Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- July 24, 2002
Cal State L.A. Youngest 2002 Grad is ABC7's Cool
Cal State L.A.’s youngest 2002 graduating senior and former student
government officer, Eleanor Chen, 16, was recently selected as one of
ABC7’s “cool kids.” In addition to being featured
in a Cool Kids report with Henry Alfaro in Eyewitness News on Thursday,
August 1, 4 p.m., Elly will receive a $1,000 scholarship savings bond
and recognition at a bi-annual awards ceremony courtesy of Greenlight
Financial Services and ABC7.
In 1997, Eleanor Chen (Chatsworth resident) made what most people would
consider a big transition from middle school to a university campus.
Just 11 years old, Elly began her life as a college freshman through
Cal State L.A.’s Early Entrance Program (EEP), which integrates
extraordinarily gifted students directly into campus life. Far from
intimidating, Cal State L.A. and EEP were just the challenge she needed,
says Elly. In middle school, she says, “teachers thought I had
an ‘attitude.’ I completed class work early and I was bored.”
The difficult transition for Elly had been from 6th grade to middle
school, and from a small parochial institution to a “huge”
public school. It was clearly a challenge to place Elly in middle school
classes: “By the time I was 11, I had already finished pre-algebra,”
she recalls. A family friend spoke to Elly’s parents about Cal
State L.A.’s program, and Elly jumped at the chance.
Outgoing and friendly, Elly found the specialized EEP program made the
large campus “workable,” with a lounge and study area dedicated
solely to “EEPsters,” a coordinator for guidance, and many
At the outset, Elly was anxious to get involved. A friend, also in the
EEP program, had been elected president of Associated Students, Inc.
(ASI), the University’s student government organization. Elly
sat in on some sessions: “It was mind-opening,” she recalls.
“I was amazed that students actually had a say at the University!”
Elly filled a vacancy as ASI representative-at-large. Later, she ran
for the ASI executive board post of secretary/treasurer and won. “We
ended that year with a 25% surplus,” she beams. “That was
only possible because of a lot of hard work—especially by the
There’s no denying that Elly’s leadership skills have blossomed:
she’s served as vice president for the campus chapter of Golden
Key honor society and for Circle K volunteer service and leadership
training club, and has been the vice-chair and fiscal committee chair
for the University-Student Union. In her first year, Elly received the
Freshman Award from Phi Kappa Phi national honor society, and was awarded
the Cal State L.A. Alumni Association scholarship in both 2000 and 2001.
In her spare time, Elly demonstrates her contemplative side through
creative writing, playing the violin (she has recently cut back on her
piano playing) and in the practice of judo (she says she finds it less
aggressive than kung-fu, which she also studied).
As for her future plans, she’s contemplating a “career in
business as a consulting manager.” At 16, she’s thinking
she might take some time off to explore what she really wants to do
next. Elly was the youngest graduate at Cal State L.A.’s 55th
Commencement on June 15, and received a B.S. in business administration.
Contact: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director (323)