The award, given for the first time this year, was conceived and presented by the University of California, Santa Barbara History Associates. UCSB hosts the summer institute.
Dr. Margaret Rose, co-director of the project, said Espinoza was chosen to receive the honor because of her dedication to the program and to her students in Bakersfield.
"She's a very capable and dedicated professional," Rose said.
Since its inception four years ago, the project has brought history teachers from six counties Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Kings and Tulare to the UCSB campus for a three-week intensive look at some aspect of California history. The teachers, who cover the gamut from kindergarten to community college, return to UCSB three other times during the year for follow-up conferences and are expected to work material from the project into their curriculums at their home schools.
The topic for this summer's session, which will run from July 10 through July 28, is "Intolerance: Persecution and Resistance in History."
Previous topics have included "Visionaries and Innovators: The Nature of Change in History," "Heretics and Rebels: Opposition Movements in History," and "Civic Values, Rights and Responsibilities from Ancient Times to the Present."
Espinoza has attended all three sessions and plans to be back again this summer.