FSU names three winners of Hispanic Heritage Month awards

Luis Porto Hernandez (left) and Valentina Iturriaga (center) are the winners of the Rosalina Gonzalez Book Stipend for students. Sindy Chapa (right) was named the winner of the Hispanic Heritage Month Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award.

Florida State University has announced the winner of the Hispanic Heritage Month Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award and two winners of the Rosalina Gonzalez Book Stipend for students.

The Hispanic Heritage Month Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award recognizes faculty and staff members for their service and dedication to students and the Hispanic community. This award celebrates pillars of the FSU community who demonstrate a commitment fostering growth and diversity among the Hispanic cultural identity through teaching, research and service. While the award is an honor, it also carries a $1,000 stipend for the recipient.

The winner of the Hispanic Heritage Month Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award is Sindy Chapa, associate professor in the College of Communication and Information and director of the Hispanic Marketing Center. Chapa is also the advisor of the Multicultural Marketing Student Association and the Hispanic Graduate Students Association, showcasing her unwavering commitment to the Hispanic community.

“At Florida State University, we are always proud to recognize and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our campus community,” said Sierra Turner, program director for the Office of Student Agencies and Institutes. “For the fifth year in a row, we are excited to highlight the amazing work being done across campus to promote and celebrate the accomplishments, lives and experiences of the Hispanic/LatinX community. The recipients for this year represent various areas across campus and are leading the way in their respective disciplines and communities.”

Chapa is one of the country’s leading researchers on cross-cultural consumer behavior and how it relates to marketing, advertising and all other aspects of business. She teaches courses on Hispanic marketing, multicultural marketing and advertising strategy.

Nomination materials submitted on Chapa’s behalf underscored her extensive involvement in the community and her contributions to the empowerment of Hispanic individuals, communities and identities.

“Dr. Chapa serves as our faculty advisor, and her unwavering dedication has been instrumental in our ability to engage with and support the growing Hispanic community at FSU,” said Yeimy Roberto, president of the Hispanic Graduate Student Association. “Her guidance and connections have greatly improved the academic experience for Hispanic students, helping them find their place and succeed.”

Roberto continued, “We consistently rely on her advice and guidance to connect with people who can help us enhance our work in promoting Hispanic culture. Her presence inspires our association to foster a sense of belonging within the Hispanic community.”

Another significant part of FSU’s Hispanic Heritage celebration is the selection of students to receive the Rosalina Gonzalez Book Stipend. This year, Luis Porto Hernandez and Valentina Iturriaga are scholarship recipients.

Hernandez is a current doctoral candidate at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering for mechanical engineering. Originally from Colombia, Hernandez joined the Hispanic Graduate Student Association, which acquainted him with his new environment and the strength of the Hispanic community at FSU. He has since served the organization as president, vice president and advisory board officer. Hernandez is also involved in an Ibero-American film festival in town, and with Cinehassee, serving as the director.

Iturriaga is a first-generation college student from Venezuela pursuing a doctorate in Human Development and Family Science. She has made strides as a teacher and in research studies, serving as a coauthor on two peer-reviewed journal articles focused on approaches to promoting developmental well-being among Hispanic youth. Iturriaga holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling and works at FSU’s Multidisciplinary Center. This role requires her to conduct evaluations for developmental delays in children from Spanish-speaking households, further demonstrating her passion for helping the Hispanic community.