University announces 2016 Deans’ Graduate Medalists

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University announces 2016 Deans’ Graduate Medalists

Seven of Fresno State’s schools and colleges, along with the Division of Student Affairs, selected an outstanding student to honor as its Dean’s Graduate Medalist for the class of 2016.

The deans selected an undergraduate and graduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements. One medalist will be announced as the University Graduate Medal winner at the 105th commencement at 9:30 am. Saturday, May 21, at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State.

Andrew Beebe

Andrew Beebe

Andrew Beebe, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Andrew Beebe, of Los Banos, completed his M.S. in viticulture and enology with a 3.88 GPA. The soft-spoken Beebe made quite an impact in the Jordan College through his dedicated studies, research and leadership. He worked as a research assistant under Dr. Anil Shrestha. “It was here that I really developed my desire to continue into a master’s program and perform my own research,” he said. Beebe’s research includes the effects of different pruning systems and deficit irrigation on vine performance and the production, water-use efficiency and fruit quality of Merlot grapevines during drought. He presented his research at a number of industry meetings across the U.S. He received several awards at Fresno State, including the John and Cora Harvey Scholarship-Jordan Assistantship. Beebe was hired by UC Davis to work as a junior specialist at the Oakville Research Station in Northern California, where he will continue to investigate quality improvements and sustainability of the grape and wine industry.

Melody Downie-Dack

Melody Downie-Dack

Melody Downie-Dack, College of Social Sciences
Melody Downie-Dack, of Lemoore, completed her M.A. in history with a 4.0 GPA. While pursuing her master’s, Downie-Dack taught social studies and AP history full-time at Lemoore High School while coaching forensics before giving birth to her first child in spring 2015. She also has a master’s degree in teaching. “While working on my thesis, I resigned from my teaching position to devote more time to my family and to the master’s program,” she said. Downie-Dack has since worked part-time from home as an administration assistant for a non-profit organization in Visalia. Downie-Dack traveled to Madrid and Sevilla, Spain to research her thesis on the Cursillos movement and its relevance to Catholic laity in southern Spain during the 1960s. Her thesis was nominated as the top thesis in the Department of History. After graduation, she plans to apply for adjunct college faculty positions in the Valley.

Yvan Mendoza

Yvan Mendoza

Yvan Mendoza, College of Science and Mathematics
Yvan Mendoza, of Fresno, completed his M.S. in geology with a 4.0 GPA. He spent part of his childhood in the U.S. and part in Jalisco, Mexico. “As a child of migrant farmworkers, the idea of college never really crossed my mind,” he said. “Going to grade school was a privilege in my hometown.” He began working construction jobs at age 15. In 2004, he became the first in his family to earn a high school diploma, which inspired him to pursue higher education. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in the master’s program and researched geologic mapping in unusually rugged terrain. Mendoza volunteered to teach geology to children in grades 3-6. His skills and knowledge were recognized when he was selected for a highly competitive internship with Chevron in Bakersfield. The internship positioned him to achieve his career goal of working in the petroleum industry with a focus on environmental responsibility. Mendoza served as a teaching assistant and volunteered for several earth and environmental sciences field trips, even driving a truck and hauling a trailer when necessary.

Jessica Miguel

Jessica Miguel

Jessica Miguel, Kremen School of Education and Human Development
Jessica Miguel, of Fresno, completed her M.A. in education (multilingual multicultural education) with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned a B.A. from UCLA in international developmental studies. She works for Clovis Unified School District with students who have autism. She also served as the graduate program assistant for two years, managing the database of applicants, assisting in recruitment and developing promotional material. Miguel is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Philippines from 2010 to 2012. “After spending two years abroad and four years at UCLA, I was ready to return to the community that had molded me,” she said. Miguel’s research includes exploring the language and social practices of 3- to 5-year old special education students enrolled in a dual-language immersion program. She also studied the language and literacy of Latina student mothers at four-year institutions. Next, she will pursue her Ph.D. at UC San Diego, where she received a scholarship for full tuition. She hopes to become a professor at a four-year university.

Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore, Craig School of Business
Amanda Moore, of Madera, completed her M.B.A. with a 4.0 GPA. She is a first-generation graduate who is passionate about entrepreneurship. She spent a year in the Entrepreneur Mentor Program and spent a semester coordinating it and overseeing 20 students. She was selected as the recipient of the Betty Lou Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Award and the Baker, Peterson and Franklin Entrepreneur Award for her contributions to the University’s Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Moore became ill and took almost two years off from school as an undergraduate, but was encouraged by professor Don Temple to finish strong. “He taught me that life is never set in stone and that I can overcome anything — I may just have to pivot slightly,” she said. Moore attended graduate school full-time while working full-time at Dairy America, where she cross trains in all departments within the company to bridge gaps and fix inefficiencies.

Lucia Ramirez-Munoz

Lucia Ramirez-Munoz

Lucia Ramirez-Munoz, Division of Student Affairs

Lucia Ramirez-Munoz, of Atwater, completed her M.S. in counseling and student affairs with a 4.0 GPA. She was selected by the Division of Student Affairs for making considerable contributions to student life and student success at Fresno State. Ramirez-Munoz, who moved to the U.S. from Mexico with her family when she was 10 years old, was a leader and mentor in the Supplemental Instruction program, the Educational Opportunity Program, SupportNet and Summer Bridge — helping other first-generation students transition into college life and succeed. She also worked in the Cross Cultural and Gender Center on campus. “I would have never imagined to accomplish so much personally, academically and professionally,” she said. After graduation, Ramirez-Munoz plans to seek employment in higher education.

Natalia Tomasello

Natalia Tomasello

Natalia Tomasello, College of Arts and Humanities
Natalia Tomasello, of Truckee, completed her M.A. in instrumental music performance and her teaching credential with a 3.93 GPA. Tomasello combines the specialization of a performance musician with a passion for teaching. She played saxophone in several of Fresno State’s ensembles, including the wind and jazz orchestra. She was part of the Bulldog Marching Band for four years, including two as the drum major. Tomasello also participated in Bulldog Beat, a scholarship athletic band. After completing her undergraduate degree, she served as graduate assistant for both bands. She has also been a featured vocalist with the Fresno State Jazz Orchestra. She provides private saxophone lessons to students of all ages. With multiple job offers after graduation, she chose to teach music at Firebaugh Middle School because she saw the most need and potential for community growth. “Teaching is a privilege and a lifelong commitment that focuses on our youth and the future of America,” Tomasello said.

By |May 11th, 2016|Categories: ACADEMICS, ALUMNI, PRESS RELEASES|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments on "University announces 2016 Deans’ Graduate Medalists" 0 Comments

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