L.A. county public health lab director is keynote speaker at Cal State L.A.’s 54th annual Honors Convocation

Nicole Green

Thousands of high-achieving students receive honors

Nicole Green, laboratory director for the Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory, returned to campus Friday to deliver the keynote speech at Cal State L.A.’s 54th annual Honors Convocation.

The event acknowledges the stellar academic achievements of thousands of University students.

“It is truly a pleasure to be here this evening to honor your achievements and commitment to academic excellence, and I would like to thank President Covino, the faculty, and the campus events committee for extending such a warm welcome and invitation to be your keynote speaker for this awards ceremony,” Green said. 

The Honors Convocation recognizes students whose academic records place them in the top fifth percentile of their peers. Dean’s List honorees, recipients of scholarships and grants, incoming freshmen with high grade point averages, and general education honors program participants were also acknowledged.

Green shared that Friday’s event was very special to her because she did not attend the Honors Convocation or even her graduation ceremony here at Cal State LA. when she was a student.

“You see, I was always busy trying to make up for lost time, working in the lab, teaching, and hoping to make important discoveries to redeem myself,” Green said. “I worked on molecular biology and protein research, vaccine development, sequenced genomes, and published many papers.”

Despite initially dropping out of school to work a full-time job, Green eventually found her way back to college and achieved her bachelor’s degree with honors in biology and a minor in microbiology from Cal State L.A. She then went on to earn a doctorate in microbiology from UC Davis. She completed a Lab Aspire fellowship through the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health-Microbial Diseases Laboratory, where she trained in public health and clinical microbiology.

“Cal State L.A. was the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she said. “I was able to find a supportive and encouraging environment for learning, able to take classes in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, and microbiology that fascinated me, and most importantly I had professors who truly believed in my abilities which made all the difference.”

Green is a board-certified medical microbiologist, medical technologist and public health microbiologist. She serves as the representative at large for the California Assn. of Public Health Laboratory Directors and is the secretary-elect for Southern California American Society for Microbiology. In 2014, Green was given the Public Health Excellence award by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for her scientific contributions and advancement of the public health laboratory.

Photo: Nicole Green speaking during the 54th Honors Convocation at Cal State L.A. (Credit: Cal State L.A.)

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Cal State L.A. is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves over 24,000 active students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State L.A. has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

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