2016 Emeriti Fellows


Emeriti Fellowships Awarded
at the Fall 2016 Emeriti Luncheon


The Emeriti Association Fellowships for 2016-17 were awarded during the Fall Luncheon of the Association held on September 16, 2016 on campus.  Over 235 students submitted complete applications and met the minimum qualifications to be considered for an award.  Fourteen awards were made including 5 Named Endowed Fellowships, 6 General Emeriti Fellowships and 3 Named General Emeriti Fellowships.  

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(L to R): Dr. Alfredo Gonzalez, Chair, Emeriti Association Fellowships Committee, Raul Bravo, Lauren Copeland, Amalia Castaneda, Krista Marrero, Dr. William Covino, President, Cal State LA, Cecilia Fang, Erin Uhlfelder, Richard Nicolas, David Shipko, Dr. John Cleman, President, Emeriti Association)

Named Endowed Fellowships

The David Cameron Fisher Memorial Fellowship in Biological Science has been awarded to Ariel Sherman. Her career goal is to earn a Ph.D. and teach marine ecology at a university or community college. Her interest in this area began, when as an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to work in a faculty lab and study the evolution of marine invertebrates. As a participant in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program Ms. Sherman was provided the opportunities to be mentored, conduct research, and attend scientific conferences. These experiences helped her realize that pursuing a career in research was her desire and a realistic goal.  As a Latina woman and inspired by her own experiences, she mentors high school students in her local community to serve as a role model and to encourage more students like herself to pursue careers in science. 

Raul Bravo has been awarded the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship for students pursuing a master’s degree in counseling. Mr. Bravo credits his parents for giving him the work ethic, discipline motivation, and values to pursue his educational and career goals. He attended Cal Poly Pomona where courses he took exposed him “…to a myriad of social and historical issues experienced by marginalized communities in the United States…” that profoundly influenced him because they mirrored his life as a member of the Latino community in America. His educational and career goals have been influenced by his work in the field of special education in which he has worked since 2008. Mr. Bravo writes that my life is “…focused on making disenfranchised communities, working-class communities, marginalized communities, better through quality and relevant education.”

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(L to R: Michelle Vasquez Ruiz, Dr. Alfredo Gonzalez, Anna Hovhannisyan)

Anna Hovhannisyan is the recipient of the Leonard Mathy Fellowship in Economics. Ms. Hovhannisyan came to the United States after receiving her bachelor’s degree from the Institute of Economics and Business at Russian-Armenian Slavonic State University. The move to the United States was not easy, having experienced financial hardships, cultural differences and a number of other obstacles. She writes that “…Cal State L.A. is like a great family, which supports me and helps me to grow both as a specialist and a good person.” Her awards include Special Recognition in Graduate Studies at the Cal State L.A. 2016 Honors Convocation and a full scholarship to participate in the 2016 Armenian General Benevolent Union New York Summer Internship Program  

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The Mary Gormly Memorial Fellowship in Native American Studies for 2016-17 has been awarded to Amalia Castaneda. Her goal is to earn an MLIS and work as a museum/archival professional in a cultural institution. She believes that working in these two areas is particularly important “…for in both these types of institutions Latinos are heavily underrepresented, and it is important that we help tell our own stories.”  Ms. Castaneda received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA with a double major in Political Science and Gender Studies where she received a number of awards.  While attending CSULA awards she has received include the CSU Sally Casanova Fellowship, and the Eugene Fingerhut Award for outstanding graduate student. She currently serves as a board member at The Museum of Social Justice, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief for the History Department's academic journal, Perspectives.

Michelle Vasquez Ruiz has been selected to receive the 2016-17 William E. Lloyd Fellowship for a graduate student seeking their degree in History, Political Science or Public Administration. Ms. Vasquez Ruiz, developed an interest in history through research she conducted on the Chicano student movement of the 1960s as an undergraduate at U.C. Irvine majoring in Political Science.   Among her honors, upon graduation from U.C. Irvine in 2014 she was awarded the Order of Merit which is given to approximately 2% of the social science graduates for their academic excellence as well as for their original research, leadership and service to the School of Social Science. After receiving her M.A. she plans to continue her research in a Ph.D. program.

Named Emeriti Fellowships

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The recipient of the Carol Smallenburg Memorial Fellowship is Cecilia Fang who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling in the Charter College of Education.   As an undergraduate at U.C. San Diego, Ms. Fang was drawn to the health field. Ms. Fang writes that applying for and coming to Cal State L.A. for the M.A. in Counseling Program “…is one of the best decisions I have made …” She has a particular interest in the role that culture and customs influence behavior and the willingness to utilize counseling and related mental health services. Ms. Fang was active and held various positions in the University of San Diego’s Circle K International, and did research at UCSD’s Developmental Neuroscience Lab. While attending school she also works at B.E.S.T. Autism Services.

The Sidney Albert Memorial Fellowship is awarded to Ashley Tarin who is pursuing her M.A. in Philosophy. Ms. Tarin grew up in a local “working class” community never even sure that she would make it out of community college. Numerous family challenges caused her to have to leave school, work three jobs, and at one point, along with her older sister, become the sole providers for the family and caregivers to their mother. Eventually Ms. Tarin returned to college and earned her bachelor’s degree. She graduated cum laude and is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. She volunteers at the Prison Library Project in Claremont and has been a volunteer at the Los Angeles Food Bank since 2014. She plans to earn her Ph.D. .

Vanessa Black is the recipient of the James M. Rosser Fellowship. Growing up Ms. Black had a number of significant challenges including “…times when I had nothing to eat, no warmth on a cold night and no house to live in.” She goes on to say that “Although these moments in my life were difficult to accept at the time, I now appreciate every single one of them. I wouldn’t change anything because it has made me who I am today.”  In 2005 Ms. Black became a certified Emergency Medical Technician. The psychiatric experiences she responded to had a particular impact on her, especially the interaction between the patient and law enforcement during these emergencies. This has prompted her desire to integrate aspects of the legal system with the science of psychology for more positive and effective outcomes. A graduate of CSUDH in psychology with a minor in criminal justice, she has worked in the department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harbor UCLA Medical Center since 2010 as the Senior Research Assistant/Lab Manager. Her numerous honors and awards include the CSUDH Honors Program, member of Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. Ms. Black plans to continues her studies and earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in forensics.

The Six General Emeriti Fellowship Recipients

As a child growing up in a household with significant challenges Arianna Brown attributes her success to the extended family and teachers that supported and encouraged her, the necessity of learning to persevere at a young age, and school and learning, which from a young age, was an escape. She believes that it is the challenges of her childhood that “…pushed me to think and behave in ways that have led directly to my success.” Working on her M.A. in physics,  her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Ms. Brown’s honors and awards include first place oral presentation in the Physics and Mathematical Sciences at the CSULA Annual Student Symposium on Research, , NASA-DIRECT-STEM Scholarship Program and Research Internship (2015-present), and the Computing, Sciences, and Mathematics in College Scholars Program and Scholarship (2012-14).

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Erin Uhlfelder is a first year graduate student in physics planning to continue her studies after her M.A. and earn a Ph.D. in physics specializing in biophysics. As an undergraduate her first research experience was working with Dr. Michelle Girvan at the University of Maryland. Since coming to Cal State L.A. she has been working with Dr. Paul Nerenberg learning more about molecular dynamics and biochemistry and refining the skills to begin her research on post-transitional modifications of histone tails. Active outside of the classroom, Ms. Uhlfelder served as the Vice President of the Society of Physics Students while an undergraduate and founded a club for undergraduate women to mentor and support undergraduate women in physics.

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At the age of 18 David Shipko joined the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, as he writes: “… to pay for school, to become a leader, and, most importantly, to make the world a better place.  While he acknowledges that he benefited from his service, he believes it is not sufficient to bring about peace. As he writes: “I believe the answer lies in enriching the lives of the people of the world, one person at a time, through the positive actions of artistic engagement and education.” To this end, Mr. Shipko is working on his M.A. in English and intends to continue on to a Ph.D. in Creative Writing with a focus in science-fiction literature; “With this background, I will create science-fiction narratives … that explore what humanity is through the lens of what it could make itself.” In addition to serving as an officer in the California Army National Guard since May of 2011, Mr. Shipko earned the Army Achievement Medal and was awarded Third Place Student Emmy Drama in the 2013 College Television Awards, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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Krista Marrero is “Passionate about finding various ways to educate, learn, and perform research on mental health.” After earning her M.A. in Chemistry Ms. Marrero plans to earn her Ph.D., perhaps M.D. Ph.D. to continue her research.  A first generation college student, Ms. Marrero chose physics as an undergraduate major to apply her strengths in math and science. She graduated magna cum laude with B.S. in Physics and a minor in Business. Married and wanting to start a family, in each of her last four quarters as an undergraduate Ms. Marrero carried 20-22 units. At Cal State L.A. Ms. Marrero is working with a faculty mentor observing the amino acid interactions on proteins undergoing translational modifications. Ms. Marrero was on the Dean’s List from 1999-2004 and was a 2003 McNair Scholar. She has served as a church music leader since 2008.

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Lauren Copeland began  as a bioengineering major at UC Riverside, at the urging of family, which resulted in a poor experience. Close to dropping out of school, Ms. Copeland was encouraged by several faculty mentors to pursue her passion; she stayed in school and changed her major to archeology, and flourished. Ms. Copeland chose Cal State L.A. from among the Southern California archeology programs to which she was accepted “…for its focus on student success, the opportunity to participate in research in the Mesoamerican Lab under Dr. James Brady, and the numerous opportunities for involvement on campus” even though she must commute 147 miles round trip from Moreno Valley. While at Cal State L.A.  her awards include induction into the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Graduate Equity Fellowship for 2015-16 and the Golden Eagle Award of Excellence for her contribution to the Cal State L.A Community.

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Richard Nicolas, pursuing his M.A.in Anthropology, wants to be a professor, “...not simply to pursue my research interests. I feel that my life experiences have given me a unique perspective that will make me an excellent teacher and mentor.” Mr. Nicolas was born in Saudi Arabia to overseas Filipino workers and raised in the Philippines by a distant relative that he called grandmother. Shortly after coming to the United State in 2003 he moved to Alaska and worked in a cannery. In 2008, he joined the U.S. Navy due to financial hardships where he was afforded leadership opportunities.  Mr. Nicolas returned to civilian life in 2013 “…more mature, better educated, and more experienced.” He chose Cal State L.A. because of the strength of its archelogy program. His experiences at L.A. have included studying at San Nicolas Island and the Mojave Desert, and excavating Mayan ruins. His honors and awards include 2016 Winner, Outstanding Presentation Award, 24th Annual Cal State L.A. Research Symposium, 2015 and 2016 Golden Eagle Award of Excellence, 2015 and 2016 Raul Henderson Spirit Scholarship, 2014 and 2015 Costsen Fellowship, Archeology Field Study School, Cal State L.A.