Emeriti Fellowships and Scholarships Awarded
at the Fall 2018 Emeriti Luncheon
Emeriti Association fellowships and scholarships were awarded during the annual Fall Luncheon of the Emeriti Association held on Friday, September 14, 2018 on campus. The guest speaker was Mr. Ralph Pioquinto, a 2017 fellowship recipient, who spoke about how the award helped him achieve his personal and professional goals. Thirteen awards were presented to graduate and undergraduate students, including six from the Emeriti Association fellowship fund—three of which are named in honor of Carol Smallenburg, Sidney Albert, and James Rosser—and seven endowed scholarships and fellowships that bear the name of the donor or a loved one in whose name they were established. After review of more than 200 applications by an ad hoc committee of emeriti faculty, the following 13 students were selected to receive emeriti fellowships for 2018-19.
Photography by Dr. John A. Kirchner, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Transportation
Emeriti Association Fellowship for Academic Excellence Awards:
Zaide Hernandez De La Cruz is pursuing an M.A. in psychology. After taking her first psychology class, she knew that it was the field in which she wanted to major. Learning about the discoveries and contributions made by psychologists to our understanding of human behavior captivated her and helped focus her interests in this field. Coming to the United States when she was 14 years old, learning English in high school, and witnessing and experiencing inequality have influenced both her personal and research interests. She states, “Studying psychology will grant me the opportunity to conduct research that can make a positive difference by shaping policy and educating individuals about issues such as racism, oppression, and discrimination.” Hernandez De La Cruz is a 2017 recipient of the Golden Eagle Award of Excellence. She has received several scholarships and is a member of Psi Chi, Golden Key, and Lambda Alpha National Anthropology honor societies. She is a research assistant in her department and plans to continue for her doctorate.
Escee Lopez was raised in the Philippines and, like the previous awardee, came to the United States when she was 14 years old. Because her family used all of its resources to come to the United States, every family member had to pitch in when they arrived to make ends meet. To improve her English, Lopez attended workshops and took advantage of every available opportunity. While attending CSU Fullerton, she became interested in anthropology, and more specifically, archaeology, for which she developed a passion. She is now working towards her M.A. in anthropology and plans to continue for her Ph.D. When she came to Cal State LA, she quickly joined the Coastal and Island Archaeology Research Laboratory, where she now helps run the day-to-day operation. She is involved in several research projects and has authored and co-authored papers presented at professional conferences. In September 2018, she will give a presentation at the International Conference for Archaeozoology in Ankara, Turkey. Lopez has received a number of awards, including the Golden Eagle Award of Excellence in 2017. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Lambda Alpha National Anthropology honor societies.
Joel Ramirez, pursuing an M.S. in exercise science, is the recipient of the James M. Rosser Emeriti Fellowship for Academic Excellence. His experience at Cal State LA has provided him the opportunity to see and appreciate both academic and clinical settings, which has prompted him to set as his goal earning a Ph.D. in biokinesiology and physical therapy. He indicates, “The rewarding and satisfying nature of working in academia and clinical work has been shown many times over by my faculty mentors and the clinicians I have shadowed . . ..” His career goals and how he intends to approach his work have been influenced by the needs of family members and the help that he provided to them over the years, as well as his own challenges. Ramirez’s current research is centered around promoting cardiometabolic fitness in spinal cord injury individuals using activity-tracking technology and digital feedback applications. In his department, he has served as both a teaching associate and lab assistant. His many volunteer and community service activities include work at Keck Hospital of USC and the Southern California Sports Rehabilitation Center in Whittier, and membership on the Rio Hondo College Fitness Advisory Board. Ramirez has received a number of awards, including participation in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program and a Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholarship. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key honor societies.
Arlene Sagastumer is working towards her M.A. in psychology and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in social and health psychology. Early in her studies, she discovered that there was very little in the psychological literature that reflected or helped her, as a first-generation American of immigrant parents, understand her own personal and cultural experiences. For her master’s thesis, she plans to examine the extent to which psychosocial adjustment and acculturation-related conflicts are associated with gender role conflicts among Latina young adults. This work will provide information to help comprehend the intersectional experiences of bicultural Latina women in Los Angeles. She states, “Psychology is plagued with theoretical gaps in racial and ethnic literature because theoretical perspectives fail to address race or ethnicity.” Among her many honors as an undergraduate at CSU Northridge, Sagastumer was on the Dean’s List all eight semesters that she attended, participated in the Department of Psychology honors program, received the department’s Robert Dear Quantitative Research Award (2015), and was in the National Institutes of Health M.S. to Ph.D. RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) Pre-Doctoral Scholars program.
Diane Sanchez, pursuing her M.A. in rehabilitation counseling, is the recipient of the Carol J. Smallenburg Emeriti Fellowship for Academic Excellence. As a lower-division undergraduate student, Sanchez reached out to a counselor for help and received very little assistance. Years later, she reached out again, to a different counselor at a different school, and this time she received both help and support. These two experiences, among others, helped her decide that she wanted to be a counselor, one who would always be there to help and support students. She feels that this is particularly important for first-generation college students like herself. She has an impressive record of volunteer and community service that is supported by her certification as a Peer Health Advocate and Certificate of Reintegration of Formerly Incarcerated Populations and Gang Intervention. Her volunteer work includes the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, Junior Achievement, Skid Row Housing, and March of Dimes.
Narine Zokhrabyan, recipient of the Sidney P. Albert Emeriti Fellowship for Academic Excellence, is working on an M.A. in English and planning to earn a master’s degree in library/archival studies in order to teach at a university. She indicates that the degree in library/archival studies “allows me to be the change that I wish to see and to raise awareness about the importance of literacy, the importance of books, and the importance of the past.” Zokhrabyan was born in Armenia, but her entire extended family originally emigrated from Azerbaijan to escape oppression, racism, and the possibility of death. They gave up much to leave Soviet Russia and eventually come to the United States, but never ceased to support her and the dreams she chose to pursue. The optimism and support of her family have prompted her to want to help and support others, while at the same time learning from them. She is a volunteer with 826LA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills and helping teachers inspire their students to write. She has also worked for AmeriCorps VISTA, helping to support and inspire young students in their educational endeavors. Zokhrabyan has received several awards, including the Morris Polan Memorial Scholarship and the Leader Scholarship from the Cal State LA Alumni Association. She is the president of the Cal State LA English Graduate Association and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key honor societies.
Emeriti Association Endowed Scholarship and Fellowships:
The recipient of the 2018-19 David Cameron Fisher Memorial Graduate Fellowship in biological sciences is Robert Taylor, who is pursuing his M.S. in biology with the goal of becoming an avian ecologist. As an undergraduate, he became interested in how birds can act as indicators of ecosystem health, helping to inform decisions related to the management of land and other natural resources that are important to humans. After graduating, he continued to refine his research interests by working on a variety of avian ecology studies conducted by state, federal, and non-governmental agencies, often as a volunteer. Many of these studies were focused on the effects of land management, including restoration of degraded habitats, on bird communities. His work has made him increasingly aware of the connection between wildlife, wildlands, and human well-being. Through these professional experiences, Taylor developed a strong interest in habitat restoration and the use of bird communities to monitor its success. For his graduate degree, he plans to study the restoration of the Owens River and assess the response of the bird community to the re-watering of the Owens River. His goal is to provide information that will inform future efforts to manage this important ecological and environmental resource responsibly. His adviser states that “in his research and classes, [Robert] has shown me that he has massive potential to contribute to our department and University as he completes his graduate studies.”
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The recipient of the Jane Matson Memorial Fellowship in counselor education is Francesca Campos. After completing her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology so she can teach at a university and use her clinical skills to practice in low-income communities. Her interest in human behavior began as a child, but it was not until she got to college that she was able to identify her specific interest. Raised in East Los Angeles and having faced a number of challenges growing up and in college, Campos came to learn the meaning, importance, and significance of the resilience that helped her address and overcome these challenges. Participation in a research project as an undergraduate further crystallized the importance of resilience and the need to understand better how it is developed and manifests, especially in low-income communities of color. She explains, “I found myself intrigued by how these families coped with significant and chronic stress and still managed to maintain family cohesion. This education and research experience led to my interest in analyzing the protective factors for Latinx at-risk adolescents and their relationship with resiliency in trauma.” Campos graduated cum laude from UC Santa Cruz, received highest honors in her major, and was awarded the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association and Paul Higa scholarships. Her reference source states that she is “one of the best students I have encountered in my 28 years of teaching at the graduate level.”
The 2018-19 Mary Gormly Memorial Fellowship for a student with courses or research projects devoted to areas of interest or concern to native peoples of the Americas is awarded to Wendy Lyco. A first-generation college student and single mother of two, Lyco had an interest in archaeology from a very young age but did not believe it was something possible for her to pursue. She began attending community college, for the second time, as a marketing major, but soon after taking a cultural anthropology class, changed her major. In her second quarter after transferring to Cal State LA, she states, “my views on the power of education were transformed” by a course she took with James Brady. During the course, she applied for a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant to do archaeological work in the Philippines. One of eight students in the nation to receive the award, she spent five weeks in the Philippines working on the Ifugao archaeology project. The experience resulted in a paper that she presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver, British Columbia. The paper was also published in the Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society. Last year, Lyco won a Cotsen Field Research Grant to do archaeological field work at the ancient Maya site of La Milpa, Belize, where she was a laboratory supervisor and crew chief, overseeing three operations. Her most recent awards include a Cal State LA Graduate Equity Fellowship, Cotsen Field Research Grant, Undergraduate Travel Grant from the College of Natural and Social Sciences, and Raul Henderson Spirit Scholarship from the Associated Students, Inc. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. and teach at a university.
Ajay Ghingoor is the recipient of the John L. Houk Memorial Fellowship for a student in political science. He began attending Cal State LA in fall 2017 and is pursuing an M.A. in political science, with plans to continue for his doctorate. He credits a high school teacher with encouraging him to apply for college and believe that he could be successful, as well as pursue his interest in political science. In college, states Ghingoor, a second teacher “reinforced my decision to pursue education and made me want to work towards achieving a career similar to his.” After a teaching experience following graduation from the University of Florida, Ghingoor found that his passion was in the classroom. Teaching enabled him to understand what it takes to help students become passionate about what they are learning. He worked full-time as an undergraduate to support his education and continues to work as a graduate student to support himself. He is currently a graduate assistant for a large lecture class. In this capacity, the course instructor writes that Ghingoor “has done an excellent job not only in grading, but also in meeting with students to help improve their performance.” For a number of years, Ghingoor served as a volunteer after-school tutor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Juma Adventures.
The 2018-19 William E. Lloyd Memorial Fellowship for a student in history, political science, or public administration is awarded to Citlalli Anahuac, who is working towards her M.A. in history. During most of her youth, she faced a number of hardships and challenges, but at the age of 18, she was helped tremendously by a very caring and supportive family. However, having to provide much of her own support, Anahuac found that going to school was a challenge. Somewhat ironically, when she was laid off from her job, she made the decision to attend school full-time and devote herself to her studies. As a result, she completed her bachelor’s degree and graduated summa cum laude. Since high school, Anahuac has been actively involved in social justice issues, including advocacy for indigenous people, children, and women. She writes poetry and has self-published, has organized and led marches and demonstrations, and has been an invited speaker at a number of events. In spring 2018, she was awarded the Graduate Student Eugene Fingerhut Award. Her goal is to teach history at East Los Angeles Community College to help students adjust to higher education, be successful in college, and prepare to transfer to a four-year college and set goals beyond a bachelor’s degree.
The Vicente Zapata Undergraduate Scholarship for a student majoring in public health or nutritional science is awarded to Jessica Meza, who is pursuing her degree in public health. From a very early age, she had a deep curiosity about her environment. Influenced by her parents, she was also motivated from an early age to help make positive changes in her community. This led her to recognize that many families could not afford nutritious food, lacked access to quality health care, and faced tremendous socio-emotional stressors due to a lack of basic necessities. While she recognized that all communities struggle with these issues, classes she has taken in public health have helped her understand the extent of inequities between low-income and wealthy communities, and how the inequities lead to health conditions and diseases that disproportionately affect individuals and families living in poverty. Having recently become a mother not only helped crystallize Meza’s academic interests, it also underscored how important it is to be an advocate for child health. She states, “My passion lies in community health and the promotion of family and adolescent well-being.” Her community involvement includes serving on the Foothill Family Early Head Start Policy Council and the Foothill Family Health Advisory Committee.
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The 2018-19 Leonard Mathy Fellowship in Economics is awarded to Hazina Cain-Houston, who is receiving this award for the second time. After obtaining her M.A. in economics, her goal is to become an internationally minded financial analyst and economic researcher. She found her intellectual passion after taking a quantitative-based economics course and econometrics while at the University of Alabama. At Cal State LA, she feels strongly supported in her pursuits by the institution and the faculty in her department. As a writing consultant for the Office of Graduate Studies, she not only helps other students, but has become a member of a supportive community that has provided opportunities for growth and development. Faculty in her department have afforded her the opportunity to do specific work in her area of interest; she is currently working with a faculty member on research to predict stock prices using natural language processing of financial news articles as they are published. Her performance in, and contributions to, the department are reflected in her reference, which states that she is “a brilliant, diligent, and motivated student.” In addition to receiving this fellowship in 2017-18, Cain-Houston was the recipient of the Shigenori Komuro Graduate Scholarship and the Andy and Phyllis Krinock Scholarship, both from Cal State LA, as well as the Meritorious Achievement Award in Economics and Statistics from her department. In the spring, she will enrolI as an exchange student in the Graduate School of Economic Research at Komazawa University in Tokyo. Having previously studied in Argentina (she both speaks and writes Spanish), she plans to use this experience to further expand her understanding of other cultures and gain even more perspectives in her area of research.
Special thanks to the following members of the Emeriti Association who were reviewers for this cycle: Alan Muchlinski, Bill Taylor, Carl Selkin, Diane Klein, Dorothy Keane, Gary Novak, Janet Fisher-Hoult, John Cleman, José Galván, Kathy Riley, Martin Huld, Ruben Quintero, and Vicente Zapata.