LTCC student nabs statewide leadership award

Submitted to the Tribune


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A Lake Tahoe Community College student was recognized by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors with its annual Student Leadership Award.

Mariela Jimenez Cardenas came out on top against candidates nominated from any one of the other 115 community colleges in California.

Mariela Jimenez Cardenas

Jimenez was recognized at the statewide Student Senate for California Community Colleges’ Spring General Assembly on Friday, March 26. She earned a cash prize of $1,250 along with a commemorative certificate.

The Student Leadership Award is a highly competitive honor that recognizes outstanding student leadership in support of fellow students, a commitment to the broader community, and a dedication to the Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success effort.

Jimenez is a Lake Tahoe College Promise student in her second year at LTCC, where she plans to graduate with an associate of arts degree this June. She then plans to transfer to the University of California, Davis, as a history major. Her goal is to eventually earn a masters in history and become a high school history teacher.

Since 2019, Jimenez has participated in LTCC’s Student Senate where she uses her personal experiences to help improve campus policies and program performance, and to represent her fellow LTCC students through participatory campus governance. She is currently serving as president of LTCC’s Student Senate.

As a student leader, Jimenez shows a deep commitment to improving student engagement and supporting equitable educational outcomes. With an eye on diversity and inclusivity, she helps recruit more students into student government, increases awareness about student clubs and other forms of student life on LTCC’s campus, and works with LTCC’s equity department to ensure students have access to support services that can help them succeed and graduate.

“Mari has been particularly active in the last year and has been a strong voice for students during COVID,” said President Jeff DeFranco. “She understands the link between student performance and basic student needs, including food and housing insecurities and other barriers found outside the classroom that can impede student success. She has been an advocate on improving essential resources, services, and mental health help for our students. I strongly believe she will become a leader and excel in anything she does.”

Jimenez has lived in South Lake Tahoe for many years and is a graduate of South Tahoe High School, where she continues to mentor students on a volunteer basis. She has also been active in city government, helping to organize and host a virtual candidate forum last fall for the nine candidates running for city council. This forum led to 40 more LTCC students registering to vote, and more than 60 community members listened in to be better informed about the candidates and measures on the November 2020 ballot.

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