Five Cal State L.A. graduate students named Casanova Scholars

The prestigious award helps students succeed in doctoral programs

2014 Casanova Scholars

Los Angeles--Five Cal State L.A. graduate students have been selected for the 2014-15 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar awards, which are granted each year to support the doctoral aspirations of students across the 23-campus California State University system.

The Cal State L.A. students are focusing on doctoral studies including anthropology, immunology and gender and sexuality. Each scholar receives a $3,000 award to help fund activities such as traveling to universities, taking graduate exams and attending professional conferences.

Since 1998, more than 180 students from Cal State L.A. have been selected for the prestigious award.

The Cal State L.A. Casanova Scholars are:

Erik Blanco. He is a sociology major interested in health disparities pertaining to race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. Currently, he is analyzing the effects of socioeconomic status on the health of different generations over a 34-year period. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology, gerontology, or public health. Ultimately, he would like to become a CSU professor specializing in health issues. He is a South Los Angeles resident.

Toni Gonzalez. She is an anthropology major interested in subterranean and cave ritual practices. Her thesis is titled “The Ritual Function of Chultuns in the Southern Maya Lowlands.” She is exploring Ph.D. programs to continue her research and further her understanding of the sacred landscape of the ancient Maya southern lowlands. Her ambition is to be a university professor, hopefully within the CSU system. She also wants to lead her own field school in the Maya region. She is a L.A.-Highland Park resident.

Katharine Henry.  She is an English major interested in researching in the fields of gender and sexuality, animal studies, film, and Victorian culture. Her thesis is titled “Disability in William Faulkner's Light in August.” She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in English. She would like to pursue a career that will allow her to teach and conduct research while writing novels and poetry. She is a Glendale resident.

Queeny Lapena. She is an anthropology major interested in reconstructing past human dietary practices to explore historic foraging behaviors and human-induced ecological changes. She has analyzed shellfish, fish, bird, and mammal remains from different archaeological sites in California, including San Nicolas Island, Point Mugu and China Lake. Her master’s thesis uses nutritional ecology to examine shellfish species found at an archaeological site on San Nicolas Island. She is an Alhambra resident.

Everardo Robles. He is a biology major interested in conducting research in immunology to learn about the relationship of pathogens and the human body. His thesis project deals, in part, with the genetic causes of the production of antimicrobial lipids in airways. He plans to obtain a Ph.D. in immunology and work in academia so that he can be engaged in research and teaching. Robles is a Los Angeles-90032 resident.

The following Cal State L.A. students received Honorable Mentions from the CSU for their doctoral pursuits: Mary Arrastia, Marbella Uriostegui, and Daniel Zamora.

The award honors the late Sally Casanova, who launched the program in 1989. She was a staff member with the CSU chancellor’s office during the 1960s. Casanova also served as associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at CSU Dominguez Hills from 1991 until her death in 1994. She was married to Joseph Casanova, a Cal State L.A. emeritus chemistry professor.

For more information, contact Karin E. Brown, interim dean for the Office of Graduate Studies at Cal State L.A., at (323) 343-3820.

Photo: Left to right: Queeny Lapena, Erik Blanco, Toni Gonzalez and Everardo Robles. (Photo credit: Cal State L.A.)

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