The Communications Office Photo by Marc Campos
Occidental College's four Dean's Award winners for 2024

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.

Pictured above, from left: Chris Haliburton, Dean of Students Rob Flot, Sueli Zalazar, Aani Sinnott, and Yareimy Patrocinio. Not pictured: Mashly Martenez.

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 2024.

Community: Mashly Martinez 
Service: Sueli Zalazar
Equity: Aani Sinnott
Excellence: Christopher Haliburton
Community: Yareimy Patrocinio

Mashly Martinez: Community

Mashly Martinez headshot

Majors: kinesiology and Spanish
Hometown: North Hollywood, CA

As a first-generation Latina, Mashly loves serving her community. She has been a coordinator for the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) since her sophomore year, educating K-12 low-income, first-gen, minority families about higher education. She did this through facilitating tours, shadow days, and NPP’s biggest event: Career and College Access Day (CAAD). She was also a coordinator for COMPARTE, where she felt passionate about building a bridge between Oxy staff and students. It was important to her to create a space where Oxy staff and students could share their knowledge and facilitate English learning workshops. 

During her time at Oxy, she also worked in Professor Andrew Udit’s research lab starting the summer after her first year, continuously working and guiding young lab members on testing the binding parameters of heparin and a protein to reverse the negative effects of heparin used in the medical field. Outside of Oxy, Mashly has passionately worked with PALS, a non-profit organization that promotes a welcoming environment for individuals with or without Down syndrome. During the summer after graduating, she will be collaborating with PALS again as a program coordinator.

Mashly’s accomplishments at Oxy wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her family, friends, and mentoring professors. She is excited for her next step after Oxy; this fall she will be attending a doctoral program in occupational therapy at USC. Her goal is to bring occupational therapy to low-income families as she has seen a lack of proper aid in her community.


Sueli Zalazar: Service

Sueli Zalazar headshot

Major: Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP)
Hometown: Asuncion, Paraguay

Sueli’s passion for creating inclusive, nurturing spaces has been a driving force since she was very young and has continued throughout her college career at Oxy. As an international student from Paraguay majoring in UEP, she has actively sought opportunities to champion social justice. For four years, she served as an Equity Ambassador at the Intercultural Community Center (ICC.) This role allowed her to create collective care spaces for other students and community members, and witnessing the power of belonging fueled her desire to keep working to foster these relationships. This led her to work for the Multicultural Summer Institute (MSI) program for the past three years, supporting other students from the very start of their college journey. 

Sueli’s commitment to social justice extends beyond campus. Participating in the Young Initiative Program allowed her to collaborate directly with the Mayor's office in the creation of a racial equity hub, and my internship at CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles) provided invaluable experience in advocating for the rights of immigrants.


Aani Sinnott: Equity

Aani Sinnott headshot

Major: biology
Hometown: San Diego, CA

Aani Sinnott is a biology major and public health minor from San Diego, California. On campus, she has served as a Resident Advisor, Student Life Liaison on the ASOC Diversity and Equity Board, Board of Trustees student representative, and she conducted research with Professor Kerry Thompson’s neurobiology laboratory. Through her work on the Diversity and Equity Board, she organized a school-wide initiative to provide fully-funded summer storage for low-income students and international students.

Off campus, Aani interned at Every Woman Counts through the UEPI Summer Internship program. There, she provided education on breast and cervical cancer prevention for low-income and uninsured women in Los Angeles County while advocating for accessible cancer detection services. During her first year, which was remote, she conducted research at the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, studying SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 vaccine protection.


Christopher Haliburton: Excellence

Chris Haliburton headshot

Major: Diplomacy and World Affairs
Hometown: Fontana, CA

Chris decided to get involved more at Oxy during his junior year, hoping to meet more people and make connections. Over the last four years, he has been a member of the track and field team, a resident advisor, a J.E.D.I. committee member, a summer admissions intern, a senior fellow, and a member of the 2020 MSI cohort. In track, he won 2023 All-Academic Athlete, 2024 All-SCIAC, and 2024 Joe Pipal Award. As an resident advisor, Chris received the Make A Difference award for advocating on behalf of students and making changes in residential halls.

Chris is grateful for Oxy’s community, which has provided him with the tools and resources to grow not only as a student but as a person. He would also like to thank his family, friends, coaches, and professors for their love and support. Upon graduating Oxy, Chris plans on taking a gap year and entering law school in the fall of 2025.


Yareimy Patrocinio: Community

Yareimy Patrocinio headshot

Major: psychology
Hometown: Linden, NJ

Yareimy was born and raised in New York City and grew up in a low-income immigrant community. Having had the opportunity to attend college across the country, she knows how hard it is to enter these spaces that were not built for people like her: a queer, working-class Latina and first-generation college student. She recognized that her community was a big support in helping her get to where she is today. 

The importance of community and giving back is something that Yareimy has always carried with her throughout her time at Oxy. For example, from the moment she set foot on campus until the end of her junior year, she was a tutor; college ambassador; and an administrative coordinator for the Neighborhood Partnership Program, a program that works with local LAUSD high school students to make college a more accessible option. She worked with Comparte, helping Oxy staff learn English in ways that are applicable to their everyday lives, and was involved with Professor Patricia Cabral’s psychology research lab, which focuses on Latina women wellness. She has also been part of Azucar and the Latinx Student Union.

As a senior, Yareimy saw the perfect opportunity to combine her psychology major and her interest in working for the community when she became a peer health educator. As a first-generation Latina who has Mexican immigrant parents that stigmatize mental health, she hopes to become a bilingual mental health therapist that works with the Latinx community. As a peer health educator, she prioritized doing outreach requests for workshops about imposter syndrome and self-care with groups of Oxy students with similar backgrounds to her. She also created and helped with events such as Therapy 101, where students are taught about how to access therapy at Emmons Wellness Center or off campus. Coming from a family that does not seek mental health care, this is something that Yareimy had to learn and she realized that other students might have similar needs.


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