2024 Student Leadership Award Winners Announced

Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Four student leaders, dedicated to equity and inclusion on campus and in their communities, have been honored with the California Community College’s annual Student Leadership Award.

April Brown of Long Beach City College, Claudette Clark of Cuyamaca College, Jessica Lopez of Coastline College and Nikhil Masand of Contra Costa College were recognized April 5th at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges 28th General Assembly in Santa Clara.

“Congratulations to April Brown, Claudette Clark, Jessica Lopez and Nikhil Masand for their extraordinary leadership. All four have shown a fierce devotion to pursue transformational change to ensure our colleges work for all students. They represent the very best of the California Community Colleges and are an inspiration to us all,” said Sonya Christian, California Community Colleges chancellor.

The Student Leadership Award was established to recognize a commitment to outstanding leadership in college and service in the broader community.

“The Board of Governors Student Leadership Awards represents the brightest and strongest of the California Community Colleges, and the recipients of the award are a perfect example of the students championing change statewide,” said Cassandra Flandre-Nguyen, Student Senate for California Community Colleges president.

Meet the winners:

April Brown serves as the president of the Umoja Club, a student organization dedicated to promoting equity and inclusivity at Long Beach City College. She was critical in securing more than $17,000 for the club, which is the most funding any equity-driven student club has earned at the college. In an effort to advance the Equitable Baccalaureate Attainment goal of Vision 2030, Brown has organized a leadership tour of the University of California, Riverside for Umoja Scholar students, a Spring 2024 college tour in San Diego and actively recruits students to tour Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help bridge the gap between community colleges and HBCUs. Brown also works in college’s welcome center assisting students and connecting them with the necessary supports to succeed.

Claudette Clark, who serves as the Associated Student Government secretary and was previously the vice president of Equity and Inclusion at Cuyamaca College, is deeply committed to equity in access and support, and equitable representation. She played a vital role this past fall in recruiting the largest, most diverse group of candidates for Associated Student Government in the college’s history. Clark was also instrumental in the founding of the Young, Gifted, and Black student organization and helped the college create new partnerships with the Blue Heart Foundation, a nonprofit focused on educational opportunities for young black men and boys, and World Beat Center, a nonprofit multicultural art center. She is a strong leader, a mentor, student ambassador, volunteer, community liaison for Black and African American Students, an advocate for students facing housing insecurity and is committed to social justice.

Jessica Lopez, the former president of the Associated Student Government at Coastline College, is a fierce advocate for students with disabilities. She was instrumental in the issuance of a resolution advocating for ongoing disability cultural awareness events, the inclusion of disability rights topics in curricula and the prioritization of disabled student data in the college’s institutional plans. She’s also advocated for these issues at the district and state levels and served on the college’s 2022 Student Equity and Achievement Workgroup. Lopez’s leadership has led to the adoption of the OCTA free college bus program and increased funding for the Dolphin Assistance Program, which focuses on basic needs. Lopez’s commitment to disability inclusion extends to the broader community as she’s served as an American Association of People with Disabilities Policy Advisor intern and a Disability Inclusion Communication Specialist.

Nikhil Masand serves as a co-chair of the Student Success Committee at Contra Costa College and previously served as an executive leader with the college’s Associated Student Government. He used his platform to ensure student voices were represented, to support an inclusive campus community and to serve as a mentor to younger student leaders. He’s also volunteers with the college’s Basic Needs Office where he helps pick up and distribute food to the community. Last winter, Masand organized a toy drive for underserved families in the college and surrounding community. He helped pick up and distribute gifts and supported the event for the entire duration. Masand has also spent the past two years volunteering with the Hercules Police Department.

Each winner received a $1,250 check and a commemorative certificate. Twenty-one nominations were submitted for the 2024 awards.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving nearly 2  million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports Vision 2030, a strategic plan designed to serve our students, our communities and our planet. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).

About Long Beach City College
Long Beach City College consists of two campuses with an enrollment of over 25,000 students each semester and serves the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, and Avalon. LBCC promotes equitable student learning and achievement, academic excellence, and workforce development by delivering high quality educational programs and support services to our diverse communities. Visit www.LBCC.edu for more information about Long Beach City College.

Stacey Toda
LBCC Associate Director
Communications & Community Engagement
(562) 938-4004