The Communications Office
Five student Dean's Award winners, photos lined up

Each year, the Dean of Students recognizes seniors who, through their involvement on and off campus, embody Oxy’s four pillars of Equity, Excellence, Community and Service.

The Dean’s Award winners are selected by Dean of Students Rob Flot in consultation with others at the College, and they recognize a small and select number of exceptional seniors who through their involvement on and off-campus have been the embodiment of the College’s four cornerstones of Equity, Excellence, Community, and Service. It's among the most prestigious awards that a student can receive at the College regarding leadership and involvement outside of the classroom.

The College recognizes these exceptional undergraduates for their passion, dedication, hard work and commitment to the Oxy community and beyond. This year, five winners were selected from the Class of 2023.

Jazz Henry: Equity
Tye Hernandez: Excellence
Sela Moretti-Hitchcock: Community
Yumi Sakaguchi: Service
Nathan Tam: Equity

Jazz Henry

Jazz Henry: Equity

Major: Urban & Environmental Policy

Jazz Henry is an Urban & Environmental Policy major with a Black Studies and politics double minor from Bermuda. His involvement on campus stems from working at the Intercultural Community Center and playing on the soccer team for four years, as well as being an RA. He also conducted research with Professor Rodnyansky of the Urban & Environmental Policy department and Professor Harris of the economics department. Jazz has also been able to take advantage of opportunities at Oxy like the Multicultural Summer Institute and studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

From staff/faculty who nominated this student: Jazz Henry is someone who has made a positive impact on the Occidental campus by displaying honesty, care, discipline, and reliability as a teammate. Not only that, but he has also demonstrated motivation and hard work in supporting others during difficult times. Jazz has been involved in a number of activities at the college, including serving in the Intercultural Community Center and the Black Student Association, being an Apollo Night host, a Resident Advisor, a student researcher in urban studies, and participating in the Urban & Environmental Policy and Economics departments. He has recently completed his comps and received excellent feedback from his professor. Overall, Jazz Henry is an exceptional individual who has made a significant contribution to the community.

I met Jazz when he was an MSI student. We’ve connected regularly throughout his time at the College in various ways. I’ve seen him in action as an Equity Ambassador at the Intercultural Community Center, as a Resident Assistant, and as an excellent player on the men’s soccer team, among other things.

–Dean of Students Rob Flot    


Tye Hernandez

Tye Hernandez: Excellence

Majors: politics, economics

Beyond sports and academics, Tye has been involved on campus in many ways. He’s served as a campus tour guide, a JEDI Committee member, a Student-Athlete Advisory Council member, an Urban Economics Teaching Assistant, a research assistant for Professor Jason Wong, a SLICE office worker, a Values and Vocations Fellowship member, a recipient of the politics department’s 2022 Anderson Fellowship Award, a 2022 All-SCIAC Track and Field, 2023 ALL SCIAC, and 2023 Dixon Farmer Award recipient.

Some significant roles Tye has taken part in off campus include working for Congressman Gil Cisneros during the 2020 election and the following year as a director of outreach for Resilience, Inc. This mental health nonprofit aimed to implement a social-emotional learning curriculum in K-12 schools throughout the U.S. Additionally, he spent some time advocating for immigrants’ rights through outreach and legislative work by doing an internship with CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrants’ Rights Los Angeles). As an undergrad, Tye has had a breadth of experience that enabled him to delve deeper into politics and economics, which helped prepare him for his next role in Private Equity Consulting in New York City.

From staff/faculty who nominated this student: Tye has an impressive list of academic awards and achievements: he is a Values and Vocations Fellowship member, and a recipient of the 2022 Politics Department Anderson Fellowship Award. He also has a host of athletic awards and achievements, including SCIAC Conference scorer in two hurdling events. Further, Tye has been involved with programs including the Student Athlete Advisory Council, O-Team, student research, and clubs. He also has been a campus tour guide for a couple of years, an Athletica Justice, a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) committee member, an Advisory Council Member as well as a SLICE office worker. Tye also has taken part in off-campus activities, including working for Congressman Gil Cisneros during the 2020 election and the following year as a Director of Outreach for Resilience, Inc. This mental health nonprofit aimed to implement a social-emotional learning curriculum in K-12 schools throughout the United States. Additionally, Tye spent some time advocating for immigrants’ rights through outreach and legislative work by doing an internship with CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights LA).

Tye has been involved in many important and successful endeavors at Oxy. I’m nearly astounded by all that he’s been involved with and accomplished, while maintaining a great academic record. Tye is a true example of what a liberal arts education can offer a student.

–Dean of Students Rob Flot


Sela Moretti-Hitchcock

Sela Moretti-Hitchcock: Community

Major: philosophy

A Los Angeles native, Sela transferred to Oxy in Fall 2020 during the pandemic. After spending her first year at Oxy online, Sela decided to participate in the Oxy community as much as she could through involvement with SLICE, the Admission Office, Transfer Student Union, and within the philosophy department. She joined O-Team and then transitioned into the SLICE office as an Involvement Program Coordinator, and later moved into the Lead Orientation Program Coordinator position. Sela continued her passion for helping other students in the admissions office as a Senior Admissions Fellow. She also served as the Transfer Student Union co-president, and used that opportunity to advocate for the transfer community.

Sela became involved in the philosophy department in several different ways. She participated in the Ethics Bowl in Fall 2021, and her team was the first from Oxy to reach the National Intercollegiate competition. She assisted Professor Clair Morrissey with a first year seminar, acting as a peer research mentor to support first-year Oxy students. She also conducted research through the Undergraduate Research Center regarding the justification of juvenile punishment. She was fortunate to be able to present this research at three different conferences: the Oxy Summer Research Conference, the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research, and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. Sela passed her senior comprehensive project with distinction, and won the department’s Lauter Prize for excellence in her project.

Sela’s accomplishments at Oxy wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her friends and family, and without the guidance of fantastic mentors along the way. She is incredibly grateful for their kindness and patience on this journey, and they have instilled a love for service and community in her that she will carry with her into the future.

From staff/faculty who nominated this student: Sela has been a SLICE program coordinator, a Transfer Student Union leader, and an Orientation Leader for the last two years. Sela's dedication to helping students of all backgrounds find a sense of belonging and community at Oxy has been crucial to our return to being in-person on campus. As a transfer student, Sela has been a rock in helping other transfer students get connected to resources and become leaders within their short time at Oxy. She has been a Senior Admissions Fellow, pursued research in philosophy, and served as a peer mentor in other classes.

Sela has been a very strong supporter of student engagement and belonging. I’ve seen Sela in action as a member of the Orientation Team, engaging with staff, and most recently in-person supporting the Moonlight Breakfast which was attended by hundreds of students. I’ve very much enjoyed and appreciated the insightful and informative conversations Sela and I have had.

–Dean of Students Rob Flot


Yumi Sakaguchi

Yumi Sakaguchi: Service

Major: psychology

Yumi hails from Fairfield, Connecticut. During her time at Oxy, she discovered her passion for raising mental health and spiritual awareness as well as community organizing. She is grateful for the unending support she received from her family, friends, professors and mentors.

Over four years, she has been involved in various communities at Oxy, including Emmons Wellness Center, the Keck Theater costume shop, Professor Dess's psychology research lab, La Encina, Bulking Baddies, Oxy Dance Team, and DancePro. These experiences gave her the opportunity to explore and discover her desire to heal herself and bring the possibility of healing into the lives of others.

As a senior, Yumi honed in on this journey to deepen her connection to herself and her community. During the summer, she worked as an intake intern at Westport Counseling Therapy where she supported people through their first few steps in receiving therapy. At Emmons and with the generous support of Project S.A.F.E., she organized several self-care events throughout the year such as a breathwork session, a dog day, and a crafting event. She also led a community listening session to help bridge the gap between staff and students about the mental health crisis that is continuously unaddressed at the institution. Upon graduating from Oxy, Yumi plans to find facets of learning opportunities that intersect with non judgmental movement such as dance, art, and healing in order to build a loving community.

From staff/faculty who nominated this student: Among other things, Yumi has worked as an Emmons Student Health Worker. She has shown her dedication and passion for Oxy by working to support and improve student mental health through providing innovative programming and support. She has also played a key role in the promotion of the 24/7 helpline, as well as brought valuable insight into discussions and events around harm reduction. Specifically, she has worked with partner departments and student groups to increase student access to fentanyl test strips. Yumi has assisted Emmons in bringing student voices to staff interview processes, and is a wonderful representative for Emmons at all of our tabling and outreach events. She also helped to coordinate de-stress events for Oxy students during finals week, including Dog Day, meditation, and arts and crafts events. In addition, Yumi is an active member of the Oxy community. She is involved with DancePro and has worked with Keck Theater. As a tutor in the Asian American Peer Tutor Program, she provided academic support to elementary students in first-gen POC communities. Throughout her years at Oxy, she has made an impact on the Oxy community.

There are few, if any, issues more important than student health and wellness, especially during the pandemic. Among other involvements, Yumi has been a true leader, and advocate for improving and supporting the health and well-being of students.Yumi has been involved with many endeavors designed to strengthen and encourage awareness and inclusivity among Oxy students.

–Dean of Students Rob Flot


Nathan Tam

Nathan Tam: Equity

Major: Urban & Environmental Policy

Nathan is a San Francisco native and has taken numerous roles on and off campus conducting research, organizing, and collaborating with others. He is committed to building community solidarity, supporting organizing efforts, and utilizing storytelling as forms of resistance and collective healing. From organizing efforts during the pandemic on the Diversity and Equity Board, Nathan helped form mutual aid programs and academic flexibility policies. He has participated in numerous groups from the Equity and Justice Committee to hiring committees across the campus.

Nathan has conducted community-based research on alternatives to community safety and divesting from police dependence, caste issues experienced and resisted by Dalits in South Asia, and exploring the role of L.A.’s Chinatown in the historic and contemporary spaces of history-making. Off-campus, Nathan has worked with organizations advocating for environmental justice, education, and labor issues around L.A. He is involved with Chinatown Community for Equitable Development combating gentrification and displacement in Chinatown organizing with tenants, small business owners, and community members. After graduation, Nathan will be attending UCLA for a Master's in Social Welfare.

Nathan is grateful to Oxy for the numerous opportunities he has been able to take advantage of and for the challenges and difficult circumstances that made him adapt and grow. In everything that Nathan participates in, he attempts to develop meaningful relationships that uplift care and support for one another. Nathan would like to especially thank his professors, mentors, advisers, friends, and family for continuously inspiring and sparking his passions. Without their love and support, Nathan would not be the person he is today.

From staff/faculty who nominated this student: Nathan is an outgoing, empathetic, intelligent, and engaging campus leader who has made significant contributions to the Occidental community. Nathan’s campus leadership includes serving on the Diversity and Equity Board (DEB). Nathan has advocated for the needs of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, first-generation and low-income students. Nathan has also been a student representative on working groups focused on equity and inclusion. These include the current Council for Equity and Inclusion and groups that preceded the Council such as the Committee for Equity and Justice and the Equity and Justice Task Force. Nathan also worked at the Intercultural Community Center as an equity ambassador. In March 2020, after the murders of Asian women in Atlanta, Nathan organized a Zoom talking space for Asian American faculty, staff, students and alums to reflect upon the impact of the shooting on them personally and the larger APIDA community. In addition to his DEB work, Nathan served on the Student Experience and Retention Committee as part of the Integrated Strategic Planning process. He also serves as a residential hall advisor. He is a senior fellow in the admission department and a peer advisor for the international programs office. While juggling these different campus responsibilities, Nathan has also remained committed to academic excellence as an Obama Scholar. Through all of his diverse leadership roles on campus, Nathan has demonstrated a commitment to excellence, service, community and equity.

Nathan has been a true change agent at the College. He has demonstrated commitment, compassion, empathy, and persistence in supporting the student body. I have worked on a number of projects and committees with Nathan. I’m grateful for his insights and thoughts about how to support Oxy students. Nathan helps to influence how I think about the student experience. He will be greatly missed upon his graduation.

–Dean of Students Rob Flot


Back to Top

Contact News
Jim Tranquada
Director of Communications and Community Relations
Office: (323) 259-2990