News Release| CSULA, Cal State L.A.; Commencement; Los Angeles; Early Entrance Program

Note to editors and news directors:  For a group photo of the EEP grads, go to /sites/default/files/univ/ppa/SC/gradnews/

23 Early Entrance students set to exit Cal State L.A. with bachelor’s degrees

Youngest, 16, off to Yale for biochemistry Ph.D.;
others look to be lawyers, engineers, doctors, jet pilot

Los Angeles, CA – Having started college early, 23 students ranging from 16-21 years old will receive their baccalaureate degrees at Cal State L.A. Friday-Saturday, June 6 and 7

The exceptional students—most of them still teenagers—attended Cal State L.A. through its Early Entrance Program (EEP). The program admits extraordinarily gifted youngsters—some as young as 11—directly into college and provides them with monitored evaluation, counseling, and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers.

Here is EEP’s Class of 2008:

Kevork Abrahamian (Pasadena), 19, biology major. Abrahamian, who conducted research on plasma lipo proteins in Professor Ray Garcia’s lab at Cal State L.A., plans to apply to medical school to pursue his goal of becoming a physician. He is involved with the CSULA Associated Students, Inc. student government.

Alezandra Brady-Villagran (Arcadia), 20, political science major.  Brady-Villagran, whose interest is in global politics, will apply to graduate school this fall. She mentored at-risk high school students through the University’s PepsiCo Leadership Center; facilitated a workshop at the International Children’s Art Foundation 2007 World Children’s Festival; and directed the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization committee at the American Pacific Model United Nations Conference. She volunteered at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC, after Hurricane Katrina and after the South Asia tsunami.

Leslie Cain (Los Angeles), 18, philosophy major. With aspirations to become a musician or art dealer, Cain will attend the Manhattan School of Music in the fall. An award-winning pianist, she was also accepted to Oberlin Conservatory of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She served as editor of the Philosophy Club, participated in the CSULA Jazz Tap Corps, and was recognized as an “Outstanding Undergraduate in Philosophy” by the CSULA College of Arts and Letters.

Jennifer Chau (Hacienda Heights), 20, biology major. Chau, who volunteered at Arcadia Methodist Hospital and worked as a research intern at the City of Hope, plans to apply to dentistry school. Chau served as community service committee chair for the Future Dentist Club, president and public relations/awareness director of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and secretary of Cal State L.A.’s Water Polo Club.

Jennifer Chemel (Woodland Hills), 19, economics; minors in mathematics and political science. Chemel will apply to law school to pursue her goal of becoming a lawyer. A member of Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honors society), she served as president of the Pre-Law Society; treasurer and external vice president for General Education Honors Club; and College of Business and Economics representative, secretary/treasurer, chief justice and vice president of academic governance for the Associated Students, Inc.

Samantha Hsu (Arcadia/Monrovia), 20, electrical engineering major. Hsu plans to apply to law school to become a lawyer. Involved with the Associated Students, Inc., she has been a member of the CSULA chapter of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, CSULA Pre-Law Society, EEP Club, and Eta Kappa Nu (honor society for electrical engineering and computer science).

Amanda Jancu (Monrovia), 19, English major; physics minor. Jancu, whose goal is to become a lawyer, will attend the UC Hastings College of the Law this fall. She was also accepted to Loyola Law School. A recipient of the General Education Honors Scholarship, she was a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society, CSULA Pre-Law Society, EEP Club, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Shari Kensley (Los Angeles), 20, communication studies major. Kensley plans to attend Pepperdine University to pursue a graduate degree. Her goal is to start and run her own non-profit organization that works to educate the public at a grassroots level on relevant public policy issues. She has served as vice president of administration for the Associated Students, Inc., student representative for the Phi Kappa Phi Board, alumni relations representative for the Delta Zeta Sorority, and vice president for the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society.

Danielle Krasner (Malibu), 16, biochemistry major. Krasner will attend Yale University this fall to pursue her goal of becoming a research scientist. Admitted to Yale Ph.D. program in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, she was also accepted to Ph.D. programs at University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California and University of California, Davis. Krasner, a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key Honor Societies, was also involved with the American Medical Student Association, Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, and EEP Club.

Jaimisyn Kopilec (Glendora), 20, biology major. Kopilec, who volunteered at the Los Angeles County-USC County Hospital, is applying to medical school. A member of the American Medical Student Association, she is a recipient of a Service Award and a Sisterhood Award from the Delta Zeta Sorority.

Christopher Lam (Monterey Park), 20, biochemistry major. Lam, who volunteered at the Garfield Medical Center and the Los Angeles County-USC County Hospital, plans to apply to medical school. He helped provide health care services to poor rural farmers in a missionary trip to China, and he volunteered at a Tijuana Health Fair organized by the CSULA Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine. Also, he served as president of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club and conducted research under the direction of CSULA Professor Howard Xu in gene cloning and protein expression/isolation.

Sonia Levitin (Laguna Niguel), 18, English major; finance minor. Levitin plans to apply to law school this fall to pursue her goal of becoming a lawyer. She was a member of the Campus Recycling Committee and SciVi! scientific visualizations project team. She also served as vice president of CSULA Mock Trial Club.

Alegra Lustig (Pasadena), 19, liberal studies major. With interest in photography, Lustig is planning to apply to graduate schools at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; University of Westminster, England; London College of Communication; UC Berkeley School of Journalism; and Spéos (Paris Photographic Institute). She has participated in Cal State L.A.’s Fashion Show organized by the Fashion Association of Design Student.

Jmar Montgomery (Fontana), 19, mechanical engineering major. After graduation, Montgomery plans to pursue a career as a fighter pilot. He has been a member of Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering honor society); National Society of Black Engineers; Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology Student Council; Black Student Association; and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Cory “Frosty” O’Brien (Highland Park), 18, English major. O’Brien, who will apply to graduate school this fall, plans to pursue a career as a writer or inventor. Working part-time as an English tutor, he also participated in intercollegiate debate tournaments. He was a member of Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Edwin Peng  (Monterey Park), 18, mechanical engineering major. Peng, who will attend North Carolina State University, plans to work as a professional engineer. He served as president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a webmaster for the General Education Honors Club, and a representative-at-large for the Associated Students, Inc. He was a member of the Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering honor society) and Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honor society).

Spencer Perreault (Seal Beach), 17, computer science major. Perreault, who will be attending Cornell University this fall, was also accepted to graduate schools at Yale University, Georgia Tech and USC. A member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, he served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery. He was recently honored as the “Outstanding Graduating Senior” by CSULA’s Computer Science department. With a desire to become a computer game developer, he was working as a Microsoft Student Partner—a program that helps students develop real-world skills to succeed in future careers in technology and/or marketing.

E. Travis Rust (Los Angeles), 19, psychology major. Rust plans to apply to graduate school to pursue his goal of becoming a professor. A member of the CSULA EEP Club, he worked part-time on campus as a teacher’s aide in the Department of Psychology.

Claire Schulkey (Glendale), 21, applied mathematics major. Schulkey will be attending Washington University this fall to pursue her goal of becoming a research scientist. She was also accepted to the graduate program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A recipient of the Charles Clark scholarship, she is a member of Beta Beta Beta (biology honor society), CSULA Math Club, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Marc Shutman (Monrovia), 18, philosophy major. Shutman, who has participated in intercollegiate debate tournaments and worked part-time in the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, plans to apply to law school and become a lawyer. He is trained in martial arts.

Natasha Spottiswoode (Beverly Hills), 18, biology major. Spottiswoode plans to take year off before applying to Cornell University or UC Davis to pursue a career as a veterinarian. She has served as social chair and vice president of the EEP Club, and president for the Humanitarians On Campus. She has also volunteered at the Chester Zoo in England and for the Jatun Sacha conservation organization in Ecuador.

Michael Tecson (Baldwin Park), 19, anthropology major. A Deans List student, Tecson is a recipient of a Golden Eagle Award of Excellence. Having served as treasurer for Cal State L.A.’s Speleological Society, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in his respective field.

Adekumbi Williams (Los Angeles), 19, biochemistry major. Williams, who plans to apply to medical school, has been a volunteer at Cedars Sinai, American Red Cross Blood Mobile, the California Medical Center, and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. He served as historian, president and librarian of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, web chair for the General Education Honors Club, and coordinator of a Terrific and Scientific Event at Cal State L.A. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Medical Student Association.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.