2018 Honorees and Awards

2018 President’s Medalist

Patricio Galindo

College of Health and Human Services

Patricio GalindoPatricio Galindo, of Selma, completed a B.A. in social work with a 3.85 GPA. In 2009, Galindo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and in 2010 deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. His seven months there changed his life. Galindo earned eight medals while serving the country, including a Certificate of Appreciation from former Vice President Joe Biden when his unit helped handle the protection of President Barack Obama during a visit to Hawaii. He returned home in 2013 after earning the rank of sergeant, but had trouble adjusting to civilian life and suffered from PTSD and bilateral hearing loss. Still, Galindo used his GI Bill to attend Fresno City College before transferring to Fresno State. Galindo is a member of the American Legion Selma Post 12, which last year donated over $12,500 in student scholarships. He also created a resolution and presented in front of Congress to help veterans receive proper recognition. At Fresno State, he created the first social work honor society, Chi Nu, and worked to send care packages to military during the holidays. Galindo interned at Phoenix Secondary Academy, mentoring troubled students in need of guidance. He will pursue his master’s degree at Fresno State and plans to become a school social worker.

2018 University Graduate Medalist

Annemarie Schwanz

Lyles College of Engineering

Annemarie SchwanzAnnemarie Schwanz, of Neuruppin, Germany, completed her M.S. in civil engineering with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in civil engineering with a focus on water resources from Fresno State in 2016. Schwanz came to the United States in 2012 to compete in track and field and cross country at Fresno State. She was immediately challenged with learning a new language, culture and responsibilities, but excelled as she conducted research in transportation, including an award-winning intercity study to determine vehicle capacity and optimal headway through a queuing analysis. In 2016, Schwanz was named Fresno State’s Distinguished International Student and became a four-time Mountain West Scholar Athlete. She was the first two-time NCAA Division I All-American distance runner in Fresno State history in the women’s 1,500 meters and ran the fourth-fastest time in the nation in 2016. She also received the 2017 Fresno State Female Bulldog of the Year award. Schwanz was a three-time Mountain West champion and seven-time all-conference selection. She holds eight track and field and cross country school records. Schwanz is currently an engineer at Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group in Fresno.

2018 Deans' Graduate Medalists

Jodi Benbrook

Craig School of Business

Jodi BenbrookJodi Benbrook, of Clovis, completed her executive master’s in business administration with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her A.S. in nursing from Fresno City College in 2002 and her B.S. in nursing from Fresno State in 2005, attending classes and caring for her children while working full time on the night shift as a labor nurse at Clovis Community Medical Center. When her career progressed unexpectedly from the bedside to management, Benbrook decided to pursue an advanced degree. Now the director of women’s and children’s respiratory and rehabilitation services at Clovis Community, Benbrook says she discovered that in management she can make a difference on the way care is given on a broader scale throughout an entire department. She says, as a nurse in business school, classes were not easy, but they allowed her to see the hospital in a new way, balancing clinical quality with financial stewardship. Benbrook says she is determined to do good work with the degrees she has earned so she can make a positive difference in the community.

Cheenou Her

College of Science and Mathematics

Cheenou Her

Cheenou Her, of Fresno, completed his M.S. in chemistry with a 3.9 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in chemistry from Fresno State in 2014. A first-generation college student, Her was born in a refugee camp in Thailand before his parents and six siblings moved to the United States after the “secret war” to escape persecution. Her’s favorite childhood memories include recreational activities, sports and the annual trips to Santa Cruz facilitated by the Pinedale Community Center. His junior year at Clovis West High School, Her took a chemistry course and enjoyed it so much he declared it his major at Fresno State. For his master’s thesis, he analyzed three-dimensional structures of antifreeze glycoproteins using high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy – developing a new, more powerful way to analyze samples. He also contributed to three other research projects, including one on the effect of sucralose on enzyme kinetics that resulted in a patent pending. Her plans to pursue his Ph.D. in the fall, and to ultimately become a professor at a prestigious university.

Christina Macias

Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Christina MaciasChristina Macias, of Ventura, completed her M.A. in early childhood education with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in biology (ecology) from Fresno State in 2000 and her A.A. in liberal studies from Fresno City College in 1994. After earning her bachelor’s, Macias went on to work as a biologist for the state of California before creating a private preschool to provide responsive, relationship-based care to young children while leveraging her science background. In 2015, she enrolled in a master’s program at Fresno State, motivated to pursue a career in early childhood education and advocacy. She proposed a demonstration garden for the campus to be used as a science-based resource for P-12 students and teacher candidates, as well as a tool to battle food insecurity. The location is being finalized. Macias also participated in two research studies, including a math coherence project by Northwestern and Vanderbilt universities, and a Next Generation Educators Initiative to help design the CREATe Rubric. Next, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. at UC Davis.

Savannah Nakamura

College of Social Sciences

Savannah NakamuraSavannah Nakamura, of Fresno, completed her M.A. in history with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.A. in art history and Italian studies at Long Beach State in 2011 and spent a year studying abroad in Florence, Italy. In 2013, she moved to South Korea to teach English to elementary-aged students and discovered a passion for teaching. She then entered Fresno State’s master’s program and focused her research on the Enlightenment concepts of politeness and improvement in 18th-century Britain through the lens of Eliza Haywood’s “The Female Spectator,” the first periodical written by a woman for a female audience. She also worked in the Henry Madden Library’s special collections, writing and editing articles highlighting the history of Fresno State’s amphitheater, Greek life and more. Her work was published in the Fresno State Alumni Association newsletter. As a graduate, Nakamura plans to teach at the community college level and to possibly pursue another degree.

Guadalupe Remigio Ortega

College of Arts and Humanities

Guadalupe Remigio OrtegaGuadalupe Remigio Ortega, of Fresno, completed her M.A. in English (rhetoric and writing studies) with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.A. in English with a minor in philosophy from Fresno State in 2015. A first-generation college graduate, she grew up laboring in the fields alongside her parents — Mixtec native speakers from Oaxaca, Mexico. Remigio Ortega’s master’s thesis focused on implementing critical race methodologies in writing classrooms as a means of alleviating the marginalization of Latino/a students. The assignments she created as part of her research were added to Fresno State’s first-year writing program sourcebook to be used as a guide for teaching associates. She volunteered as a committee member for the Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas and served as a student representative for the Graduate Net Initiative to help make graduate education more attainable. In September, she will pursue a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her goal is to become a college professor and work with graduate students to reach out to marginalized communities.

Jeffrey Ruser

College of Health and Human Services

Jeffrey RuserJeffrey Ruser, of Schaumburg, Illinois, completed his M.A. in kinesiology (sport psychology) with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. Ruser surveyed nearly 600 NCAA student-athletes for his research on athlete burnout, coach-athlete relationships and gratitude. His work suggests strong coach-athlete relationships may increase athlete gratitude. His study earned him the Outstanding Thesis Award and the American Kinesiology Association Master’s Scholar Award from the Department of Kinesiology. Ruser’s service including serving as teaching associate for kinesiology activity courses and working with dozens of Wayfinders students who have intellectual disabilities. The sport psychology skills he teaches them, including goal setting and positive self-talk, are similar to skills he works on with college and high school athletes. In the fall, Ruser will pursue a Ph.D. in counseling and sport psychology at Indiana University. His career goal is to serve as a director of sport psychology at a major university.

Annemarie Schwanz

Lyles College of Engineering

Annemarie SchwanzAnnemarie Schwanz, of Neuruppin, Germany, completed her M.S. in civil engineering with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in civil engineering with a focus on water resources from Fresno State in 2016. Schwanz came to the United States in 2012 to compete in track and field and cross country at Fresno State. She was immediately challenged with learning a new language, culture and responsibilities, but excelled as she conducted research in transportation, including an award-winning intercity study to determine vehicle capacity and optimal headway through a queuing analysis. In 2016, Schwanz was named Fresno State’s Distinguished International Student and became a four-time Mountain West Scholar Athlete. She was the first two-time NCAA Division I All-American distance runner in Fresno State history in the women’s 1,500 meters and ran the fourth-fastest time in the nation in 2016. She also received the 2017 Fresno State Female Bulldog of the Year award. Schwanz was a three-time Mountain West champion and seven-time all-conference selection. She holds eight track and field and cross country school records. Schwanz is currently an engineer at Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group in Fresno.

Leonard Serrato

Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Leonard Serrato

Leonard Serrato, of Los Banos, completed his M.S. in counseling (student affairs and college counseling) with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.A. in psychology from Fresno State in 2014 and his A.A. in psychology from Merced College in 2010. In third grade, Serrato was diagnosed with dyslexia but hasn’t let that stop him from excelling. Serrato says his greatest accomplishment is his graduate research project that, sadly, resulted from a tragedy in 2012 when his friend and fraternity brother died in an alcohol-related hazing incident at their fraternity house. Serrato has worked diligently since to educate Greek organizations and pledges on the definition of hazing and how to empower bystanders. He is passionate about helping the Greek experience to be positive and beneficial to the campus and community. As a Greek life graduate assistant at Fresno State, he has re-written the New Member Education Program to include his research on hazing, Title IX training and alcohol awareness training. His goal is to become a Greek life adviser and professional speaker on hazing.

Jacob Vazquez

Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Jacob Vazquez

Jacob Vazquez, of Cottonwood, completed his M.S. in agricultural science with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in agricultural business from Fresno State in 2016 and studied at Butte College before that, never earning less than an A. Vazquez transferred to Fresno State and earned a starting position on the offensive line for the football team. In 2016, he was named a Division I Academic All-American and was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the “Academic Heisman.” Vazquez served as mentor for the Big Heroes Little Heroes program, worked with Valley Children’s Hospital and served as a youth group leader at his church. As a Jordan College Multicultural Scholar, he visited rural schools and led farm tours to motivate students to attend college and pursue careers in agriculture. His master’s project, “The Scholar’s Playbook,” is a research-backed booklet created to help students navigate their first years in college. He plans to provide the booklet free of charge to the Jordan College and Fresno State athletics. Vazquez plans to pursue a career in agribusiness or a professor position at a community college and eventually earn a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree.

2018 Deans' Undergraduate Medalists

Elizabeth Barba

Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Elizabeth Barba

Elizabeth Barba, of Fresno, completed a B.A. in liberal studies (child development) with a minor in French with a 3.56 GPA. She was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 6 months old. She began studying French in eighth grade and is now fluent in English, Spanish and French. A first-generation university student, Barba is committed to transforming the lives of others and understanding the struggles facing many students. She has assisted students at John Burroughs Elementary in Fresno since 2016, and has been a member of Jumpstart Fresno, which emphasizes the importance of service to the community. She also assisted at Kings Canyon Head Start, tutoring children ages 3 to 5 in kindergarten readiness, and she has worked with Fresno State’s Office of Community-Based Learning. Barba is now a candidate for the Fresno Teacher Residency program, allowing graduates to earn their teaching credential and master’s degree while preparing them for a three-year commitment to teach in Fresno Unified School District.

Katelin Britton

Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Katelin BrittonKatelin Britton, of Modesto, completed a B.S. in agricultural business with a 3.97 GPA. Raised on a small family fruit farm, Britton was drawn to agriculture at a young age and fondly remembers summers working cherry, peach and apple harvest. In between managing her classwork at Fresno State, she served as the team captain for the Bulldogs’ swimming and diving team and completed internships at Ott and Davison Consulting in Clovis, Van Groningen & Sons in Manteca and Gaarde Food Source/Pangea Cultivar Management in Fresno. She earned Academic All-Mountain West honors as a student-athlete, and volunteered for several community service projects, including the Saturday Sports program, Fresno State’s Student Cupboard food drive and Big Hero Little Hero. She considers herself fortunate to have received a college education while competing in a sport she loves with teammates who support and encourage each other. She dreams of one day taking over the family business.

Selena Carbajal

College of Social Sciences

Selena Carbajal

Selena Carbajal, of Fresno, completed B.A. degrees in women’s studies, psychology and Chicano studies with a 3.97 GPA. A first-generation college graduate who is the daughter of immigrants, Carbajal says she chose three majors because she just kept finding more interests. The Sunnyside High School alumna created a line of research that bridges all three of her majors while examining the challenges and barriers of Latina, first-generation college students in higher education. As a McNair Scholar, a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and a research assistant for the Latino Family Dynamics Project, Carbajal encourages others to use their diversity as an educational resource. In the fall, she will pursue a Ph.D. in family studies and human development at the University of Arizona. Her long-term goal is to build a foundation for future generations of scholars to promote and foster diverse and innovative research agendas for the benefit of individuals, communities and institutions.

Yvette Espinoza

Lyles College of Engineering

Yvette Espinoza

Yvette Espinoza, of Fresno, completed a B.S. in computer engineering and minors in mathematics and Chinese with a 3.83 GPA. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Espinoza knew little English when she first began elementary school. Today, she graduates from Fresno State as a multilingual engineer who speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin. Espinoza enrolled in Mandarin course at Fresno State, and was so inspired by the language that she visited China during summer break and decided to study abroad for a semester in Shanghai. Espinoza first became interested in engineering through the MESA program. She received a scholarship to attend Fresno State through the Smittcamp Family Honors College and went on to secure two internships with Raytheon Missile Systems before accepting a full-time job offer from Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense company. With interests geared toward digital signal processing, Espinoza’s research was focused on underwater mapping by using sensors to track the position of a watercraft. She is also considering graduate school.

Patricio Galindo

College of Health and Human Services

Patricio GalindoPatricio Galindo, of Selma, completed a B.A. in social work with a 3.85 GPA. In 2009, Galindo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and in 2010 deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. His seven months there changed his life. Galindo earned eight medals while serving the country, including a Certificate of Appreciation from former Vice President Joe Biden when his unit helped handle the protection of President Barack Obama during a visit to Hawaii. He returned home in 2013 after earning the rank of sergeant, but had trouble adjusting to civilian life and suffered from PTSD and bilateral hearing loss. Still, Galindo used his GI Bill to attend Fresno City College before transferring to Fresno State. Galindo is a member of the American Legion Selma Post 12, which last year donated over $12,500 in student scholarships. He also created a resolution and presented in front of Congress to help veterans receive proper recognition. At Fresno State, he created the first social work honor society, Chi Nu, and worked to send care packages to military during the holidays. Galindo interned at Phoenix Secondary Academy, mentoring troubled students in need of guidance. He will pursue his master’s degree at Fresno State and plans to become a school social worker.

Prabhsimrat Gill

College of Arts and Humanities

Prabhsimrat GillPrabhsimrat “Peekay” Gill, of Fowler, completed a B.A. in English (English education) with a 3.83 GPA. Gill’s passion for storytelling has driven her curiosity and education from a young age. When describing the impact that stories have had on her life, she begins with her father’s story and how, at age 19, he navigated across the Atlantic Ocean from India on a ship to search for a better life for his family in America. Gill recalls how her love for stories and learning was fostered by her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Srabian. Gill was so inspired that she would go home from school as a youngster, place the dining room chairs in rows with a stuffed animal propped up on each chair, and she would deliver lessons to her own “class.” Gill went on to teach Sikh language, history and etiquette courses at the Gobind Sarvar Gurmat School in Fresno and to mentor young reporters for The kNOw Youth Media, and now as a Fresno State graduate, she is preparing to become a high school English teacher.

Anoush Hakopyan

Craig School of Business

Anoush Hakopyan

Anoush Hakopyan, of Fresno, completed a B.S. in business administration (accounting) with a 4.0 GPA. She chose the field to build the skills necessary to further advance the mid-sized business her family has run throughout her life. Hakopyan, who is fluent in Armenian, joined the Armenian Students Organization that hosts a memorial for the Armenian Genocide annually, and she later served as a volunteer intern for the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno. Hakopyan served as the chair of the VITA program at Fresno State, a volunteer income tax preparation service for low-income taxpayers. She was also involved with the Student Managed Investment Fund that gives finance students experience managing a $4 million endowment for the Fresno State Foundation. She served as an intern for K-Coe Isom, a nationwide public accounting firm with a Fresno location, and accepted a full-time position as an associate with the firm beginning in July. Eventually, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and become a professor.

Majerle Reeves

College of Science and Mathematics

Majerle ReevesMajerle Reeves, of Fresno, completed a B.A. in mathematics and a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a 3.87 GPA. Reeves was involved in two significant research projects during her time at Fresno State, including a mathematics project that inspired her to double major. She worked with a team to develop a model for the spread of an influenza virus through California. The second project used data science techniques such as clustering and building complex networks to classify locations in Manhattan. A member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, she has participated in numerous professional organizations and student groups, including the Society of Women Engineers, and studied abroad in Greece and England. Since graduating in December, she has worked full-time at Peters Engineering Group in Clovis. She will begin a Ph.D. program in applied mathematics at UC Merced this fall. She would like to work in a national lab before ultimately becoming a college professor.

Brandon Sepulveda

Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Brandon SepulvedaBrandon Sepulveda, of Sanger, completed a B.S. in business administration (finance) with a minor in public health with a 3.84 GPA. Sepulveda served for Associated Students, Inc. as executive vice president and vice president for finance. He worked on several initiatives in student government, including increasing funding for sponsored activity grants and undergraduate research. He also helped secure a partnership with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to provide free online digital subscriptions for the Fresno State campus. As a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College at Fresno State, Sepulveda also worked with several areas of campus to explore outreach efforts to increase the number of underrepresented minority students entering the college. Next, he will begin two years of service in Tanzania with the United States Peace Corps helping children learn and develop math skills. He hopes to continue his work as an ambassador for both Fresno State and his hometown of Sanger.

 

 

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