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CSUB Senior Randy Villegas Awarded Prestigious Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship

California State University, Bakersfield senior Randy Villegas has been named a 2017 Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellow for his significant achievements in public policy and social work.

The Wonderful Company and The Maddy Institute announced the award, which is made possible by a generous gift from Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company.  The Resnicks are providing a total of $112,000 to two students selected for the Fellowship in 2017.

"Some of the best undergraduate students in the Valley were considered for this year's Wonderful Graduate Public Service Fellowship,” said Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler. “We congratulate Randy on his selection – this is a tremendous recognition for the University and for him personally.”

Villegas, a political science major with an emphasis in American politics, will pursue a Ph.D. in politics at UC Santa Cruz.  While growing up in Bakersfield, he has been mentoring youth, served as a percussions instructor to several high schools and middle schools, written several opinion pieces for the Bakersfield Californian, and worked as an activist on behalf of vulnerable communities.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2017 Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship,” Villegas said.  “I truly hope I can live up to Senator Maddy’s legacy and make a positive impact in the Central Valley in my lifetime.”

Villegas will be the first member of his family to graduate from college.  Upon graduation from UC Santa Cruz, he wants to return to Kern County and the San Joaquin Valley.

UC Santa Cruz also has awarded Villegas the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship, a six-year award named after one of the first Mexican-American professors in the UC system.

The Wonderful Public Service Fellow program provides financial assistance for Valley students to obtain an advanced degree from a top graduate program and then return to apply what they have learned to help make the San Joaquin Valley a better place to live and work.

The Maddy Institute was established in September 1999 by a unanimous vote of the California Legislature in honor of Senator Kenneth L. Maddy, whose legislative career exemplified the successful application of integrity, bipartisanship and effectiveness in the political process. It was established to engage, prepare, and inspire the next generation of government leaders. 

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