Fresno State’s eight schools and colleges, along with the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, selected nine outstanding students to honor as Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists for the class of 2018.
Each dean selected an undergraduate and graduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements. Fresno State’s Graduate Deans’ Medalists will be announced this week.
At Fresno State’s 107th commencement on Saturday, May 19, one medalist from the group below will be announced as the President’s Medalist, the University’s top academic honor for an undergraduate student.
This year’s medalists are:
Elizabeth Barba, Kremen School of Education and Human Development
Elizabeth Barba, of Fresno, completed a B.A. in liberal studies (child development) with a minor in French with a 3.56 GPA. She was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 6 months old. She began studying French in eighth grade and is now fluent in English, Spanish and French. A first-generation university student, Barba is committed to transforming the lives of others and understanding the struggles facing many students. She has assisted students at John Burroughs Elementary in Fresno since 2016, and has been a member of Jumpstart Fresno, which emphasizes the importance of service to the community. She also assisted at Kings Canyon Head Start, tutoring children ages 3 to 5 in kindergarten readiness, and she has worked with Fresno State’s Office of Community-Based Learning. Barba is now a candidate for the Fresno Teacher Residency program, allowing graduates to earn their teaching credential and master’s degree while preparing them for a three-year commitment to teach in Fresno Unified School District.
Katelin Britton, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Katelin Britton, of Modesto, completed a B.S. in agricultural business with a 3.97 GPA. Raised on a small family fruit farm, Britton was drawn to agriculture at a young age and fondly remembers summers working cherry, peach and apple harvest. In between managing her classwork at Fresno State, she served as the team captain for the Bulldogs’ swimming and diving team and completed internships at Ott and Davison Consulting in Clovis, Van Groningen & Sons in Manteca and Gaarde Food Source/Pangea Cultivar Management in Fresno. She earned Academic All-Mountain West honors as a student-athlete, and volunteered for several community service projects, including the Saturday Sports program, Fresno State’s Student Cupboard food drive and Big Hero Little Hero. She considers herself fortunate to have received a college education while competing in a sport she loves with teammates who support and encourage each other. She dreams of one day taking over the family business.
Selena Carbajal, College of Social Sciences
Selena Carbajal, of Fresno, completed B.A. degrees in women’s studies and psychology with a 3.97 GPA. A first-generation college graduate who is the daughter of immigrants, Carbajal says she chose more than one major because she just kept finding more interests. The Sunnyside High School alumna created a line of research that bridges each of her majors while examining the challenges and barriers of Latina, first-generation college students in higher education. As a McNair Scholar, a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and a research assistant for the Latino Family Dynamics Project, Carbajal encourages others to use their diversity as an educational resource. In the fall, she will pursue a Ph.D. in family studies and human development at the University of Arizona. Her long-term goal is to build a foundation for future generations of scholars to promote and foster diverse and innovative research agendas for the benefit of individuals, communities and institutions.
Yvette Espinoza, Lyles College of Engineering
Yvette Espinoza, of Fresno, completed a B.S. in computer engineering and minors in mathematics and Chinese with a 3.83 GPA. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Espinoza knew little English when she first began elementary school. Today, she graduates from Fresno State as a multilingual engineer who speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin. Espinoza enrolled in Mandarin course at Fresno State, and was so inspired by the language that she visited China during summer break and decided to study abroad for a semester in Shanghai. Espinoza first became interested in engineering through the MESA program. She received a scholarship to attend Fresno State through the Smittcamp Family Honors College and went on to secure two internships with Raytheon Missile Systems before accepting a full-time job offer from Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense company. With interests geared toward digital signal processing, Espinoza’s research was focused on underwater mapping by using sensors to track the position of a watercraft. She is also considering graduate school.
Patricio Galindo, College of Health and Human Services
Patricio Galindo, of Selma, completed a B.A. in social work with a 3.85 GPA. In 2009, Galindo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and in 2010 deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. His seven months there changed his life. Galindo earned eight medals while serving the country, including a Certificate of Appreciation from former Vice President Joe Biden when his unit helped handle the protection of President Barack Obama during a visit to Hawaii. He returned home in 2013 after earning the rank of sergeant, but had trouble adjusting to civilian life and suffered from PTSD and bilateral hearing loss. Still, Galindo used his GI Bill to attend Fresno City College before transferring to Fresno State. Galindo is a member of the American Legion Selma Post 12, which last year donated over $12,500 in student scholarships. He also created a resolution and presented in front of Congress to help veterans receive proper recognition. At Fresno State, he created the first social work honor society, Chi Nu, and worked to send care packages to military during the holidays. Galindo interned at Phoenix Secondary Academy, mentoring troubled students in need of guidance. He will pursue his master’s degree at Fresno State and plans to become a school social worker.
Prabhsimrat Gill, College of Arts and Humanities
Prabhsimrat “Peekay” Gill, of Fowler, completed a B.A. in English (English education) with a 3.83 GPA. Gill’s passion for storytelling has driven her curiosity and education from a young age. When describing the impact that stories have had on her life, she begins with her father’s story and how, at age 19, he navigated across the Atlantic Ocean from India on a ship to search for a better life for his family in America. Gill recalls how her love for stories and learning was fostered by her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Srabian. Gill was so inspired that she would go home from school as a youngster, place the dining room chairs in rows with a stuffed animal propped up on each chair, and she would deliver lessons to her own “class.” Gill went on to teach Sikh language, history and etiquette courses at the Gobind Sarvar Gurmat School in Fresno and to mentor young reporters for The kNOw Youth Media, and now as a Fresno State graduate, she is preparing to become a high school English teacher.
Anoush Hakopyan, Craig School of Business
Anoush Hakopyan, of Fresno, completed a B.S. in business administration (accounting) with a 4.0 GPA. She chose the field to build the skills necessary to further advance the mid-sized business her family has run throughout her life. Hakopyan, who is fluent in Armenian, joined the Armenian Students Organization that hosts a memorial for the Armenian Genocide annually, and she later served as a volunteer intern for the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno. Hakopyan served as the chair of the VITA program at Fresno State, a volunteer income tax preparation service for low-income taxpayers. She was also involved with the Student Managed Investment Fund that gives finance students experience managing a $4 million endowment for the Fresno State Foundation. She served as an intern for K-Coe Isom, a nationwide public accounting firm with a Fresno location, and accepted a full-time position as an associate with the firm beginning in July. Eventually, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and become a professor.
Majerle Reeves, College of Science and Mathematics
Majerle Reeves, of Fresno, completed a B.A. in mathematics and a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a 3.87 GPA. Reeves was involved in two significant research projects during her time at Fresno State, including a mathematics project that inspired her to double major. She worked with a team to develop a model for the spread of an influenza virus through California. The second project used data science techniques such as clustering and building complex networks to classify locations in Manhattan. A member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, she has participated in numerous professional organizations and student groups, including the Society of Women Engineers, and studied abroad in Greece and England. Since graduating in December, she has worked full-time at Peters Engineering Group in Clovis. She will begin a Ph.D. program in applied mathematics at UC Merced this fall. She would like to work in a national lab before ultimately becoming a college professor.
Brandon Sepulveda, Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Brandon Sepulveda, of Sanger, completed a B.S. in business administration (finance) with a minor in public health with a 3.84 GPA. Sepulveda served for Associated Students, Inc. as executive vice president and vice president for finance. He worked on several initiatives in student government, including increasing funding for sponsored activity grants and undergraduate research. He also helped secure a partnership with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to provide free online digital subscriptions for the Fresno State campus. As a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College at Fresno State, Sepulveda also worked with several areas of campus to explore outreach efforts to increase the number of underrepresented minority students entering the college. Next, he will begin two years of service in Tanzania with the United States Peace Corps helping children learn and develop math skills. He hopes to continue his work as an ambassador for both Fresno State and his hometown of Sanger.