Biology graduate student April Booth was named a Trustee Emeritus Peter Mehas Scholar for her academic achievement and commitment to community service in spite of adversity.

The CSU Trustees’ Awards are the highest recognition of student achievement and provide scholarships of $6,000 to $12,000 to California State University students who are in financial need, have experienced personal hardship and exhibit exemplary scholastic performance and community service.

At age 3, Booth’s family was involved in a car accident that resulted in her mother becoming a quadriplegic. Because her mother could no longer secure employment, Booth’s father raised her as a single parent.

Booth, who received her bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry, is currently completing a master’s in biology. Her research is focused on testing the effects of caffeine on the memory and lifespan of fruit flies expressing Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Booth plans to pursue a doctoral degree in neuroscience to help people with neurological diseases or conditions.

Booth served in various leadership roles as an undergraduate student, including a term as president of the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, and volunteered her time at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera and to river clean-up projects. Booth is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, which admits the top 10 percent of students in their graduating class.

Earlier this year the CSU Board of Trustees renamed the award for Fresno State students to honor Dr. Pete Mehas, a former Fresno County superintendent of schools and CSU trustee, who died in 2013. Mehas played football at Fresno State and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1962.

A total of $147,500 in scholarships was awarded to this year’s scholars, the highest amount ever in the history of the awards program.

Nearly 320 students have been honored with this award since its inception in 1984. Today, more than 120 donors, including CSU Trustees and private donors, support the program.

To find out how to apply for the 2016 CSU Trustees’ Award, contact Greg Varela at 559.278.8784 or visit for a full list of representatives from each CSU campus.

(University Communications news assistant Erika Denise Castañon contributed to this report).

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