News Release| Alexandria Huynh; Cal State L.A.

June 8, 2010

Note to editors and news directors: To arrange an interview or request for a photo, call the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs Office in advance at (323) 343-3050.

Cal State L.A.’s youngest graduate, 17, heads to Harvard for Ph.D. in immunology

Huynh, one of 24 Early Entrance Program grads in the Class of 2010

While most others her age are finishing high school, 17-year-old Alexandria Huynh—the youngest graduating senior in the Class of 2010 at Cal State L.A.—is heading to Harvard University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in immunology.

Picture of Alexandria Huynh.

Admitted to Harvard Medical School with full funding and an additional stipend, she was also accepted to doctoral programs at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. 

Through the University’s Early Entrance Program (EEP), Huynh was admitted to Cal State L.A. at the age of 13. Huynh, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors, will be marching at Cal State L.A.’s Commencement 8 a.m. ceremony Saturday, June 12. She hopes to pursue a career in biomedical research with clinical applications.

As part of Edith Porter’s research team at Cal State L.A., Huynh focused on how intestinal cells in mice respond to Salmonella enteric serovar Typhimurium, a bacterium that is a leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans.

Recognizing Porter for her dedication, Huynh said, “She puts in an almost ridiculous amount of time in mentoring students, both in classes and in the lab. She provided solid support and guidance as a research mentor, and helped me learn how to be more critical of myself and my work.”

A Torrance resident, Huynh was also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at Cal State L.A. Recipient of the Kinecta Federal Credit Union Scholarship, she was recently named the winner of Cal State L.A.’s Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior Award and presented the Early Entrance Program Graduate of the Year scholarship. In addition, she has volunteered at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center. When time allows, she also enjoys figure skating and playing the piano.

Huynh said, “EEP provided a strong infrastructure and support system for us. We were able to talk to older students who had been through the same experiences as we were going through, as well as alumni with different perspectives.”

Cal State L.A.’s EEP admits extraordinarily gifted youngsters—some as young as 11—directly into college, providing the early entrants with monitored evaluation, regular counseling sessions, and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers. Huynh is among more than 20 other EEP graduates receiving their baccalaureate degrees this year.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 210,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.