Ten Cal State L.A. President’s Scholars to Graduate in JuneLos Angeles, CA – This June, ten talented Cal State L.A. President’s Scholars will receive their diplomas and set out on paths leading to diverse places such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Japan.
These high-achieving students were selected as freshmen to become President’s Scholars based upon their excellent academic records and entrance exam scores. They received full scholarships during their career at Cal State L.A. as well as stipends funded primarily by donor contributions.
Among these students is biochemistry major Mary Elizabeth Lee (Rosemead), who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors and a cumulative 3.8 GPA. She recently received a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship for the 2004-2005 academic year. Lee is one of only 60 students nationwide to receive the $5,000 Graduate Scholar Award from the nation’s oldest and largest honor society.
In addition, Lee was selected as one of Cal State L.A.’s Beckman Scholars in 2002, working in the lab of Krishna L. Foster, assistant professor of chemistry. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in biological sciences and pursue a scientific research career in academia. She will attend graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall.
Karla Armendariz (Rosemead), a highly motivated and enthusiastic student, will receive her B.A. in television, film and media studies. Maintaining a 3.71 GPA while working full-time at Wells Fargo Bank, she still finds time to volunteer at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. After graduating, Armendariz plans to start up a music video production company with her fiancée. “Know your priorities and you won’t ever lose your place,” says Armendariz.
Jennifer Ashley (Echo Park), a prolific writer for the student newspaper University Times and recipient of the Clayton and Patricia Matthews English Scholarship, will receive her B.A. in English with honors. Ashley, who enjoys photography as well as writing, plans to teach English in Japan, and would like to eventually use her writing talents to promote social change in areas such as public transportation and housing rights.
Jenny Chao (Monterey Park), a dedicated and animated future educator who recently completed a senior thesis on the “genetics of handedness,” will receive a B.A. in child development, summa cum laude, with a 3.96 GPA. Chao plans to channel her passion for education into the classroom after she completes her master’s degree in child development. “I want to be a really great teacher,” she says, “and I hope to some day come back to Cal State L.A. as a professor.”
Monica Chew (Highland Park), a bright and creative graphic artist, will receive her B.A. in Art, summa cum laude, boasting a 3.97 GPA. For the past three years, Chew has gained valuable, hands-on experience working part-time in the University-Student Union graphics department, where she was promoted to office manager. Recognizing the importance of giving back to her community, Chew has volunteered teaching art to children ages 5-12, and hopes to give back to the Cal State L.A. community. Chew, a self-professed “huge music nut,” plans to pursue a career in graphic design after completing her master’s degree at Cal State L.A. Her younger brother, Morgan, is also a President’s Scholar.
Wenni Lam (Rosemead), who is graduating in only three years despite having to work 30 hours a week and care for ill family members, will receive her B.A. in English. Lam, who loves to cook and collects recipes as well as inspirational quotes, will return to Cal State L.A. to work on her single-subject teaching credential as well as a master’s degree in English.
Lawrence Lloyd (Los Angeles 90032), summa cum laude, will receive his B.A. in communication studies. At this year’s Annual Convention of the Western States Communication Association, Lloyd’s paper, “Yearbook Production: Meanings and Motivation Behind the Scenes,” was accepted for presentation. Lloyd, who says he has enjoyed taking advantage of the resources that Los Angeles has to offer while attending a university in the heart of the city, was accepted to several outstanding graduate programs, and has decided to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at USC’s Annenberg School.
Zachariah Purnajo (Arcadia resident) will have completed his undergraduate studies in less than three years when he receives his B.S. in electrical engineering in June. Purnajo, cum laude, is pursuing job possibilities with Disney, Pixar and IBM. He is a member of the honor society of engineering and enjoys tutoring students in math as well as playing basketball in his free time. After he begins working in the field, he plans to also pursue a graduate degree.
Scarleth Ramirez (Hawthorne) came to L.A. from her native Nicaragua at the age of 14. Despite speaking very little English at the time, she excelled in her classes and graduated at the top of her class. Now she will earn her B.S. in Civil Engineering, having received several honors including the Center for Environmental Analysis (CEA-CREST) Technology Fellowship and the American Society of Civil Engineers Young Member Forum Scholarship. Motivated to find solutions to environmental problems, she has been actively involved in environmental research in Cal State L.A. laboratories as well as in the field. After graduating, she will begin working as a project manager in the Pipelines Division of British Petroleum in Chicago.
Edmund Wang (Alhambra), cum laude, will receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in finance and computer information systems, as well as a certificate in accounting. Wang, who could have attended any number of universities, says, “I came to Cal State L.A. because of the diversity of students and faculty, and the intimate relationship students have with faculty. Here, you get practical knowledge you wouldn’t get at many universities.” He plans to work for an investment bank or financial institution and pursue an MBA upon graduation. Wang says that when he began college, he thought that earning a lot of money was his primary goal. “Now I know that you should do what you love, because that’s what will make you happy.”
Contact: Margie Yu, (323) 343-3047
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