Operations Intern (Summer 2022) | Broadway For All Social Media Intern & Content Creation Division Coordinator (Summer 2021) | Girl Scouts Future Women of Distinction Finalist Award (Fall 2020) | National Gold Award Girl Scout Finalist (Fall 2020) | Equitable Excellence Scholarship (Fall 2020) | Kristan Landen Film Scholarship (Fall 2022) | Anne Siegel '81 Memorial Scholarship (Fall 2022) | Walter Bradhering ’79 and Daniel Kluchinski Scholarship (Fall 2022) | BEA Richard Eaton Foundation Scholarship (Spring 2022)

Jillian M. Bleier

Jillian is posing for standard headshot on charcoal grey background. She is wearing a black top with white spots and has long black hair extending past shoulders. She is smiling and looking directly at the camera.

Major: Journalism Major | Minor: Asian American Studies and Legal Studies

Campus Center Operations Staff: Spring 2021-Spring 2023 | Campus Center Operations Manager: Fall 2022-Spring 2023Staff Writer at the Ithacan: Spring 2021-Fall 2021 | Assistant News Editor at the Ithacan: Fall 2021New Student and Transition Program Ambassador: Spring 2020IC Pitch Please Acappella: Fall 2019-Spring 2023 | Social Media Coordinator for IC Pitch Please Acappella: Spring 2020-Spring 2023IC Campus Band: Fall 2019-Spring 2023 

Laura Caridad Avila

Laura is posing for camera with viola in hand. Is wearing black turtleneck sweater and glasses. Has shoulder length dark hair and is looking at camera, but not smiling.

Major: Viola Performance | Minor: Art History

IC FirstGen President- 2022 | ICMixed Communications Liason- 2021 

Martha Kemp-Neilson

Martha is posing in orchard with apple trees in background. Is wearing a black sweater and gold necklace. Has shoulder length dark curly hair. Is smiling directly at camera on sunny day.

Major: Mathematics | Minor: Data Science and Economics

Women's Track and Field Captain | Math club co-president | Ithaca Investment Scholars | Math TA | Economics honors society | Speaker at Whalen Symposium 2022 | Speaker at women in math day sophomore junior and senior year | Math mentor. 

Melanie Sepulveda-Rosado

Melanie is posing for camera with barren forest in background. Wearing a green sweater and black overalls and a black hat with logo. Has shoulder length dark hair.

Major: Environmental Studies | Minor: Self-Designed Suite, Race & Economics

MLK Scholar Program August 2019-current | Dean’s Host, School of Business December 2019-May 2021 | President, Community Council August 2019-May 2021 | Marketing Chair, Ithaca College Esports September 2021-Present | Outing Club Fall 2022 – Present | Interfaith Administrative Assistant, Muller Chapel December 2021-Present | Ithaca Esports Game Chair, December 2021-Present | Ithaca Esports, VALORANT TEAM CAPTAIN, February 2022-Present | Omicron Delta Epsilon International Economics Honors Society (Honor awarded February 2022)Whalen Academic Research Symposium Award Winner (Honor awarded April 2022) | South Hill Apiary Beekeeper & Researcher, Summer Scholar May 2022-Present | Jumpstart Leader, Fall of 2021 & 2022 | Women’s Rugby, Fall 2019 - Spring 2021 | Ithaca First Gen Org Oct 2021 – Present | OAOA Scholar / LSAMP Scholar (National Science Foundation), Spring 2022 – Present | Ithaca Green New Deal Intern, Spring 2022 

Nijha A. Young

Nijha is posing for camera in room with white walls. Is wearing a white turtleneck sweater and black dress coat and glasses.

Major: Journalism | Minor: Italian & Psychology

Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society: inducted Fall 2022 | Ithaca College TEDx Conference, Speaker: Fall 2022 | IDEAS Peer Educator: Fall 2021–Fall 2022 | BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, 5th Cohort Scholar: accepted Spring 2021–Present | Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society: inducted Spring 2021 | Lamda Pi Eta Honor Society, Vice President: inducted Spring 2021 | Italian Tutor: Spring 2021, Fall 2022 | Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Storytelling and Spirituality Fellow: Summer 2021 | Ujima Black Student Union: Park School Representative: Spring 2020–Spring 2021 | ORSL Uncommon Ground for Common Good, Cohort Member: Spring 2020 | Italian Teaching Assistant: Spring 2020 | MLK Celebration: attended Spring 2020 | WICB Radio, Newscaster and Correspondent: Fall 2019–Fall 2021 | Ithaca College Oracle Honor Society: inducted Fall 2020 | The Ithacan, Copyeditor: Fall 2019–Fall 2020 | The Ithacan, Staffwriter: Fall 2019 | Ithaca Achievement Program scholar: inducted Fall 2019 | Ithaca College President’s Scholarship Recipient: Fall 2019–Present 

Violet Lokelani M. Schwartzsmith

Violet is posing outside on cold day with barren trees in background. Is wearing a olive green winter coat. Has shoulder length dark hair.

Major: Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology

Technical Director for Macabre Theater Ensemble (Spring 2020 - Spring 2023) | Treasurer for Macabre Theater Ensemble (Fall 2022 - Spring 2023) | IC Varsity Crew & Club Sculling (Fall 2019 - Fall 2022) | IC Whalen Symposium Presenter: Clinical Implications for Music Therapy for Patients with Dementia (Spring 2021) | SALT Transcription Coding: Language Sample Analysis Research Team Member (Fall 2020 - Spring 2021 | National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) Member (Fall 2020-present)