phi kappa phi awards

May 26, 1999





Margie Yu
Public Affairs Asst.
(323) 343-3047


of Events

Cal State L.A. Honors Top Students
at Phi Kappa Phi Initiation

Los Angeles, CA - May 26, 1999 - Cal State L.A. biology senior Rosalinda Martin is one of 50 national winners of the prestigious $7,000 Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship, and chemistry senior Uyen Thien "Sam" Truong was a runner-up for the annual award. The awards were recently announced at the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society awards banquet, where more than 100 of Cal State L.A.'s top students were inducted into the University's chapter.

During the evening, Martin and Truong were also presented with cash awards of $400 and $200 respectively from the Cal State L.A. chapter, and two academically outstanding, extremely young freshmen were selected to receive $200 awards each. Thirteen-year-old music major Vanessa Sheldon and political science major Yang "Kelly" Yang, 15, were co-recipients of the Cal State L.A. 1999 Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Freshman Award.

The University's 1997-98 Outstanding Professors, Maria Boss (Finance and Business), Evelyn Calvillo (Nursing), Sharon Johnson (Administration and Counseling) and Edward Malecki (Political Science), and Cal State L.A.'s 1998 President's Distinguished Professor Timothy Steele (English) were also honored at the event.

Steele, the principal speaker at the banquet, spoke on "Poetry and Memory." A nationally-recognized poet and 1991 Cal State L.A. Outstanding Professor, Steele's honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Commonwealth Club of California Medal for Poetry, and the Los Angeles PEN Center's Literary Award for Poetry. He is nationally known for his advocacy of rhyme and meter in poetry, and called one of the leading formalist poets in the United States. His most recent book is All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification, Swallow Press/ Ohio University Press, 1999.

Each year, a limited number of outstanding students are invited to become members of Phi Kappa Phi, the largest academic honor society in the nation open to students in all academic disciplines. Those faculty members selected as Cal State L.A. Outstanding Professors and other faculty members who have demonstrated superior achievement are also nominated for membership at this time. This is the second consecutive year that a Cal State L.A. student has been awarded a national Phi Kappa Phi graduate fellowship.

For more information, call Raymond Garcia, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-2144.


Graduate Fellowship
Cal State L.A. senior Rosalinda Martin, a biology major, has been accepted by medical schools at Harvard, UCLA, USC, UC San Diego and Stanford, among others. She has earned a 3.7 (of 4.0) GPA, and has excelled in undergraduate research with her mentor, biology professor Beverly Krilowicz.

Martin was a ninth grader in 1990 when she joined the University Preparatory Program, a collaborative project between Cal State L.A. and Lincoln High School on Los Angeles' east side.

"The University was able to offer [Martin] a position as a student research associate in the federally-funded Minority Biomedical Research Support program, which comes with a stipend," said Florita Otto, UPP program coordinator at Cal State L.A. "Even though a lot of our undergraduates work with faculty on research projects here, it's highly unusual for a student to be doing research straight off as a freshman."

Martin has volunteered at Los Angeles County-USC Hospital, and was an active volunteer at Saint Elizabeth's Convalescent Home as a high school student. Said Cal State L.A. biochemistry professor and Phi Kappa Phi president Raymond Garcia, "Rosalinda's MCAT [scores] were phenomenal... She could go into anything she wants and be successful."

Martin is a Los Angeles resident.


Certificate of Merit
Uyen Thien Truong, a chemistry major, has been accepted to Ph.D. programs at Caltech and USC. Truong, also known as "Sam," excels both in chemistry and art and was a runner up for the national award. Richard T. Keys, professor of chemistry, says of Truong, "She is imaginative and approaches problems often times from a different direction than other students." Chemistry professor Matthias Selke writes that, "Sam is the best undergraduate student currently enrolled in the department."

Among other honors, Truong was awarded the American Institute of Chemists Foundation Outstanding Student Award in 1997 and the ACS (American Chemical Society) Organic Chemistry Student Award in 1996. Additionally, one of her researches has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry.

Truong is a San Gabriel resident.


Outstanding Freshman Awards
This year, both Phi Kappa Phi freshman award recipients are participants in the Cal State L.A. Early Entrance Program that enables gifted youngsters to participate fully in college life as University students.

Thirteen-year-old Vanessa Sheldon, a music major with a 3.892 GPA, is a professional concert harpist. Sheldon has her own business teaching the Concert and Celtic Harp and is a member of the Venice Youth Pops Orchestra, the National Harp Society and the Los Angeles Harp Society. She has performed for residents at nursing homes throughout the Los Angeles area and is active in community services. Cal State L.A. professor and General Education Honors Program director Kathleen Costantini writes of Sheldon: "Vanessa is one of the finest, most gifted and active students we have ever had in the G.E. Honors Program."

Sheldon is a Rancho Palos Verdes resident.

Yang "Kelly" Yang, 15, was recently awarded a Los Angeles Times scholarship for her work as a paid reporter on the college newspaper, the University Times. An accomplished musician who plays the piano, the flute and the piccolo, Yang is the author of The Diary of a Young American Girl, a novel that is currently a best seller in China. Her poetry has been published in the National Library of Poetry. A political science major, Yang has maintained a 3.940 GPA. "Yang is an extremely multi-talented, capable and intelligent academic student. She is a very gifted writer, musician and published author," writes Costantini.

Yang is a San Gabriel resident.


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