CI sophomore Teresa Castillo wins 2014 CSU Trustees’ Award

Camarillo, CA - CSU Channel Islands (CI) sophomore Teresa Castillo is the winner of a prestigious 2014 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The annual awards are the CSU system’s highest student distinction, providing scholarships to one student at each of the 23 CSU campuses who has conquered hardships to become a distinguished scholar.

Castillo’s $6,000 scholarship is a gift from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, awarded for the first time to two exemplary students recommended by the CSU Foundation selection committee. Castillo and the 22 other recipients were honored on Sept. 9 at an awards ceremony hosted by the CSU Chancellor in Long Beach.

“I am eternally grateful for this opportunity,” Castillo said. “It is an honor to have been selected out of the entire University and to know that others view my accomplishments as remarkable.”

Castillo, 19, is the first in her family to attend a university. She grew up in Oxnard, the oldest of four children, encouraged by her Mexican immigrant parents to pursue educational opportunities they never had. She distinguished herself as a scholar and student leader, excelling in honors and AP classes at Oxnard High School and serving as Student Body Vice President and Senior Class President.

During Castillo’s junior year of high school, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery and intensive radiation. Castillo stepped up to support her family, balancing the demands of household duties while also working to fulfill her college ambitions.

“My family was counting on me to help out during an emotionally, physically and financially difficult time,” Castillo said. “It meant a lot of long days, late nights, and waking before dawn to keep up with homework and household duties. But the responsibility I gained helped me grow as a person and allowed me to help my parents, who have made so many sacrifices for their children’s success.”

Now in her second year at CI, Castillo is working toward a double-major in Liberal Studies and English. She continues to contribute to her family by living at home and working as a paraprofessional supporting special education students in the Hueneme School District. Castillo maintains a 3.4 GPA while also balancing her busy work schedule. After graduating from CI, she hopes to work as an elementary school teacher while pursuing her master’s degree in English, and eventually become an editor or writer for a magazine or newspaper.

“I love teaching and writing because I can use my words to inspire people to empower themselves through education,” she said. “If I can help one student understand more than a simple subject and see that they have great power between their ears, then I have done my part in this world.”

For information on the CSU Trustees’ Awards and 2014 honorees, visit

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.