Written by Lucero Benitez, COSS Communications Specialist

Andrea Galdamez received a degree in Sociology this month, but she says one of her biggest accomplishments is receiving the Humanics Exemplar Award for her work with Latino community foundations and for serving on their boards to make decisions about their grants. Humanics lecturer Dr. Don Simmons says the award adds to her credibility and the pocket of knowledge she possesses.

“She’s a leader in the classroom and she’s also a leader when she does her work in the community. Other students in the program look to her because she’s usually a step ahead,” Dr. Simmons said.

The Humanics program was established in 1998 as part of the applied program offerings of the Sociology Department in the College of Social Sciences, and provides students with innovative hands-on approaches to service-learning and entrepreneurial approaches to sustainable community benefit organizations.

Students have the opportunity to write grants for organizations in the Central Valley. Galdamez’ work went beyond writing the grant proposal, she coached other students on how to write strong proposals and worked with numerous community benefit organizations during her coursework with Humanics at Fresno State.

“I make it happen through passion. I care a lot about what I do, especially after being educated on the issues, I can’t stand by and do nothing,” Galdamez said.

She worked on a campaign titled “River West for the Rest”, through which she advocated for public access to the San Joaquin River. She also served as the Board Chair for Humanics and oversaw a Students4Giving grant award of $5,000 presented to “Mi Familia Vota.”

The Students4Giving grant was successfully implemented and helped increase civic engagement among Latino youth and register voters during the 2016 election season. Galdamez also served as team lead on the organizational capacity assessment for Arte Americas and presented the results to the Board of Directors for Arte Americas. Another experience for Galdamez was being one of fifteen students who participated in the 55th Annual Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising in New Orleans in April 2018.

Throughout her involvement in Humanics at Fresno State, the community was Galdamez’ classroom. She recognizes that true education requires application, and she believes her experiences of service-learning and volunteering have allowed her to learn about issues that affect the community and work to be part of the solution.

Galdamez volunteered with the Visalia Rescue Mission, canvassed with Faith in The Valley-Fresno, tutored children after school through HandsOn Central California, and interned with the Central Valley Community Foundation, assisting in data collection and research on public health. Her work with CVCF provided further research for “Life Indicators for Future Transformation” Fresno Project.

Galdamez was selected as one of two student representatives to serve on the Latino Community Foundation Central Valley Advisory Committee and participated in the grant review process that resulted in awarding $83,000 in funding to 32 Latino grassroots organizations in our region.

She is currently an intern at Key Writing Concepts and has graduated from Fresno State with a baccalaureate degree in Sociology, the Humanics Certificate in Administration and Leadership for Community Benefit Organizations, and a certificate in Applied Research Methods.

Since 2001, 250 students have graduated with the Humanics certificates in Administration and Leadership and/or a minor in Philanthropic and Community-based leadership. About 70 percent of them are employed in the community benefit or public sector and about 10 percent of those alumni have risen to the executive director position within their respective organizations.

Galdamez plans to continue her work in the community benefit sector.