Applications open for the Quest for the Best awards

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

Applications are now open for the annual Quest for the Best awards, which honor outstanding students and faculty members at San Diego State.

The Quest for the Best awards recognize student achievement in four key areas: academic excellence, student involvement and commitment, community service outside of the SDSU campus, and leadership development.

Nominations are open to regularly enrolled SDSU students who have at least a 3.0 GPA, have completed at least one year at SDSU and have completed at least 75 units.

Robyn Adams, the associate director of Student Life and Leadership, wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of winning the Quest for the Best award.

“For many of the student honorees, this is just the cherry on top of all of their accomplishments,” Adams said.

“It’s a competitive award, and I think recognition of hard work is important to many people. It’s exciting that it’s been on our campus for 30 years.”

Part of the application for the award includes a one-page essay about a major obstacle applicants have faced in their academic or personal life while at SDSU. Adams said past winners have written about a variety of topics, from studying abroad to struggling with illness to being homeless.

The other essay is written on, “Which one SDSU faculty or staff member has made the most significant contribution to your personal growth and why?”

If a student wins the award, the faculty member who he or she wrote the essay about is also awarded and invited to the ceremony.

Christine Probett, a lecturer in the Management Information Systems department at SDSU, has received the award both as a student and a faculty member. She’s been the faculty winner three times and is also a judge for the awards.

“Judging is actually very difficult,” Probett said. “All of the students who apply are great students who are doing well in all components, so it’s really tough.”

However, there is one unifying factor across the board.

“Passion is the common denominator,” Probett said. “All of the winners have a passion for doing well in their areas, whether that’s research, writing, leadership or any other number of things. … It’s really great to give people the opportunity to see and recognize these well-rounded, ideal students. As a professor, I see a lot of great students with great leadership skills, and it’s important that we recognize them.”

Winners are honored at a gala banquet in April. This year marks the 30th year of the Quest for the Best awards, and all past honorees are being invited to the banquet celebration.

Both Adams and Probett encourage students to apply.

“I hear a lot of people who think it’s unachievable, or that they haven’t done enough,” Probett said. “But I would really encourage people to apply. I’ve seen many students evolve academically, professionally, socially and as leaders. To have that recognized is quite an honor.”

Applications can be found on the Student Life and Leadership website.

The deadline to apply is at 4 p.m. on Feb. 15.