Skyline College alumni Van Le
Skyline College alumni Van Le

Congratulations to Skyline College alumni Van Le, the 2021 recipient of the Michele J. Shover Award for Academic Excellence in Political Science at California State University, Chico.

This award honoring former CSU Chico political theory and American politics professor, Dr. Michele J. Shover, is given to recognize a student who is also inspired by the study of political science and by outstanding teachers and mentors. Dr. Shover’s research focused on women and politics, and she is the expert on the early history of Butte County, with publications on the experiences of women, African Americans, and Chinese residents in the region during the 1800s.

Responding in her award essay to the prompt “Explain ways an idea or concept in political science is shaping your understanding of the world in which you live”; Ms. Le described how the civic/community learning opportunities in which she participated at Skyline College impacted her view of “the social contract” between individuals and society. She eloquently articulated how courtroom visits, shadowing in the District Attorney’s office, interviewing legal professionals, and volunteering at Naturalization Workshops provided her with “practical learning activities” and “opened her eyes to the reality of how the legal system works”. Ms. Le quoted such legal luminaries as Justice Sonia Sotemayor, as she described the delicate but often imperfect balance of individual rights and duty to society inherent in social contract theory.

Recommendations from Skyline College Administration of Justice Professor, Steve Aurilio and Rena Preston from the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office added additional weight to Ms. Le’s already impressive application. Professor Aurilio described Van Le as one of those students who “separates themselves from the crowd because they display the energy and commitment that immediately tells you that they will be successful in the pursuit of their academic and vocational goals.”

Along with her exemplary academic work and stellar award essay, Van Le was recognized for her significant volunteer and professional work including three years as a legal operations and paralegal intern along with her ongoing work with the SFPCI Naturalization Workshop.

In 2019, Ms. Le received her Associate of Arts Degrees in Criminal Justice and Paralegal from Skyline College and was the recipient of the coveted Skyline College Administration of Justice Gold Medal. Clearly, this was just the beginning of her achievements and we are thrilled to congratulate her on this most recent award acknowledging her continued success.

Article by Chris Burwell-Woo

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