Each year, five senior students are selected for the distinction of CBU Lasallian Fellow because they embody the values set forth by CBU’s founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. These awards are presented based upon the reflection of Lasallian values in their scholarship, leadership and service. Students are nominated by CBU faculty and staff because of their commitment to the underserved, their sensitivity to social and community needs, the active nature of their faith, and the difference they make in the world.

The CBU Lasallian Fellowships are made possible through the generosity of CBU Trustee Emerita Joyce A. Mollerup and her husband, Trustee Robert (Bob) Buckman.

(L-R) Lucero Amador, Ebuka Ibekwe, Cesar Samaniego-Mata,Jennifer Velazquez, and Edgar Villarreal.

CBU Lasallian Fellows Class of 2023


(Liberal Studies Education ’23)

Brenda Lucero Amador is a Liberal Studies Education major with a minor in psychology, and is best known to the campus community as “Lucero.” Lucero has distinguished herself through her commitment to the Voices United organization and the Student Activities Council. As a Dream scholar, she has consistently shared her story of perseverance and growth with peers, faculty, and staff alike. A warm smile and helpful hand, Lucero never backs down from a challenge, no matter the difficulty.

In her last several years, Lucero has played a pivotal role in the planning and execution of the campus-wide “Dia de Los Muertos” remembrance. Outside the university, Lucero spends much of her time advocating for DACA initiatives – both at a local and national level. In all of her work, her welcoming spirit shines, with a staff member commenting. “[she wants] others to be welcomed no matter who they are, what they do, or where they come from.”

Our founder encouraged the first Brothers – and all future Lasallians – to live with a sense of great zeal. For her own zeal – and that which she inspires in her peers – Lucero earns distinction as a 2022 CBU Lasallian Fellow.


(Electrical Engineering ’23)

Ebuka Ibekwe is a native of Nigeria. He is an Electrical Engineering major with a minor in unmanned aerial systems. “Ebuka” has truly embraced the holistic opportunities a Lasallian education provides. While he came to CBU to get a degree in engineering, not surprisingly, he will graduate with an even greater sense of self. Ebuka never meets a stranger – and constantly advocates for his friends. Over the course of his time at the corner of East Parkway and Central, he has served on the leadership team for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, supported the efforts of the Office of Student Success as a peer mentor, interned with the Office of Advancement; and most recently was named a Resident Assistant in one of the upperclassman halls.

A staff member wrote, “Not only was I bowled over by his tremendous work ethic, but I was also overwhelmed by his capacity for kindness. People often say the phrase “to know him is to love him,” but with Ebuka, to know him is to be loved by him.” No greater sentiment describes this determined, faithful, and supportive individual.

The words of De La Salle speak volumes – “You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care. For touching hearts and for strengthening the bonds of our campus community, the distinction of 2022 CBU Lasallian Fellow is bestowed on Ebuka Ibekwe.


(Natural Science ’23)

Cesar Samaniego-Mata is a Natural Sciences major, and embodies the characteristics of a true servant-leader. Never one to draw much attention to himself, Cesar consistently has “stood in the gap,” ensuring that CBU’s hallmark programs continue without interruption. While enrolled, Cesar has been an integral member of the Center for Community Engagement. With the departure of its first director, he quickly assumed many of the day-to-day responsibilities while a new director was found. Cesar was a tremendous help in putting together the CCE calendar of service events, drawing up the agendas, facilitating the meetings, and purchasing the materials needed for the service projects.

Last summer, Cesar served as resident assistant and student-intern with the McLaughlin Social Justice Institute, held at CBU and named in honor and appreciation of Br. Terence. Every day for a month, Cesar selflessly gave of his time and talent. However, staff wrote that some of his greatest contributions came from the insights provided when participants processed the events each evening.

With an abiding faith, a welcoming spirit, and natural disposition of self-sacrifice, Cesar embodies the charism the Founder demanded of future Lasallians. Congratulations, on the well-deserved distinction of 2022 CBU Lasallian Fellow.


(English for Corporate Communications ’23)

Jennifer Velazquez encapsulates our Founder’s words, “Example makes a much greater impression than words.” As a student, she values the importance of a quality education by actively engaging in coursework and with the Honors Program. Through her campus involvement, she has been a member of Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity and the CBU Nerd4Needs program.

Realizing that learning never ends, this English for Corporate Communications major has spent the last several summers with three impactful programs: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; CasaLuz, which aides and advocates for Spanish-speaking women in domestic violence situations; and most recently, with the Sonia and Celina Sotomayer Judicial Internship Program. Through the internship, Jennifer worked with a housing court judge in the Bronx, experiencing first-hand the needs of underprivileged individuals. For her heart of service and commitment to social justice, we recognize Jennifer with this award. May she continue to inspire the entire campus community with her determination to advocate for all.


(Psychology ’23 )

Edgar Villarreal is a psychology major with minors in cognitive neuroscience and French, is the final member of the 2022 CBU Lasallian Fellows cohort. While his name and reputation are well-known in the halls of the Rosa Deal School of Arts, Edgar has been involved with Psi Chi, served as a peer mentor, and works in our community to teach martial arts to youth. In addition to all these responsibilities, Edgar was chosen as a teacher’s assistant for a correlational methods course.

A faculty member wrote, “Students struggling in rigorous research courses have remarked that Edgar has been an absolute blessing– he is approachable, he is patient, he is nonjudgmental, and he is understanding. He does not weaponize his intelligence but rather is humbled by it.” Peers, and faculty alike, echo these sentiments. Known for going above and beyond to ensure others understand — and retain — the material. For the countless ways, he supports his peers, inspires his faculty, and exemplifies the call of St. John Baptist De La Salle in his Meditations to “inspire and lead others by encouraging them.”