One overcame a car accident at age 17 that left him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. Another is already co-author of two biology papers as an undergraduate student. A third was born in a refugee camp, worked two jobs while attending college full-time, and tutored her siblings. One is described as a future world-class economist who could use his college education to help his Third World country off the coast of Africa.
They are just four of the 10 students who were named the 1999 Dean’s Medalists at California State University, Fresno. Each is now in contention to earn the highest honor given to a graduating student at the May 22 Commencement ceremony — the President’s Medal.
The Dean’s Medal honors the top graduating student in each of the university’s eight schools of academic discipline and the divisions of Graduate Studies and Student Affairs. The dean of each school or division selects a medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement, and other achievements.
The ten 1999 Dean’s Medalists are:
• Emily Ann Wiggins of Lake Isabella — Agricultural Sciences and Technology
• Matthew Espinoza Watson of Fresno — Arts and Humanities
• Anita Lovejoy of Kingsburg — Business
• Randy M. Steiner of Coarsegold — Education and Human Development
• David Hieb of Fresno — Engineering and Computer Science
• Colby J. Linder of Fresno — Natural Sciences
• Maria H. Provencio of Squaw Valley — Health and Human Services
• Amadeu da Silva of Fresno — Social Sciences
• Christopher D. Stickley of Fresno — Division of Graduate Studies; and
• Say Cha of Fresno — Division of Student Affairs
Dean’s Medalists 1999
EMILY ANN WIGGINS — Lake Isabella Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Emily Wiggins is the student that parents request when they seek assistance for their children’s 4-H or Dairy Club project, says Dr. Jon Robison, associate professor of animal sciences. Wiggins receives a bachelor of science in agricultural education this spring. She has earned a 3.97 GPA, numerous scholarships, induction into Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and recognition from a broad variety of groups and extracurricular activities.
She has been accepted into the single-subject credential program at Fresno State with plans to teach high school agriculture. She attended Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella and is also a river-raft photographer.
MATTHEW ESPINOZA WATSON — Fresno Arts and Humanities
When Matthew Espinoza Watson was a senior at Bullard High School in the Class of 1996, he enrolled in Fresno State’s Step-to-College Program and completed 12 units. Now, in just three years at Fresno State, he will receive two bachelor of arts degrees with a 4.0 GPA in both majors -¬philosophy (pre-law) and Chicano studies, along with a minor in Spanish. His professors praise Espinoza Watson’s demonstrated concern for others and for social justice, and his personal integrity.
His young but diverse and growing resume ranges from membership in the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies — making the dean’s list every semester — to participation in the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, a national civil rights advocacy organization; Comite No Nos Vamos, a community immigration rights committee; and, Comite por Justicia en Mexico, which addresses injustices in Mexico that also affect the Mexican-American community. He has participated in reading intervention programs with bilingual students at Rowell Elementary School as well as with older students in evening ESL classes.
ANITA LOVEJOY — Kingsburg Sid Craig School of Business
As a single mother working rotating shifts for a glass manufacturer several years ago, Anita Lovejoy dreamed of earning a degree and a better life for her son but it seemed a distant, impossible one. Even after remarrying, the priority was making ends meet. Then the dream seemingly faded more — she lost her job and new employment opportunities were few. But she turned this “misfortune” into a golden opportunity by enrolling in community college.
Now, in May, the dream comes true when she receives a B.S. in business administration with a human resource option. Lovejoy plans to continue working for a master’s in that field with an eye on owning a consultation business. At Fresno State, she was a member of the university’s first place team in the California Human Resource Collegiate Competition in 1998, and participated in the Craig School Internship Program. She volunteered to develop a home education parent handbook and materials for a school board presentation. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and helped the local chapter win a “Superior Chapter Award.”
RANDY M. STEINER — Coarsegold Education and Human Development
While a 17-year old senior at Sierra High School, Randy M. Steiner was in a car accident that left him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. He still managed to complete his senior year, finishing in the top third, and headed for college in pursuit of his dream to teach elementary school —a dream inspired by his third grade teacher who motivated him to “become.”
This spring, despite his physical obstacle, Steiner will receive a B.S. in liberal studies with a 3.63 GPA. He has participated in many community activities, such as working with the Services for Students with Disabilities at Fresno City College to increase accessibility for the disabled at Ratcliffe Stadium. He is a member of the Discovery Center, the children’s science education center in Fresno. He participated in the Science Math Preservice Partnership Program and is on the university’s Downing Planetarium committee. His determined spirit of self-discipline is also evidenced by his visit, wheelchair-bound, to the precipitous Auereberry Point overlooking Death Valley.
DAVID HIES — Fresno Engineering and Computer Science
David Hieb, who receives a B.S. in computer engineering in May with a 3.9 GPA, will take his Fresno State education to work at Lucent Technologies in New Jersey while also attending graduate school there. But his road to success has been less than smooth; he overcame speech challenges and other medical problems at Hoover High School to become valedictorian in 1995.
Active in School of Engineering and Computer Science honor societies and clubs, Hieb has given of himself to school and community by volunteering at the Marjaree Mason Center and the Fresno County Library, and working with children as a member of the Children’s Ministries Committee of his local church.
MARIA H. PROVENCIO — Squaw Valley Health and Human Services
Maria Provencio has a strong commitment to community service and volunteerism. The candidate for a B.S. in communicative sciences and disorders has volunteered at the Palm Village Retirement Home, Sierra Kings District Hospital and the New Convenant Center in Dinuba. She has also served as a hospital occupation volunteer at University Medical Center and assisted in the Fresno Unified School District system.
At the university, Provencio was the recipient of the Robert E. McNair Fellowship Award and the Tokalon Scholarship and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. She is currently co-president of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association’s CSU chapter.
COLBY J. LINDER — Fresno Natural Sciences
Like many of his Dean’s Medalist peers, Colby Linder has worked with youth, volunteered in the community and excelled academically. But the 4.0 GPA candidate for a B.S. in biology holds a distinction few undergraduates can claim: he has co-authored two complex, technical research papers. He and professor Brian Tsukimura will present their biological research findings at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in Atlanta in January 2000, where Linder.
His activities in the community include coaching Little League baseball, counseling economically disadvantaged youth, working with autistic youth and performing the guitar for his church. He is active in the pre-med student club Caduceus and is a member of the Rodman Steering Committee for local high school activities. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in biology at Fresno State and eventually teach at the university level.
AMADEU da SILVA — Fresno Social Sciences
The nation’s best doctoral programs are impressed with Amadeu da Silva’s desire to apply his skills and abilities to improving the economies of his impoverished homeland, San Tome and Principe, off the coast of Africa. The 4.0 student graduates in May with not only a B.S. in economics, but also in mathematics. Professor John Shaw praises da Silva as the best student he has seen in 38 years of teaching university economics. He says da Silva “has the best chance to become a world-class professional economist and to make significant contributions to improving the plight of Third World countries of any student 1 have known.”
Da Silva is vice president of the Economics Club, a member of two honorary societies on campus, and plays recreational soccer. He has been offered prestigious fellowships with Boston University and Columbia University and has been admitted to the UC San Diego graduate school.
CHRISTOPHER D. STICKLEY — Fresno Division of Graduate Studies
As head athletic trainer for the 1998 Bulldogs softball champions and other Fresno Sate teams, Christopher D. Stickley works 40 to 60 hours a week. But he still managed to earn a perfect 4.0 GPA while completing a master’s in kinesiology and is already a leader in sports medicine nationally. Rose M. Lyon, graduate program coordinator, said Stickley’s “commitment to sports medicine and the future development of the curriculum guidelines set by the National Athletic Training Association (NATA) suggest the depth and breadth of his professional concerns.” His thesis has been a nationwide study of practices related to how student athletic trainers are taught to evaluate injuries. The study’s results will be published in the NATA journal.
Despite his full work and academic load, Stickley has volunteered to teach two courses for sports medicine undergraduates, served as a lab assistant, volunteered to serve as certified athletic trainer at the 1997 Police Games, and served as an assistant instructor for a low back care seminar for PG&E employees in Selma. He plans to become an athletic trainer at a major university and earn a doctorate to teach at the university level. Stickley completed his undergraduate clinical experience and coursework at Ohio Sate University.
SAY CHA — Fresno Division of Student Affairs
Born in a Laos refugee camp after her parents fled the war in Vietnam, Say Cha came to the US in 1979 and attended the first four years of elementary school unable to speak or fully understand English. She excelled in spelling only because she could memorize the words. But now, after completing a B.A in liberal studies in December with a 3.6 GPA, Cha is a student in the Teacher Education Program working toward her multiple-subject teaching credential. Her road to academic success has been challenging — Cha is the oldest of eight in her family, worked two jobs while attending college full-time, and regularly tutored her siblings at home before doing her own studies.
The future teacher has also served as an ambassador for Fresno State’s Rodman Scholar Program, was a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program scholar, and is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Cha has tutored students through the Southeast Asian Student Support Services Program, served on Associated Student committees, and is a bilingual instructional aide at Madison Elementary School in Fresno.