The eight schools and colleges at Fresno State, along with the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, each selected an outstanding student to honor as part of the class of 2022 Graduate Deans’ Medalists.

The deans selected a graduate and undergraduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements. Fresno State’s Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists were announced April 27.

In mid-May, one medalist from the group below will be announced as the President’s Graduate Medalist, Fresno State’s top academic honor for a graduate student.

This year’s graduate deans’ medalists are:

Joseph Calcagno

Joseph Calcagno

Joseph Calcagno, Craig School of Business

Joseph Calcagno, of Coarsegold, earned his Executive Master of Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned a M.S. and B.S. in biomedical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Calcagno sought out an executive MBA to prepare him to take on leadership roles in his work with orthotics and prosthetics. Calcagno made a commitment to step outside of his comfort zone when the pandemic hit to make sure that he and his colleagues could get the best experience possible in the virtual accelerated master’s program. He collaborated with others in his cohort, set up study groups and led group projects resulting in meaningful relationships and a successful academic experience. He did all this while working a fulltime job and having recently welcomed a new baby to his family. Calcagno looks forward to using his new knowledge to make a deeper impact in his organization and the community. He is excited to have more time to spend with his growing family and plans to pass on business knowledge to his sons by starting a small family business in his free time.

Tania Castillo

Tania Castillo

Tania Castillo, College of Social Sciences

Tania Castillo, of Fresno, earned her M.S. in criminology with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in criminology at Fresno State. Castillo came to the United States from Mexico seven years ago to pursue higher education and better life opportunities. She aspires to serve and give back to the community. Her exposure to criminal justice systems in other countries and its effect on vulnerable populations led her to study criminology. At Fresno State, Castillo serves as president of Alpha Phi Sigma, a criminal justice honors organization that participates in community service events, academic conferences and provides networking opportunities for its members. She volunteered with the City of Fresno’s Citizens’ Public Safety Advisory Board and serves as a fulltime immigration liaison at the Mexican Consulate. Her goal is to become a criminology professor and to conduct research that informs evidence-based policy.

Joey Contreras

Joey Contreras

Joey Contreras, College of Science and Mathematics

Joey Contreras, of Selma, earned his M.S. in physics with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. When Contreras started at Fresno City College, his son was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. The single father spent the next two and a half years with his son at treatments and overnight at Valley Children’s Healthcare while working hard to keep his grades up. His son recovered and he transferred to UC Santa Barbara to finish his bachelor’s degree. Contreras returned to Fresno to be closer to his son and family and entered the master’s program in physics enroute to a doctoral program. He participated in quantum gravity research, published a journal article and gave talks on his research. Contreras also served as a teaching assistant in various labs, including introductory astronomy, physics and natural science. After graduation, Contreras will teach a summer course at Fresno State. He will then go on to the doctoral program in physics at the University of California, Merced.

Audia Dixon

Audia Dixon

Audia Dixon, College of Arts and Humanities

Audia Dixon, of Fresno, earned her M.A. in art in December with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.A. in art at Fresno State as a transfer student from Fresno City College. Originally a liberal arts major, Dixon changed to art and called it the best move she could have made. Dixon was inspired by Black contemporary artists and motivated by the late professor Paulette Fleming to express her own view on Black identity. At Fresno State, Dixon designed African American Commencement Ceremony program covers and posters, and collaborated on mural projects that promoted Black empowerment and injustice. Her first mural project was the “Lift Every Voice Mural Tour” organized by Dulce Upfront, a multimedia arts collective, in response to the George Floyd protests. She was then asked to design another mural created by Black women artists in the Central Valley. She plans to continue working as an artist and would like to teach art. Her goals include finding a residency for research and applying to a Master’s of Fine Arts program.