The Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards were founded to honor the legacy of Wendy Wayne, a Cal State Bakersfield alumna and ethical leader who touched more lives than can be mentioned in a brief op-ed. She continues to touch lives through this award, founded in her name, that honors the ethical actions and achievements of Bakersfield community members.

Each year the selection committee receives numerous nominations, submitted by community members to CSUB's Kegley Institute of Ethics, for both youth and adults who have contributed to our community through acts of character and ethical leadership.

Participating in the selection of the 2018 Wendy Wayne Ethics awardees was an inspiring, if challenging, process. The conversation among the selection committee members is challenging in that we are presented with so many examples of ethical persons and, so, the award decisions are quite difficult.

And, at the same time, the conversation is inspiring in that these persons live in our own community and work each day to make our world a better place.

Our 2018 awardees are individuals of integrity and character, possessed of a commitment to serve their community. In doing so, they also honor the lasting legacy of Wendy Wayne. On behalf of the Kegley Institute and the awards’ co-sponsors, Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health Bakersfield, I am very proud to announce this year’s recipients:

• Adult Award: 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. 

• Youth Award: 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. 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 of 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, and later served as the regional president for the California Association of Student Councils.

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. Gill is currently a doctoral candidate of Philosophy, Criminology, Law, and Society at UC Irvine. Her future is unlimited due to her passion, outstanding character, and integrity. 

Mr. Carrizalez and Ms. Gill will be celebrated, along with honorable mentions Sandra Larson, a long-standing community advocate and valley fever prevention activist; Jeannie Parent, founder of KWESI, which advocates for the 400 persons detained at Mesa Verde Immigrant Detention Center; and Zane Smith, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County.

In the youth category we will also honor Ms. Monica Torres, an advocate for immigrant students at CSUB, Ms. Sidney Ferris, a senior at Bakersfield Christian High School, and Mr. Tate Turner, a junior at Bakersfield High School. 

Seats are still available for this event and can be secured on the event registration page:

For additional information, please contact me at or call (661) 654-6263.

Michael Burroughs, PhD, is director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSU Bakersfield. More information on the Kegley Institute of Ethics can be found on the Institute web site: