Undergraduate Diego Santos has been honored with the 2021 John W. Oswald Award in the field of social services. The John W. Oswald Award, established in 1983, annually recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. The award consists of a medallion honoring John W. Oswald, president of the University from 1970 to 1983.
Santos is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science.
Nominators said Santos has made an impact on Penn State through several leadership positions, particularly through Lion Ambassadors, a group of students tasked with communicating the University’s history, personality and traditions to students, alumni and friends through tours and programming.
Santos became a Lion Ambassador in 2019 and since then has held various leadership roles. Currently, he serves as the university relations director and is responsible for building ties with other organizations and offices across Penn State.
Nominators said he used this role to bolster inclusivity, professionalism, and service initiatives of the organization.
“His most impactful accomplishment has been his ability to lead Lion Ambassadors through a critical transformation, which ensures that Lion Ambassadors is an organization for all Penn Staters, regardless of their backgrounds, their experiences or their interests,” a nominator said. “Diego provides the necessary voice that challenges tradition in the pursuit of inclusivity.”
Nominators said Santos is constantly looking for ways to make an impact at Penn State. He served for three years within the University Park Undergraduate Association, occupying numerous positions, while being an advocate for students. Recently, he served on the Penn State Select Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety, a group that’s dedicated to making Penn State a more diverse, equitable and inclusive institution.
“I have had the immense pleasure of working with some phenomenal students, but I can confidently say that Diego is among the best,” a nominator said. “He is incredibly involved on campus, not because of the leadership titles or recognition that often comes with them, but because he believes that through these positions he can help others have a meaningful, enjoyable and enriching college experience.”