We award innovation, creativity and impact in our students

Each year San Diego State University recognizes one graduating senior for exceptional entrepreneurial achievement while an undergraduate.

The Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award is funded by Irwin Zahn and the Moxie Foundation. Zahn’s philanthropic giving goes beyond this annual scholarship. His donations also created the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad and the Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation.



Gabe Floresca-Igtanloc, Class of 2021

Gabe Floresca-Igtanloc overcame many roadblocks to ensure theater at SDSU would continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chasejamison "Chase" Akilah Manar-Spears, Class of 2020


A year in Ghana inspired a commitment to environmental and social justice that helped lead to her to an idea: Roots Collective. 

Learn more about Chase


Shurene PremoShurene Premo, Class of 2019

Shurene's commitment to a higher level of social work for Native Americans drives her ambition to someday build a Native American recovery and treatment center for her hometown Shoshone reservation in remote northern Nevada.

Learn more about Shurene


Chase Whittaker, Class of 2018


Chase founded the SanD/Stone Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to providing education and hygiene-focused interventions for vulnerable populations in Zambia, the United States and Mexico. 

Learn more about Chase

Anthony Berteaux, Class of 2017


Anthony, a journalism major, was a thought leader in the SDSU student body, challenging the status quo through columns on diversity, sexism, and religious tolerance in The Daily Aztec and as campus editor-at-large for The Huffington Post.

Learn more about Anthony

Austin Owens, Class of 2016


Austin is "passionate about solving problems and making things happen against all odds." He was a SDSU standout for founding the on-campus Mechatronics Club, competing in international RoboSub competitions and landing a post-graduation job at SpaceX, a space exploration company founded by Elon Musk.

Learn more about Austin