Fresno State’s 2016 Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists announced

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Fresno State’s 2016 Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists announced

Nine of Fresno State’s top graduating seniors have been named Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists for the class of 2016.

The medalists were chosen as outstanding students in each of the University’s eight schools and colleges of academic discipline plus 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 105th commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State.

Jacqueline Alvarez

Jacqueline Alvarez

Jacqueline Alvarez, College of Arts and Humanities
Jacqueline Alvarez, of Coalinga, completed a B.A. in philosophy and women’s studies with a 3.9 GPA. Alvarez began college at the non-traditional age of 28 and excelled both academically and as an advocate for students. She served as the president of the Diversity Caucus and Radical Feminists Against Sexual Assault. Alvarez wrote proposals for gender-neutral restrooms, space for LGBT+ students and resources for sexual assault survivors. She helped peers as a supplemental instruction leader for biology, and she served as the Philosophy Club president. Alvarez completed research projects as a McNair scholar and a MURAP scholar at the University of North Carolina. Next, she plans to pursue a master’s in philosophy at San Francisco State University. “I feel inspired every day in the College of Arts and Humanities,” Alvarez said. “Here, I found a safe place, a family of support and an intellectual community.”

Irina Boginski

Irina Boginski

Irina Boginski, College of Science and Mathematics
Irina Boginski completed a B.S. in biochemistry with a 3.97 GPA. She moved to the U.S. from Ukraine with her family in 2001 to escape an unstable economy. In the U.S. her family was forced to find new careers, learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Boginski excelled, graduating from Duncan Polytechnical High School in Fresno. “I absorbed education like a sponge,” she said, “not because my parents told me that I would become a decent individual in society, but because I thought it was fun.” At Fresno State, Boginski got involved in research to modulate a protein that could be beneficial in discovering therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. She also tutored other students in chemistry and calculus, volunteered time at the neonatal pharmacy at Community Regional Medical Center and found time to marry her best friend. She leads a creative team ministry at her church and, with her husband, recently cofounded a web design business. Next up, Boginski plans to pursue graduate school and continue her Alzheimer’s research. She hopes to one day teach at Fresno State.

Michael Bowlin

Michael Bowlin

Michael Bowlin, Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Michael Bowlin, of Tehachapi, completed a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a 3.945 GPA. Bowlin said coming to Fresno State from Tehachapi High School, with a graduating class of less than 100, was a drastic adjustment with Fresno State’s student enrollment nearly twice the size of his hometown population. But he thrived while helping other students reach their goals through his work in the Learning Center and helping new students transition to campus while working in the Dog Days new student orientation program. Bowlin faced many challenges as a college student, including his own health obstacles and the death of his grandfather, but he persevered and earned an engineering job at U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. “It definitely has not been easy, especially during the past four years, but through hard work, persistence and prayer, I have made it,” Bowlin said.

 

Ryan Ditchfield

Ryan Ditchfield

Ryan Ditchfield, College of Social Sciences
Ryan Ditchfield completed a B.S. in criminology and political science with a 4.0 GPA. Ditchfield graduated from Clovis High School after moving to the U.S. from Zimbabwe in 2007. When he was 9 years old in 2002, a group of militia violently forced their way into the Ditchfield family home and shot his grandfather in the leg. “I can recall the events of that night as vividly as though they happened yesterday,” he said. “Yet I cannot recall a single man’s face.” This snapshot in time is what fueled Ditchfield’s desire to study forensic behavioral science and research eyewitness identification and why it can be difficult to recall details in stressful, violent situations. Ditchfield has been accepted into a Ph.D. program in social psychology at Iowa State University and intends to pursue a career in research and teaching in higher education.

 

Serenity Hansen

Serenity Hansen

Serenity Hansen, Kremen School of Education and Human Development
Serenity Hansen, of Oakhurst, completed her B.A. in liberal studies with a 3.97 GPA. Hansen grew up as one of eight siblings and faced many difficult obstacles in her education and family life. “Through my greatest struggles, I have learned that it is not our past that determines who we are or our potential to succeed,” she said. Hansen married at 18 and had her first child at 19 before earning her Associate of Arts from Reedley College in 1998. Upon returning to school at Fresno State, she maintained a full-time job and cared for her three children while commuting from Coarsegold, giving piano lessons and working in an after-school program in her community. Hansen was part of the initial Honors program in Liberal Studies, served as a member of the physics outreach team and was director of youth ministries at her church. She was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. This fall, Hansen will enter the Fresno Teacher Residency Program and pursue her multiple subject teaching credential while working on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

 

Alan Suarez

Alan Suarez

Alan Suarez, Lyles College of Engineering
Alan Suarez, of Merced, completed a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a 3.83 GPA. His family emigrated from Mexico to the U.S. in search of a better future in 1998. His father began working in the fields and his mother as a housekeeper. As a young child, Suarez remembers watching his father fix the family’s troublesome car and asking him how the engine worked. He developed a passion for mechanics and decided to become an engineer. Though earning valedictorian honors at Golden Valley High School, he attended a community college due to financial limitations. But over the past three years at Fresno State, he received the PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship for $20,000 per year and the 2013 and 2014 Col. Rick Husband Scholarship. Suarez conducted research on prosthetic knees and designed and manufactured one with the help of his faculty mentor, Dr. The Nguyen. He has presented and published his research and will begin a career at GE Healthcare as a design engineer after graduation. “Other schools claim the ‘hands-on learning’ motto, but I am confident those claims fall short of my experience and what Fresno State has to offer,” Suarez said.

 

Lilliana Toste

Lilliana Toste

Lilliana Toste, College of Health and Human Service
Lilliana Toste, of Lemoore, completed a B.A. in communicative disorders and deaf studies (speech-language pathology) with a 4.0 GPA. Toste volunteered hundreds of service-learning hours with Reading and Beyond, Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Saint Agnes Medical Center and Lowell Elementary. She traveled with a group of students to further develop a community center and work on an irrigation project in Fiji, and she studied abroad in Italy. Toste, the daughter of two Fresno State graduates, was a President’s Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors Program and a student leader at the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. She also was chosen to serve as student assistant for University President Joseph I. Castro. Toste chose to study Speech-Language Pathology after seeing professionals work with two of her brothers who are on the autism spectrum. When the University’s autism preschool was short-staffed of graduate students, Toste was chosen by faculty members to help. “I quickly fell in love with the clinic setting, my fellow hardworking clinicians and those beautiful little souls on the autism spectrum,” she said.

 

Nicole Warmerdam

Nicole Warmerdam

Nicole Warmerdam, Craig School of Business
Nicole Warmerdam, of Visalia, completed a B.S. in business administration-accountancy with a 4.0 GPA, a minor in mathematics and a certificate in finance. Upon graduating from Mount Whitney High School, she was selected to Fresno State’s Smittcamp Family Honors Program. She went on to complete her thesis on the merger between AT&T and DirecTV as part of the Craig School Honors Program. Warmerdam landed prestigious internships in London with KPMG and in the Bay Area with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she accepted a full-time job upon graduation. At Fresno State, Warmerdam also co-founded the University’s club women’s volleyball team and volunteered for a service-learning trip to Fiji. “The Fijian people taught me that service is not just about giving, but actually about sharing,” she said. “This lesson gave me a completely new perspective on not only how to perform service, but how to approach life.”

 

Kelli Williamson

Kelli Williamson

Kelli Williamson, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Kelli Williamson, of Clovis, earned a B.S. in enology and a B.S. in food and nutritional science with a 3.82 GPA. She also minored in chemistry. Williamson summarized the important aspects of her life in three words: involvement, service, education. Her involvement at Fresno State includes organizing fundraising and engagement activities while serving as president of the Viticulture Club and social chair of the Fresno State Enology Society. Williamson’s service includes supporting the V.E. Petrucci Library through fundraising activities, serving on the FFA State Conference committee that brings hundreds of high school students to Fresno State and sewing caps for patients at Valley Children’s Hospital. “I grew up in a single-parent household where resources were sometimes limited, but I was always taught the importance of being thankful and giving back to my community,” she said. Next up, she will continue her education by pursuing a M.S. in food science at Fresno State.

By |May 11th, 2016|Categories: ACADEMICS, ALUMNI, PRESS RELEASES|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments on "Fresno State’s 2016 Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists announced" 0 Comments

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