2012 Emeriti Fellows

Emeriti Fellowships awarded
at the Fall 2012 Emeriti Luncheon

Group Photo

(L. to R.) fellowship recipients Karla Ruiz, Jessica Colston, Queeny Lapena, fellowhip presenter Dr. Robert Land, fellowship recipients Robert Redfield, Michael Nitzami, Emeriti Fellowship Fund Chair Dr. Vicente Zapata, fellowship recipients Claudia Catota, Aeden Sutherlin, Carrie Glenn, Oriana McGee, Cynthia Santos-DeCure, Kelly Grandjean, Emeriti Association President Dr. William Taylor.

The Emeriti Fellowship Fund Committee recommended awarding 13 graduate fellowships for 2012-13. Seven Emeriti Fellowships were awarded. Awards were also made for the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship in Counseling, the William E. Lloyd Memorial Fellowship (one of which was awarded in the spring), the John Houk Fellowship, the Mary Gormly Fellowship, and the David Cameron Fisher Memorial Fellowship. This year, no undergraduates qualified for the Fisher award, so the criteria were changed to allow the recipient to be a graduate student in biology.

Recipients of Emeriti Fellowships are David Metz (Education) (Smallenburg Family Emeriti Fellowship), Kelly Grandjean (Television, Film, and Theatre), Queeny Lapeña (Anthropology, Archaeology Option), Kaitlin Brown (Anthropology, Archaeology Option), Cynthia Santos-DeCure (Television, Film, and Theatre), Oriana McGee (Nutritional Science), and Jessica Colston (Anthropology, Archaeology Option). The recipient of the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship award is Karla Ruiz (Early Childhood/Primary Education). Robert Redfield (Political Science) and Carrie Glenn (History) are the recipients of the William Lloyd Memorial Fellowship. Aeden Sutherlin (History) will receive the John L. Houk Memorial Fellowship and Claudia Catota (Latin American Studies) will be awarded the Mary Gormly Memorial Fellowship. Katya Erkebaeva (Environmental Science) is the recipient of the fellowship established in the memory of David Cameron Fisher, son of Janet Fisher-Hoult.

David Metz, recipient of the Emeriti Smallenburg Family Fellowship, is pursuing a Teaching Credential and a Master of Arts in education. His goal is to become an English teacher in a public school, drawing upon his background in theater. His involvement in theater led him to Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama and to a life of professional acting. In Los Angeles, he became involved in an outreach program called Voices in Harmony, which pairs at-risk teens with professional actor mentors. He took a job as a theater arts specialist at Echo Horizon School in Culver City, where he created units that taught theater through the craft of improvisational comedy. This led him to enroll at Cal State L.A. and to become a fellow with the Los Angeles Writing Project.

Kelly Grandjean is completing her first year of a three-year MFA program that combines theater, television, and film disciplines. She has worked in both educational and commercial theater. During winter 2012, Kelly had a leading role at Cal State L.A. in The American Pilot . The character was written to be played by a man, so Kelly had to research and create an original character approach for her performance. She received a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan nomination for acting in that role. Her career objective is to become a teacher.

Another Emeriti Fellowship recipient, Cynthia Santos-DeCure, is also pursuing an MFA. Her goal is to become a professor of theater and film, as well as a mentor for other students. As a wife, a mother, and a Latina, she has met the challenges and become a seasoned industry veteran, even serving as a Screen Actors Guild board member. Her extensive community involvement includes volunteering with the East L.A. Repertory Company, teaching acting and voice to minority actors and working with elementary and middle schools teaching Shakespeare and acting.

Queeny Lapeña, Jessica Colston, and Kaitlin Brown are all students of anthropology who plan on pursuing doctoral degrees. Queeny, an immigrant from the Philippines with her family in 2002, spoke very little English when she arrived, yet she graduated cum laude in anthropology from Cal State L.A. in 2011 and has been admitted to the anthropology graduate program. She plans to teach at the college level. She has been involved in various research projects, and is currently analyzing Middle Holocene shell artifacts and shell fish remains from San Nicolas Island . She will present the results at the Great Basin Archaeological Conference. Kaitlin also plans to teach at the college level and has worked as a seasonal archaeologist with the California State Parks, recently becoming archaeological project leader. She led a team in the recovery of the first rail yard in L.A. Her current research compares the chemical composition of asphaltum from artifacts recovered from San Nicolas Island to samples from modern seeps in Southern California. Her database collection was presented at a recent Academy of Sciences conference. Jessica, a fifth generation Californian, has as her goal to become a professional archaeologist working as a principal investigator. She has been involved in Cal State L.A.'s formation of a cultural resource management firm to showcase the cohorts of the department. She has worked in the private sector and with government agencies in the interior of Alaska, the San Francisco Presidio, and the Modoc National Forest.

Oriana McGee's journey to become a registered Dietician, earn an M.S. in nutritional science, and obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology began as she completed a culinary degree at London 's Leiths School of Food and Wine. Her journey continued while she cared for her ill father, volunteering at a local community clinic where she witnessed the effects of poverty and malnourishment. She plans to explore the connections between eating disorders, mental illness, neurobiology, addiction, post-traumatic stress, and socioeconomic status to see how they can compound health-related issues.

Robert Redfield and Carrie Glenn are the recipients of the William E. Lloyd Memorial Fellowship. Carrie will be pursuing a doctoral program in early American history, with a focus on Franco-American Atlantic relations in the 18th century. She has been a graduate assistant for the History Department, founded the History Writing Center, is editor-in-chief for the department's student journal, and is president of the Eta Xi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, an international honor society in history. Robert has a declared concentration in American government, but his academic interests include public policy, public administration, and governance at the local level. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he is active in issues affecting student veterans on campus as well as being involved in the Political Science Association and president of the Pi Sigma Alpha scholastic honor society, which will host an event in conjunction with the Pat Brown Institute's annual policy conference.

As a single mother raising her son, a niece, and a nephew, Aeden Sutherlin, recipient of the John L. Houk Memorial Fellowship, has focused on history as it "explains the world" its intricacies and contradictions, and is helping them to acquire a greater understanding of the world they live in. Her studies at Cal State L.A. are preparing her to achieve her ambition to "make the world a better place for the economically and academically challenged" and to become a teacher in socioeconomically challenged areas and schools.

Claudia Catota, a student of Latin American Studies who immigrated to the United States with her family to escape the civil war in El Salvador, is the recipient of the Gormly Fellowship. After earning a law degree, she worked as a legal intern in Washington, D.C. at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), and she continues to work at El Rescate as a volunteer attorney in immigration services. Her desire to be an activist scholar and intertwine her academic work with her community work has resulted in a change of her academic goals, now to obtain a Ph.D. and study issues of gender and labor in Central America.

Karla Ruiz , an immigrant from Nicaragua when she was 13, delayed going to college to devote herself to caring for her children. She became involved in school parent groups and decided to learn more about child development, enrolling in a community college. She also volunteered with Children's Hospital in Long Beach and the Edelman Children's Court. Wanting to provide her children with a good role model for getting an education, she transferred to Cal State L.A. and completed her B.A. in child development with a minor in psychology and a certificate in child maltreatment. Now she will become a teacher, providing support, counseling, and inspiration to her students.

Katya Erkebaeva, the recipient of the David Cameron Fisher Memorial Fellowship, was a child when her family emigrated from Kazakhstan . She completed her undergraduate degree in environmental science and policy at CSU Long Beach, where she became interested in how native organisms are impacted by human actions and developed her desire to learn more about ecosystem functions. Her future goals include becoming a wildlife manager or field biologist, and she is focused on completing her master's degree. However, she plans to continue her studies for a Ph.D. in ecology and conservation biology.

The 2012-13 Fellowship recipients were recognized at the Fall Luncheon on October 12, 2012