2011 Emeriti Fellows

Emeriti Fellowships to be awarded
at the Fall 2011 Emeriti Luncheon

Group Photo

Seated (l. to r.) fellowship recipients: Franshen DiGiovann, Owynn Lancaster, Ashley Kramer, Paulo Medina. Standing (l. to r.) fellowship recipients: Helen Huynh, Mario Giron-Abrego, Dr. William Taylor, President, Emeriti Association, Dr. Vicente Zapata, Fellowship Committee Chair, Emeriti Association, fellowship recipient Elizabeth Erin Crossman.

The Emeriti Fellowship Fund Committee recommended awarding fellowships to seven graduate students for 2011-12. There are four awards for Emeriti Fellowships, two for the Gormly Fellowship and an award for the Matson Fellowship. Unfortunately, there were no qualified applicants for the Lloyd, Houk or Fisher awards. In the future, we hope that there will be candidates who will be able to receive these awards.

One of the Emeriti Association Awards is designated as the Smallenburg Family Award in honor of their generous financial contributions to the Emeriti Association Fellowships. The recipient of this award is Owynn Lancaster (Anthropology). The other Emeriti Association Awards will be given to Elizabeth Erin Crossman (Communication Studies), Ashley Kramer (English), and DiGiovanni Fanshen (Master of Fine Arts). The recipient of the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship for students in Counselor Education is Helen Huynh . Mario Giron-Abrego and Paulo Medina have been awarded Mary Gormly Memorial Fellowships.

Emeriti Fellowship recipient (Smallenburg Family Award) Owynn Lancaster, is a graduate of the Early Entrance Program at CSULA. He completed his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the age of 18 then took a few years off to teach. He worked as a substitute teacher in Glendale and taught Judo part time at CSULA before returning to continue his studies in Linguistic Anthropology with the goal of becoming a university professor. Owynn served as a teaching assistant in the Anthropology department for courses such as "Magic, Witchcraft and Religion" and has given lectures on linguistic analysis. He noted that his recent marriage into a Bangladeshi family has given him additional insights into his instructional repertoire.

After completing her M.F.A., Emeriti Fellowship recipient Elizabeth Erin Crossman enrolled in the M.A. program in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Interpersonal Communication. She is planning to pursue a teaching career and undertook the second degree so that she would be qualified to teach in a variety of academic programs. Currently, she is a teaching assistant for COMM 150. Erin, who was enrolled in special education programs as a child, has overcome childhood disabilities. She achieved a 4.0 GPA by graduation from high school and, as a graduate student, has received special recognition at CSULA Honors Convocations. Actively involved in church mission work, she has traveled to Israel , China and throughout the US . She also has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

An Emeriti Fellowship recipient, Ashley Kramer's goal is to become a university professor of English literature focusing on 18 th century British literature and critical theory with additional emphasis on film studies. She received her B.A. from the University of Southern California 's School of Cinema-Television and spent seven years working in the film industry where she began tutoring between jobs. The tutoring was more satisfying than the film work, so Ashley entered the master's program in English as CSULA where she is a teaching assistant and a WPE consultant for the English department. Recently, she presented her first paper "Collaborative Web Publishing: Individual Voices within a Collective" at the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Fanshen DiGiovanni's goal is to work as a professional actor in film, TV and theatre and to raise the standards and visibility of TV, film and theatre actors of color. Receiving an Emeriti Fellowship will provide her with assistance as she continues to develop her acting skills and pursue her studies for an M.F.A. A co-founder of the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival , she found a way to meld her art and her social justice work. Fanshen has been a "revolutionary" all her life. Born of an interracial marriage, she has a commitment to advocate for the disenfranchised and has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa . She earned an M.A. in TESOL and has taught English as a Second Language in the South Bronx and in Los Angeles . While in high school, she became the first female tackle football player in Massachusetts .

The recipient of the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship in Counseling is Helen Huynh whose goal is to become a K-12 school psychologist. Currently, she works with K-8 grade teachers to provide interventions for students identified as having some risk of school failure. She has worked as a tutor and peer counselor and has involved herself in other activities to further enrich her ability to work with students. Her goal is to be able to help them balance their academic, social/emotional and mental worlds by being their advocate. In high school, Helen was president of the Youth United for Community Action volunteer and community service organization. She continues that work as supervisor of the annual Youth Olympics.

The fellowship established in the memory of Mary Gormly , an anthropologist and Cal State LA social sciences librarian whose interests were centered on the arts and ethnography of Native American populations, was awarded for the first time last year. This year, two Anthropology majors, Mario Giron-Abrego and Paulo Medina are the award recipients.

Mario Giron-Abrego's area of concentration is Mayan archaeology and his ultimate goal is to become a university professor. Growing up in Guatemala , he spent weekends with his grandfather at the Maya ruins of Kaminaljuyu observing archaeological excavations which was the beginning of his fascination with hieroglyphs. He has focused on the study of Maya cave archeology and has had extensive fieldwork experience excavating in the Mojave Desert and in Utah as well as in Belize where he analyzed thousands of ceramic fragments recovered from Midnight Terror Cave. Mario has presented the results of his research, including an analysis of one of his ceramic discoveries "Epigraphy and Iconography of a Polychrome Vase Found at Midnight Terror Cave" and "Ritualized Gladiatorial Contests in Classic Maya Ceramic Art" at Society for American Archaeology meetings

Also born in Guatemala , Paulo Medina came to the U.S. at the age of three. He graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Anthropology and Global Studies. At Cal State LA, he was awarded a Cotsen Research Fellowship which provided the means for him to join the University of Idaho 's El Mirador field project. This enabled him to work alongside his Guatemalan uncle and grandfather who had worked at the site of El Mirador for over 60 years. Paulo was the third generation of the family working at the site, but the only one who was trained as an archaeologist. His excavation report will be published in Spanish as part of the investigation series for the Guatemalan government. His current research is related to the role of warfare during the early development of lowland Maya society. He spent the summer of 2011 at El Mirador conducting research on architecture that infers warfare.