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ASPPH Student Services Excellence Award

The ASPPH Student Services Excellence Award recognizes individuals who have devoted their careers to innovating and improving the experience for applicants and students. The award is given annually to a full-time faculty or staff member from an ASPPH-member, CEPH-accredited school or program of public health.

2022 Winner

Michael Vega, PhD, MSW

Rutgers School of Public Health

Dr. Michael Vega is the Assistant Dean for Student Services and Alumni Affairs at the Rutgers School of Public Health, where he oversees advising, student support, career services, student programming, conduct, and alumni relations. Since launching the Office of Student Support Services in 2018, he has unified services across both of the School’s locations and restructured staffing to be more intentional in meeting student needs. Most importantly, he has amplified outreach to at-risk students by developing practical resources on common issues and stressors that students face, increased student access to scholarships and emergency funding, and provided peer mentorship opportunities to build a stronger community of support. To sustain these efforts, he has revitalized available resources, training, and development opportunities for faculty and staff to be more effective, intentional, and supportive in addressing student needs both within and outside of the classroom. Prior his work at the School, he served in roles within Residence Life, disability services, counseling services, financial aid, and Educational Opportunity Programs, which have shaped his professional identity as a strategic leader in student services.

Dr. Vega  holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership, Management, & Policy. During his program, he embraced his identity as the only Latino male in his cohort, focusing his research on the ways in which other Latino men may be more persistent towards college success, specifically evaluating the relationship between their masculinity and their college engagement behaviors/outcomes. His research interests also focus on understanding the ways identity development impacts college outcomes for underrepresented minority students. His experiences as a first-generation college student, LGBTQ+ Latino scholar, and advocate for underrepresented minority group have been pivotal in framing how he develops opportunities for students to have a safe space to navigate their educational experiences while living and addressing the impact their intersectional identities may have on that experience.

Dr. Vega is honored to receive 2022 ASPPH Student Services Excellence Award as it is a reflection of the commitment, passion, and dedication he has to a career he loves so much and the investment he provides to students and emerging public health professionals each day.