2014 Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists set the bar for student success

Nine of Fresno State’s top graduating seniors have been named Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists for the class of 2014.

The medalists are chosen as the outstanding students in each of the university’s eight schools and colleges of academic discipline and the Division of Student Affairs. The dean of each college and school selects an undergraduate medalist and a graduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements.

One of the medalists will be named the President’s Medalist, the university’s top academic honor, at the 103rd Commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 at the Save Mart Center.

2014 Deans’ Undergraduate Medalists:

 alcala German Marquez Alcala, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology,
of Tulelake, completed a B.S. in Agricultural Business with a 3.96 GPA. As a young child, he came to the United States from Mexico with his parents seeking a better future. Now a President’s Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors College, he has engaged in undergraduate research in both agricultural business and philosophy through the Produce Marketing Association and the College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program, respectively. He has held numerous leadership roles, including president of the Council of President’s Scholars and student ambassador of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. His awards include national recognition for community service through the Newman Civic Fellows Award from Campus Compact, and the gold-level U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award for completing over 500 hours of service. Some highlights among his community service experiences include organizing an annual carnival for patients and their families at Children’s Hospital Central California and helping build a playground at El Dorado Park through the Revitalize Fresno State campaign. He will pursue a Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Purdue University as a Purdue Doctoral Fellow, where he plans to research international agricultural trade models and policy with an emphasis on Latin American countries.
 piercy Kevin Piercy, College of Arts and Humanities,
of Clovis, completed a B.A. in Philosophy with a 3.77 GPA. After high school, he joined the military in 2004 with his older brother and spent six years in the Army, with 15 months stationed in Iraq. For his service, he received an Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Badge. Following his return from Iraq in 2009, he became involved with Iraq Veterans Against the War and filed as a conscientious objector. He got out of the Army in 2010 following the death of his brother in Afghanistan. He has been involved in numerous service-related organizations and activities, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, Student Veterans Organization, Mock Trial and Phi Alpha Delta. He has volunteered in Academic Decathlon and forensics competitions and numerous other programs. Graduating with honors, he has been accepted to UC Davis Law School and plans to become a civil rights lawyer or specialize in environmental protection.
 lemus Brenda Garcia Lemus, Craig School of Business,
of Fresno, completed a B.A. in Economics with a 4.0 GPA. Arriving in Fresno from Mexico when she was 9 years old, she is fluent in Spanish and English and has basic competence in French. She is a member of the Craig Honors Program and completed her thesis on the skills mismatch in the labor market within Fresno County. Her aim is to identify the factors that drive the skills mismatch, which could inform local level policy aimed at reducing structural unemployment in Fresno County. A Phi Kappa Phi Scholar, she is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honors society for economics. She has also been on the President’s and Dean’s lists throughout her time at Fresno State. She served as vice president of the Economics Student Association and is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Her community service activities have centered on the San Joaquin Gardens Retirement Home, the Arc, Ronald McDonald House of Charities Marathon. She has been accepted into numerous prestigious graduate programs in economics and will be attending Duke University on a full-tuition scholarship.
 dominquez Nereyda Dominguez, Kremen School of Education and Human Development,
of Woodlake, completed a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a 3.9 GPA. A child of working-class immigrant parents, she has consistently worked hard to excel in school and is on the President’s List. She values the importance of language and culture and has been involved in the Bilingual Authorization Program for the past three years, working closely with the coordinator  in recruiting efforts. Her activities and memberships include California Association for Bilingual Education, Association of Mexican American Educators, Dual Language Conference, Cesar Chavez Conference and the Fresno Regional Dual Language Consortium. She also has had the opportunity to be a part of the development of the new Master of Arts in Education, Multilingual and Multicultural Education for the Kremen School. To gain experience in the teaching field, she joined the California Teaching Fellows program and is currently placed at Vinland Elementary School in Fresno Unified School District. She has been accepted into the Teacher Residency Program at Fresno State. This program works side-by-side with the Fresno Unified School District.  Through this program she will attain a Multiple Subject Credential and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.
 updyke Kathryn Updyke, Lyles College of Engineering,
of Palmdale, completed a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in fall 2013 with a 4.0 GPA. She was in the Honors Program in the Lyles College of Engineering and is a recipient of the highly selective Husband-Boeing Scholarship, which provides full tuition and fees. She was also accepted to the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program at Fresno State and received undergraduate research grants for work in the areas of optics, Fourier optics and holography. In addition to her coursework, she was involved in student clubs and organizations, including Eta Kappa Nu Electrical and Computer Engineering Honor Society, Society of Women Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. School pride was very important for her and she took an active leadership role in the annual Vintage Days spring festival. She is currently a telecommunications engineer at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Avila Beach. Her plans for the future include continued career development toward her professional engineering license.
 bosh Emily Bosh, College of Health and Human Services,
of Sacramento, completed a B.S. in Recreation Administration in fall 2013 with a Fresno State GPA of 4.0. She is the recipient of several academic honors, including being on the President’s List and induction into the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key International Honor Societies. She was one of three students in the state to receive a California Travel Summit scholarship from the California Travel Association in spring 2013. Additionally, she was awarded an Outstanding Student scholarship from the California Park and Recreation Society District VII. At Fresno State, she was president of the Recreation Association, ASI senator for the college and a special events coordinator for Vintage Days. In addition, she assisted at the American English Institute, facilitating English-learning activities for international students. Her community service includes an internship at the nonprofit community development center, The Green House, as well as working at the Girl Scouts’ Heart of Central California Public Relations Department. She plans to pursue a career in corporate event planning and return to school in the future to obtain master’s degree in Business Administration.
 abdelhamid Aroob Abdelhamid, College of Science and Mathematics,
of Fresno, completed a B.A. in Natural Science, Chemistry option, with a 4.0 GPA. Her academic achievements include contributions to her discipline and leadership in campus and community events. Early in her academic career, she fell in love with research. She has been involved in several research projects and contributed to three papers that are being prepared for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals. She has made seven research presentations, two of which were at national conferences of the American Geophysical Union. As the president of the campus Natural Sciences Club for three-and-a-half years, she has been very active in science education outreach to local schoolchildren in events such as stellar science and circuit science. She has also worked on outreach events with the Physics Department and Fresno State’s Chemistry Club. A Smittcamp Family Honors College student, she has set the goal of becoming a chemistry professor. Her minor is in mathematics. She plans to earn a doctorate in atmospheric chemistry and has been accepted into four graduate programs.
 ortega Maria Ortega, College of Social Sciences,
of Fresno, completed a double major with a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Sociology with a 3.89 GPA. She is a top student within the Sociology Department. She is a winner of the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program Scholarship, a Smittcamp Family Honors College student and a McNair Scholar. She is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi. Known for her time management skills, she has worked with Alliance for Educational Justice and Californians for Justice and served as an intern with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Her passion for underserved populations is evident not only in the research she is conducting, but in her extracurricular activities as well. She has been involved with the Mexican American Political Association and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan. She also co-founded Hijas de Malintzin — a wombyn’s circle rooted in indigenous traditions and knowledge. Upon graduation, she will receive a certificate in Applied Research Methods, which recognizes her mastery of research techniques. She has recently been admitted to the Ph.D. program in sociology at Brown University.
 kiernan Sean Kiernan, Division of Student Affairs,
of Santa Clarita, completed a B.A. in Political Science, with a 3.96 GPA. His minor is in philosophy. He served in leadership positions in Associated Students Inc., including being the first elected vice president of External Affairs. Here, he ran voter registration projects, registering more than 1,750 students. His contributions to campus life and the community have all taken place while working on various political campaigns and maintaining a full course load. His accomplishments include participation in the Colligate Western Regional Moot Court Competition in December 2013 and ranking nationally. He was recognized by the California State Student Association as Student Advocate of the Year in 2013. More recently, he has worked in the California Assembly Speaker’s Press Office and traveled alongside President Castro to Washington D.C. and Sacramento to lobby elected officials on behalf of the CSU. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity’s Iota Beta chapter.

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Eddie Hughes

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Writer/Public Affairs Specialist, University Communications
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