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CSUB’s Kegley Institute of Ethics Announces Recipients of the 2018 Wendy Wayne Awards

California State University, Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics today announced Pastor Manuel Carrizalez and Ms. Navjyot Gill as the recipients of the 2018 Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards. The recipients will be honored at an invitation-only dinner ceremony on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at Stockdale Country Club.

The annual awards recognize one youth and one adult whose ethical character and behavior have had a profound impact on the lives of individuals from Bakersfield and Kern County.

Pastor Manuel Carrizalez

Having led a rough and violent childhood, Manuel Carrizalez found a new path while in prison. He returned to Bakersfield in 1991 and dedicated his life to helping our community’s youth find a better path. He founded Stay Focused Ministries, which inspires, equips and mobilizes the community through hope and the belief that they can improve their quality of life. Stay Focused offers alternative solutions to those who have become imprisoned as a product of their environment and circumstances.  The ministry’s staff and volunteers serve youth through mentoring in schools, school assemblies and weekly neighborhood outreach programs in high risk areas. Thousands have been positively impacted by this work, many of whom have returned as hard-working members of society. Fractured families have been and continue to be restored and are prospering through the ministry’s encouragement and the resources they provide. 

Pastor Carrizalez is also a member of the Bakersfield Police Department Chaplain Program, through which he regularly responds to the scene of violent crimes to support victims and family members. He happened to be in Las Vegas during the horrific shooting and learned a Bakersfield Police officer was shot. He immediately called BPD Chief Lyle Martin offering support and then visited the hospital where he met and prayed with the injured officer and his family. All these efforts explain why Chief Martin calls Pastor Carrizalez an “angel” and why he has earned the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom he serves.

Ms. Navjyot Gill


When Navjyot Gill was a sophomore at Golden Valley High School, she attended a Leaders in Life Youth Conference Fundraising Banquet where she heard Wendy Wayne give the keynote speech to an audience of several hundred students, parents and community members. She recalls sitting in the back of Hodel's Banquet Hall with goosebumps because she was so inspired by Wendy's words. Those words changed the trajectory of her life and inspired her to stand up for underserved people and those facing ethnic or religious discrimination.

Shortly thereafter Navjyot became the founder and President for Golden Valley’s AWARE Club -- a group focused on raising student engagement to address community issues around discrimination and intolerance.  She was also a leader in the Safe School Ambassadors program, helping to address bullying, mistreatment and intolerance. She later served as the Regional President for the California Association of Student Councils and chaired a regional youth cabinet dedicated to training young Associated Student Body officers to make a difference in their schools and communities. Her commitment to improving the lives of others continued into college: At UC Berkeley she co-founded Cal’s “Get Healthy” Campaign, founded the school’s Sikh Anti-Bullying Campaign, and became the Social Justice Director for the Associated Students of the University of California. 

Now a doctoral candidate of Philosophy, Criminology, Law, and Society at UC Irvine, Navjyot looks back to an early childhood in which her immigrant Sikh upbringing included outlook-limiting cultural barriers and gender expectations. Her father was a day laborer in the fields and her mother was disabled, and she started school in English as a Second Language classes. But she worked her way up to GATE classes and graduated with honors from UC Berkeley. Her future is unlimited because her passion is so deep and because she is a young woman of outstanding character and integrity. Her goal is to bring her doctorate back to Kern County to help address socioeconomic inequities that adversely impact the health and educational outcomes for ethnic minorities and children living in poverty.

Christopher Meyers, KIE’s director emeritus, noted that “this year’s nomination pool was extraordinary; our community has so many ethically impressive people!” The selection committee thus decided to also give special recognition to other nominees: Sandra Larson, long-standing community advocate and Valley Fever prevention activist; Ms. Jeannie Parent, founder of KWESI, committed to advocating for the 400 persons detained at Mesa Verde Immigrant Detention Center; and Mr. Zane Smith, Executive Director of The Boys and Girls Club of Kern County. In the youth category we will also honor Ms. Sidney Ferris, a senior at Bakersfield Christian High School and Mr. Tate Turner, a junior at Bakersfield High School.

Wendy Wayne, a CSUB Alumna, was a key member of the organizing group that founded the awards in 2011.  They awards were renamed in her honor upon her death in 2012. They are now dedicated to recognizing those persons whose behavior and character sustain her legacy and commitment to service and to exemplary ethical behavior.

The event is co-sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health Bakersfield. For additional information, contact KIE Director, Dr. Michael Burroughs at or call (661) 654-6263.

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