News Release| 2013 Commencement; Cal State L.A.


Early entrance graduates in
CSULA’s Class of 2013

EEP students range in age from
15-21 years old

Los Angeles, CA

Fourteen Early Entrance Program (EEP) students—most of them
still teenagers—will receive their baccalaureate degrees at Cal State
L.A.’s two-day Commencement ceremonies Friday-Saturday, June 14 and 15

Under the auspices of the University’s Honors College, EEP admits
extraordinarily gifted youngsters, some as young as 11, directly into
Cal State L.A. and provides them with monitored evaluation, counseling,
and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers.

Here is EEP’s Class of 2013, ranging from 15-21 years old (listed

Adrian Berliner (Culver City), 16, biochemistry major
and psychology minor. Berliner, who is a graduating cum laude, will be
conducting research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after graduating
from Cal State L.A. He plans to apply to a Ph.D. program in biochemistry
next fall. He described his goal as to work on discovering the
mechanisms by which life functions on a molecular level, and leveraging
this knowledge to benefit others. His current research project
investigates the interaction of Drp32 protein to understand why tumors
grow resistant and how they can be targeted. At CSULA, he served as
president of the EEP Senior Class, president of EEP Club, events chair
of the Music Appreciation Club, and member of the Chemistry and
Biochemistry Club.

Maggie Edge (Calabasas), 19, English major and a minor
in religious studies. A Dean’s List student,
Edge is planning to apply to
graduate school after achieving her bachelor’s degree from Cal State
L.A. this month. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in English
literature with the hope of teaching at the college level. Edge has
served as a tutor, proctor and mentor for EEP. She has also volunteered
for the Sally Ride Festival held on campus.

Timothy Jones (La Canada Flintridge), 17, mathematics
major. Jones, who plans to become a professor, has been admitted to the
Columbia University Ph.D. program in statistics with full funding this
coming fall. A Dean’s List student, Jones is graduating magna cum laude
and is a member of the CSULA Math Club. He has also conducted a math
research project and has volunteered at the Northern Trust Open.

Michael Martinez (Long Beach), 18, chemistry major.
Martinez, who will be graduating magna cum laude, has been admitted to
Scripps Research Institute Ph.D. program 
organic synthetic chemistry with
full funding this coming fall.
Martinez is a member of the CSULA
Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, EEP Club, G.E. Honors Club, SACNAS and
the American Chemical Society. Martinez’s accolades include the CSULA
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s Freshman in Chemistry Award,
the Rashad E. Rasouk Scholarship, and the Society for Advancement of
Chicanos and Native Americans in Science’s (SACNAS) Outstanding
Undergraduate Research Presentation Award. He is also a participant of
the Minority Access to Research Careers-Undergraduate Student Training
in Academic Research (MARC-U*STAR) Program at CSULA.

Rena Nakasaka (Downtown Los Angeles), 15, English major.
Nakasaka—the youngest graduating senior at Cal State L.A.—will be
receiving her bachelor’s degree in English with honors this spring.
Nakasaka was admitted to Cal State L.A. at the age of 12 through EEP.
She is an active member of the G.E. Honors Club, and has served as
secretary of the CSULA Speech and Debate Club. A Dean’s List student,
Nakasaka is also a member of CSULA’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter. In the
community, she has volunteered for the “Big Sunday” local service
organization, helping to build a middle school garden and donating food
and supplies to the homeless. After graduation, Nakasaka plans to spend
her summer traveling before pursuing her law degree. She has already
been accepted to several law schools with scholarships, but has not made
her final decision. (She is open to email interviews only.)

Chantal Nguyen (West Covina), 17, physics major and
mathematics minor.  Nguyen, who
has been accepted to UC Santa Barbara, Penn State and UC San Diego, will
be graduating magna cum laude this June. Her goal is to become an
astrophysics professor. 
Nguyen has conducted research at the
Spitzer Science Center and participated in the summer
research program at Caltech. A recipient of the Roland L. Carpenter Memorial
Scholarship, Nguyen is a member of the CSULA Physics & Astronomy Club
and the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She is also a
founding member and vice president of the CSULA chapter of Foundation of
International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), an organization that
helps raise money to provide medical supplies to families in developing

Hataipreuk Dawy Rkasnuam (Alhambra), 19, political
science major and economics minor. Rkasnuam, who is graduating magna cum
laude, plans to work with the federal government in improving national
social policy. This fall, he has been accepted to graduate programs at
the University of Maryland-College Park, Carnegie Mellon University, and
UCLA, among others. Rkasnuam is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor
society. He is actively involved with the Amnesty International and the
EEP Club at CSULA. He also volunteered at Park Elementary School and the
Alhambra Courthouse. 

Jacob Skinner (San Gabriel), 21, computer science major.
Skinner plans to start his own video game company and develop video
games after graduating from CSULA. A Dean’s List student, he is a member
of the award-winning computer science team who participated in the U.S.
Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.

Christopher Sorensen (Rancho Palos Verdes), 19, theatre
arts and dance major. Sorensen plans to find an internship in the
television or film industry after graduation. He also wants to more
actively audition for roles and continue to hone his acting, writing,
singing and directing skills through workshops and private training. His
immediate goal is to complete his recording album and post more
frequently on his YouTube music page. He has appeared in many CSULA
stage productions, including the most recent performance of “HAIR.” He
also has experience in stage managing and light board operation.
Sorensen is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor
societies. He received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Nation
Annual Writing Competition.  

Kathy Trang (Los Angeles), 20, psychology and
biology dual major. Trang, who is graduating cum laude, was selected for
the University’s Phi Kappa Phi Travel Award for the 2012-13 academic
year. Upon graduation, Trang will continue with her neurobiological
study of psychosexual differentiation and then apply to a doctorate
program in transcultural psychiatry for next fall. She is a member of
the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, EEP Club,
Toastmasters, Gender Queer Club, and Chinese Culture Club. She has
served as president of Tea & Sex (Prometheus Today), vice president of
Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children, and event
coordinator for the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. Her accolades
include William Hobson and Evelyn Troup Scholarship, UMass Medical
School Fellowship, finalist for the CSUPERB Glenn Nagel Award, and
second place for the 2012 Toastmasters Speech Competition. 

Caitlyn York (Pasadena), 20, history major. York, who
plans to pursue a career in academia or archival work, has been accepted
to graduate programs at San Francisco State and the University of
Vermont. She is graduating with cum laude honors. She is a member of the
G.E. Honors Club, EEP Club and the Phi Alpha Phi National History Honor
Society. York has served as a tutor and English instructor in the
University Writing Center for a period of three years. She also
volunteers as a classroom aide and production assistant at the
television station with the Pasadena Unified School District.

Jeffrey Zhang (Temple City), 20, accounting major.
 Zhang, who will be graduating magna cum laude, plans to work at one of
the top firms in the business industry after graduation. He has interned
at the Disney studio in Anaheim. Zhang has served as internal vice
president of Beta Alpha Psi, marketing director of the CSULA Accounting
Society and executive vice president of the National Society of
Collegiate Scholars.  


***Details on Madeline Monroy and Robert Mushkatblat were unavailable at
press time.

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