Emeriti Fellowships Awarded
at the Fall 2017 Emeriti Luncheon
The Emeriti Association Fellowships for 2017-18 were awarded during the Fall Luncheon of the Association held on September 8, 2017 on campus. An ad hoc committee of emeriti faculty reviewed applications and selected eleven graduate students to receive fellowships and two undergraduate students to receive scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. Twelve of the awards are for a $1,000, the Dr. Leonard Mathy Fellowship in Economics is for $2,000. Eight of the fellowships are funded by the Emeriti Association Fellowship Fund which exists thanks to regular donations from emeriti faculty and friends of the Emeriti Association. This year a special contribution to this fund was made in the memory of Professor Edward Nelson, by his family, for an award to a graduate student in finance. Four of the awards, the David Cameron Fisher Memorial Scholarship/Fellowship in Biology, the Neda Fabris Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering, the Jane Matson Fellowship for a student in counseling, and the Vicente Zapata Scholarship for a student in public health or nutritional science are supported by endowments created by the named individuals (and/or their friends) or in memory of the named individuals. The Dr. Leonard Mathy Fellowship in Economics is supported by a generous gift from Dr. Leonard Mathy.
Photography by Dr. John A. Kirchner, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Transportation
Emeriti Association Fellowship Fund Awards
The eight recipients of Emeriti Association Fellowships for Academic Excellence are Jocelyn Acosta, Mahsa Tayer Farahani, Maria Beltran, Ralph Pioquinto, Cinthia Campos, Nadine Kolo, Marilyn Bueno, and Michael Duong. The awards to Campos, Kolo, Bueno and Duong are named in honor of Dr. James M. Rosser, Dr. Carol Smallenburg, and Dr. Sidney Albert.
Jocelyn Acosta is pursuing an M.A. in anthropology with a focus on Mesoamerican archaeology. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. and teach and continue her research. One of three children, raised by a single mother, Ms. Acosta is the first in her family to attend college. Her community service at the Central American Resources Center and extracurricular activities such as at the Autry Museum of the American West, work as a graduate assistant, and 2016-17 president of the Society for the Advancement of Mesoamerica Studies, reflect both her interests of supporting her community and her professional goals. She has earned a number of awards including several scholarships, travel grants and the Future History Maker award, from Hispanas Organized for Political Action (HOPE) in 2015.
Mahsa Tayer Farahani earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Engineering from Azad University of Qazvin, Iran, which is a well-known in computer science development and robotics. She is pursuing her M.S. in Information Systems. Her current area of interests is mainly networking such as routing and switching, ad-hoc wireless networks, and networking and data communication. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. She has faced many challenges as an international student, but remains undeterred in her desire to achieve her goal. She has submitted a paper for publication to MIS Quarterly, and made several presentations in 2017. In March of 2017 she was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.
Maria Beltran is pursuing an M.A. in Latin American Studies. She was born and raised in El Salvador during a very turbulent period in the 1980s and 90s. Ms. Beltran came to the United States when she was nineteen years old, knowing no English. For almost three years she attended classes Monday thru Friday from 5:45 in the morning until 9:00 at night, sometimes even on weekends. She began at a community college, eventually transferred and earned her degree in Health Care Administration from CSUN. After graduation in 2011 she joined and served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for five years as a health care manager. Beltran writes that through the Latin American Studies Graduate Program, she has developed an immense interest in migration history, socio-economic and socio-political immigration development, research, advocacy, and activism. Her advocacy and activism are clearly demonstrated by a class project she led that resulted in a three-year grant to open a Cal Fresh Operating Center and food pantry to provide support for food insecure students. Ms. Beltran has been an active member of the Cal State L.A. Latin American Studies Society and related activities off campus. She maintains a 4.0 GPA.
Pursuing an M.A. in Sociology, Ralph Pioquinto writes that “In order to avoid being ostracized by my peers while growing up, I had to study secretly because it was “not cool” to study…” After earning his M.A. in the spring of 2018 he plans to earn a second master’s in statistics before pursuing a social science Ph.D. Coming from an interracial ethnic background consisting of Native American, Latino, and Pacific Islander, Pioquinto writes: “I have come to better appreciate [the] educational and income inequalities in minority populations. The challenging socioeconomic environment in which I grew up in [has] served to fortify my internal resolve to keep striving for the highest level of education I can attain, and use such position of influence to potentially create new, useful knowledge that can benefit others [like myself].” Since 2012 Mr. Pioquinto has been the logistics coordinator for the San Gabriel Mission Christian Service Center helping to coordinate, organize, and transport non-perishable food items to various civic organizations in order to aid the homeless population and low income individuals in the Los Angeles area. He is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. In 2015 he received the Christian Service Outstanding Service Award for Community Service.
The recipient of the James M. Rosser Emeriti Association Fellowship for Academic Excellence is Cinthia Campos who is pursuing an M.A. in Anthropology. Ms.Campos is a first-generation college student born to Mexican immigrant parents, raised in Inglewood. Growing up she would spend a quarter of each year on her grandparents’ farm in Mexico and attended a Spanish only elementary school until the fourth grade. She began college at CSU Monterey Bay as a premed student, but soon realized that this was not her passion. She writes that after taking several courses “She changed her major and …was enthralled with anthropology, and my GPA reflected it.” She received her B.A. in Anthropology with “Distinction” and presented her undergraduate thesis on ritual sacrifice in ancient Mesoamerica at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Chicago. Her performance in Anth 454L in the M.A. program gained her an invitation to participate in the Dr. Jim Brady’s very competitive Sacred Landscape Archaeological Project in Belize (SLAP). The work she did in Belize resulted in two laboratory analysis projects. With the support of a Travel Grant, Campos presented the results of both interdisciplinary projects as posters at the 81st Annual SAA meeting April 2016. Supported by a grant from the American Institute of Archaeology- Orange County Society (AIA-OCS), Campos spent three months surveying the regions surrounding Tzintzuntzán, the ancient Tarascan ceremonial site. She registered 26 cave sites, most displaying evidence of pre-Colombian use. This was notable because only two had been reported previously. The amount of data she gathered far exceeded the scope of a master’s thesis and will form the basis of her doctoral dissertation. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including recognition as an Extraordinary Women Leader in Speleology 2017 by Extraordinary Women Leaders in Speleology.
The 2017-18 Carol Smallenburg Emeriti Association Fellowship for Academic Excellence is awarded to Nadine Kolo (picture not available) whose educational goal is to obtain a PsyD in School Psychology. She is currently working on her master’s degree in counseling, option in school psychology and will soon be a full-time school psychologist intern. Two experiences, among others, influenced both her career interests and her educational goals. As a young child an illness in her family brought her into to close and frequent contact with health care providers. That experience influenced her to want to support children and families facing difficult situations, which is part of the day-to-day workings of a school psychologist. Years later, she worked as an in-home behavior therapist. This experience redoubled her desire for working with children with disabilities and supporting families through the difficulties they face at home. Ms. Kolo credits her experience at Cal State L.A. with broadening her horizons and her desire to obtain a doctoral degree. She is active in the Cal State L.A. School Psychology Student Association and has served as a youth leader for several organizations. She was as honor student for the 2015-16 school year. Her advisor writes, “I consider Nadine to be one of my top students in our graduate program.”
The Sidney Albert Emeriti Association Fellowship for Academic Excellence for 2017-18 is awarded to Marilyn Bueno who is pursuing her M.A. in Anthropology with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in the same field. She writes that “…while working in Dr. James Brady’s Sacred Landscape Archaeological Project in Belize (SLAP) in 2014 I gained the experience I could not have attained in the classroom. In the field, I conducted surveys, helped to map the site, and dug pits to uncover the mysteries below the jungle surface. In the laboratory, I analyzed artifacts and helped process more than 10,000 ceramic sherds recovered from the site. I was away from home for three weeks and the heat index was over 110° everyday, but it was the greatest experience of my life,” (emphasis added). Her positive and impactful experience speaking at a local high school about her experience led her to volunteer with 826LA, a non-profit organization that works with students of various ages to promote growth through education. Ms. Bueno has served as the president and for two terms as Treasurer of the Society for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies at Cal State Los Angeles. She has received numerous awards including travel grants to professional meetings, the Morales Family Endowed Scholarship, a Graduate Equity Fellowship and the Golden Eagle Award of Excellence.
A gift from the family of Dr. Edward Nelson, emeriti professor of finance, made possible the 2017-18 Dr. Edward Nelson Memorial Fellowship which is awarded to Michael Duong (picture not available) who is pursuing an M.S. in Finance. Mr. Duong was raised by a single mother who he credits with making him all that he is: “…my goal and aspirations … are to appreciate and embody who she is to me. I will be the best student, employee, friend, and son to the people who I love and find dear to me. Because my mother made the decision … to live not only for herself but for her family and children; I have done the same.” This commitment is reflected in Mr. Duong’s many years of volunteer work with AIDS Walk (2007-2013), Food Bank Drives (2011-2013), March of Dimes (2007-2013) Lupus Walk (2013, 2014) and Breast Cancer Walk (2007-2014). His supervisor at the Department of Public Health, Office of the Public Guardian, writes that Mr. Duong is “…a leader in the unit, is good at problem solving and thinking outside the box, and his work is exemplary.
Emeriti Association Endowed Scholarships and Fellowship
The 2017-18 David Cameron Fisher Memorial Scholarship/Fellowship in Biological Science is awarded to Kathlyn Franco who will earn her M.A. in Environmental Studies. Her passion and commitment to her field of study is characterized by the following in her personal statement: “I stood in the middle of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Forest Ecology Research Plot, surrounded by temperate forest flora. I looked down at my hands soaked in rat urine and realized I wanted to protect wildlife.” Raised in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles, she had a life changing experience at UC Santa Cruz while interning for a research project studying small mammal ecology: “Since that experience, I have been irrevocably driven to pursue as many opportunities as I can to broaden my scientific scope.” Some of those opportunities include: Serving as an intern for a small mammal project, eventually becoming a trainer and leading groups, serving as a teaching assistant for an Environmental Ecology class, working with a professor doing plant pathology research and working every three months for Younger Lagoon Reserve doing small mammal surveys on coastal population. Two years ago Ms. Franco learned how to build wetlands for amphibians. After having successfully created a suitable habitat for the endangered California red-legged frog (CRLF) she was convinced that constructing and restoring wetlands is the best way to rebound declining amphibian populations. This experience gave her direction and purpose in the conservation field and it led to her applying to graduate school. (Since this experience, she has built 25 wetlands and designed 14.) Ms. Franco has received numerous awards recognizing her contributions and supporting her work. The Executive Director of Save the Frogs writes that Kathlyn “… has done such an outstanding job that she is now the SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator, and is fully in charge of our wetland program. Kathlyn has created 25 wetlands and plans to build 17 more this summer.”
The Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship for a student in counseling for 2017-18 is awarded to Tuong Tran. Mr. Tran is a graduate student in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis in Higher Education and Career Counseling. As a low income first generation college student from Viet Nam, he knows the many challenges that face students as they enter and negotiate the higher education system. From his own experience, he knows that these challenges include dealing with family and the workplace while going to college. In high school, he volunteered as an English translator for Vietnamese students who needed assistance, was a T.A. for his ESL classes and also translated for the parents of students. In all of these efforts he attempted to help students and parents better understand the American educational system and the requirements that needed to be met and why. He continued to be active in helping students in similar ways while attending Pasadena City College and after he transferred to Cal State Los Angeles. Since entering the graduate program he has been trained as a peer health advocate and works with youth in the community, is the diversity chair for Students United to Reach Goals in Educations (SURGE) and is an intern at the Cal State L.A. Erika Glazer Dreamer Resource Center. He is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society
Dea Flores Zuniga, working toward her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, is the 2017-18, and first ever, recipient of the Neda Fabris Mechanical Engineering Scholarship. One of her goals after earning her degree is to become an engineer for the City of Los Angeles. Despite some significant challenges, Ms. Zuniga remembers leading “… a rather uncomplicated childhood in large part thanks to my parents who worked hard to make life as easy as possible for my brother and me. They pushed me to work hard in school and celebrated my academic accomplishments.” The challenges confronting her became more daunting toward the end of high school as she prepared to apply to colleges and during her first year at Cal State L.A. Since that time circumstances changed, such, that she has been able to pursue her studies and related activities with few encumbrances. Ms. Zuniga is the treasurer for the Physics and Astronomy Club where she works to make physics more fun. She is also involved in a student project sponsored by The American Society of Civil Engineers called Concrete Canoe where students design, build, and race a concrete canoe. She has been awarded a number of scholarships including the Los Angeles DWP Alex Radin Scholarship.
Clara Lauw, pursuing a B.S. in Public Health, is the 2017-18, and first ever Vicente Zapata Scholarship recipient. A medical experience as a child was a major influence in Ms. Lauw’s goal of pursuing a nursing degree and becoming a nurse practitioner after completing her degree in public health. She would also like to teach nursing students at some point to be able to encourage and inspire students in pursuit of their educational and professional goals. A professor writes that in two of the most difficult pre-nursing courses he teaches Ms. Lauw “…contributed greatly to this course and was always willing to answer and ask well thought out and intelligent questions… . A determined student, team player and a patient teacher are just some of the qualities that come to mind as I write this letter of recommendation. Overall, I would rank Clara in the top 1 percentile of all students I have taught here at Cal State LA.” Ms. Lauw has provided service through the Educational Participation in Communities Program (EPIC), and volunteered over 200 hours at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.
The 2017-18 Dr. Leonard Mathy Fellowship in Economics is awarded to Hazina Cain-Houston who is earning her M.A. in Economics. Interested in earning her undergraduate degree in some area of international business, Ms. Houston took classes in virtually every area in the business school while at the University of Alabama looking for her niche. During a term of exploration, she took two courses, computer-based economics and econometrics, that finally helped her find which facet of economics she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to. These courses introduced her to the concepts of using mathematics to predict seemingly qualitative outcomes, as well as how to create statistical models and graphs in widely-used professional software. She writes about how exhilarating it was to “…finally discovering exactly what one wants to do in life…” Motivated by a strong interest in being able to apply knowledge, Ms. Cain-Houston chose Cal State L.A. to pursue her M.A. She feels that every day at Cal State L.A. she comes closer to reaching her goal due to the resources and opportunities available on campus and in the community. For her thesis, she plans to study the financial value of foreign language acquisition melding her desire to work in the international arena and her interest in languages. One of her professor’s writes that she “…is a brilliant, diligent and motivated student. Her academic strengths include having excellent data analytical skills, good oral communication skills as well as strong intellectual curiosity.” Ms. Cain-Houston serves as a writing consultant in the Cal State L.A. Graduate Resource Center, has extensive community service and has earned numerous honors and awards including a Presidential Scholarship at the University of Alabama and an Eli Lilly & Co National Achievement Scholarship.
Special thanks to the following members of the Emeriti Association who reviewed applications and selected the award recipients: Alan Muchlinski, Barbara Sinclair, Carl Selkin, Janet Fisher Hoult, Jerry Beer, Joe Casanova, John Cleman, Jose Galvan, Martin Huld.