Campus: CSU Fullerton -- May 27, 2003
Future Doctor Who Aids in Rescues Receives Two
of Cal State Fullertonšs Highest Honors
Sommer Kaskowitz, a young woman who is certified to rappel from helicopters
as part of search and rescue missions and has compiled a record of community
service that stretches from Orange County to Honduras, is the recipient
of two of Cal State Fullerton¹s highest awards to a graduating
The biological science major, who plans to become a physician, is the
winner of this year¹s President¹s Associates University Service
Award, as well as the Miles D. McCarthy Health Professions Award.
For the past three years, the Yorba Linda resident has made annual visits
to remote areas of Honduras with MEDICO, an organization that provides
free medical, dental, optometric and educational services to people
who have no basic health care. In the medical clinic there, she assisted
in foot surgeries, delivered babies and treated patients for parasites
Following a crash course in dental medicine, she also pulled teeth and
performed other dental procedures. She will return to Honduras for four
weeks following graduation.
At age 23, Kaskowitz has had extensive experience in search and rescue
(SAR) activities. Since high school she has devoted hundreds of hours
to training and searching for downed planes, finding lost persons in
desert and mountain areas and assisting in other emergency situations.
She is a member of the Orange County, Malibu, San Bernardino County
and Barstow Sheriff¹s SAR teams.
She has earned certifications in investigative man-tracking, helicopter
rescue, ham radio, trench rescue, high/low angle rescue, maps/compass
use, winter survival skills, mountaineering, land navigation and Alzheimer
patient rescue, and is a certified Emergency Medical Technician.
An avid cyclist, Kaskowitz accompanies her parents, two brothers and
sister on extensive family bicycle camping trips that she plans. The
family¹s longest journey was a 66-day, 4,700-mile excursion from
New York to Washington State to California in 1999. They also traveled
together on a seven-week trip from Canada to Mexico.
She is also a Big Sister/volunteer at Hollygrove Orphanage, works with
her church youth group, and is an Airman 1st class in the Civil Air
Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary. Kaskowitz has won numerous awards
and scholarships, has been on the Dean¹s List at Cal State Fullerton
since fall 1998 and has conducted several research projects. She has
accomplished all of this while
working 12-32 hours a week.
In the classroom, on campus and in the community, Ms. Kaskowitz is a
leader,² said Roshanna P. Sylvester, assistant professor of history
at DePaul University, who had Kaskowitz in an honors class she taught
while at CSUF. ³There is no doubt in my mind that Sommer Kaskowitz
will make a difference in the world. She will surely excel as a major
player in her chosen field. She will be both a brilliant scholar and
a wonderful role model for other girls and young women.
Kaskowitz plans to pursue a combined M.D. and M.B.A. program so that
she can establish her own medical practice with a sound business background.
She has been accepted at four medical schools and is waiting to hear
from four others.
Named for an esteemed founding faculty member, the Miles D. McCarthy
Health Professions Award is presented annually to the outstanding health
professions student who demonstrates high academic achievement, integrity
and a commitment to serve humanity. The President¹s Associates
University Award honors a graduating senior for outstanding service
to the community.
Kaskowitz will receive her awards, which include cash prizes totaling
$2,000, at the university¹s Honors Convocation Friday, May 30.
The next day she will be recognized at universitywide commencement ceremonies
and at the exercise for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics,
which follows on the lawn west of the Engineering Building.
Media Contact: Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4855 or firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Photo: A high-resolution image of Sommer Kaskowitz can be downloaded
the university¹s website at www.fullerton.edu/newsphotos/.