Civil engineering and social work grads earn Fresno State’s highest academic honors

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Civil engineering and social work grads earn Fresno State’s highest academic honors

Annemarie Schwanz and Patricio Galindo were awarded the University’s top academic honors at Fresno State’s 107th Commencement Saturday, May 19, at the Save Mart Center.

Schwanz and Galindo were chosen from a group of nine Deans’ Graduate Medalists and nine Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists.

Schwanz, of Neuruppin, Germany, was selected as the University Graduate Medalist, Fresno State’s top honor for a graduate student. She earned a master’s in civil engineering from the Lyles College of Engineering with a 4.0 GPA after starring for the Fresno State track and field and cross country teams.

Galindo, of Selma, was selected as the President’s Medalist, the University’s top honor for an undergraduate student. He earned a bachelor’s in social work from the College of Health and Human Services with a 3.85 GPA after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Annemarie Schwanz, University Graduate Medalist

Schwanz previously earned her B.S. in civil engineering with a focus on water resources from Fresno State in 2016. Schwanz came to the United States in 2012 to compete in track and field and cross country at Fresno State. She was immediately challenged with learning a new language, culture and responsibilities, but excelled as she conducted research in transportation, including an award-winning intercity study to determine vehicle capacity and optimal headway through a queuing analysis.

“Transportation is used by everyone, every single day,” said Schwanz, who is already working as an engineer at Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group in Fresno. “If it is driving, walking or flying, we are all doing it. Since it is such a basic need for all of us, I want to provide an efficient, reliable and safe way of travel.”

In 2016, Schwanz was named Fresno State’s Distinguished International Student and became a four-time Mountain West Scholar Athlete.

She was the first two-time NCAA Division I All-American distance runner in Fresno State history in the women’s 1,500 meters, and she ran the fourth-fastest time in the nation in 2016. She also received the 2017 Fresno State Female Bulldog of the Year award. Schwanz was a three-time Mountain West champion and seven-time all-conference selection. She holds eight track and field and cross country school records.

Patricio Galindo, President’s Medalist

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.

Galindo’s late brother, Julian, previously attended Fresno State but died in a car accident involving a drunk driver a semester short of graduation. “I feel that it is now my job to walk across that stage for the both of us,” Galindo said, “to make him and my family proud and be the first of nine children to earn a bachelor’s degree.”