This Fall quarter, seven outstanding students enter California State University, Los Angeles as the first beneficiaries of the new President's Scholars program: Downey resident Nathan Craig Charlton, Highland Park resident Monica Chew, Monterey Park resident Hunly Chy, Eagle Rock resident Laurel E. Diskin, Tujunga resident Numan Benjamin Parada, Highland Park resident Ciro Alfonso Ramirez, Jr., and Eagle Rock resident Ivan Albert Reyes. Motivated high achievers, the students were selected from local high schools to receive the University's most prestigious scholarship.
Each of these outstanding students will receive $5,000 per year during their four years of full-time enrollment. The award covers tuition, books and other academic and living expenses. The new scholars will get priority registration and will be guests at a recognition ceremony with President James M. Rosser and University administrators.
The scholarships have been funded by alumni contributions to the University's Annual Fund and augmented by an allotment for two scholarships from Associated Students, Inc.
Nathan Craig Charlton
The 18-year-old played varsity volleyball and graduated with a Gold Seal for his participation in the California Scholarship Federation (CSF).
Charlton plays electric guitar in a band at his church's teen service, and plays, sings and writes for his own punk/alternative band. He and other church members have gone to Tijuana to build houses for disadvantaged families--spending their spring break pouring cement and carrying lumber to erect walls that will be foundations for homes originally built out of cardboard.
"When things get overwhelming, I tell myself that 'there's a lot more to eternity than life,'" says Charlton.
The Benjamin Franklin High graduate received a Character Citizen Award, for donating more than 100 hours of community service. Chew was also honored for having a high GPA and participated in the [U.S.] President's Education Awards Program.
A budding artist, Chew is considering a career in graphic arts. She is also gifted in other arts: she studied karate until the age of 12 and she enjoys cooking.
Paraphrasing Beatle Paul McCartney, Chew says, "In whatever you do, always keep a little fun in it for yourself."
Chy's first steps were toward civil engineering. He won third prize in the regional Science Olympiad and placed seventh during the state finals for his construction of a balsa wood tower. In another science competition, he won first prize for his model of a bridge.
Chy enjoys surfing the Internet, but is not always glued to the computer. He competed for Mark Keppel's JV tennis and wrestling teams and won a silver medal for wrestling. For the past two years, he has been a library volunteer, repairing books and tutoring English.
Laurel E. Diskin
The talented 18-year-old, who graduated from Eagle Rock High School with honors, has accumulated a long list of scholastic, athletic and musical accomplishments. With six AP exams under her belt, she was named an AP Scholar with Distinction. In high school, she participated in student government, was a Model U.N. Distinguished Representative, and played softball.
Diskin began studying the violin in 1990, and later added voice and piano. She was one of three violinists statewide chosen to participate in a special Cal Arts program.
Numan Benjamin Parada
Specializing in the bass clarinet, Parada was active in the Verdugo Hills High School marching band. An award for Best Musicianship at Verdugo Hills didn't leave Parada's other talents unnoticed--he was also recognized for his achievement in science.
Parada points out that his musicianship extends to the bassoon, bass guitar and cello! He plays chess, assembles jigsaw puzzles, and has been drawing maps since he was seven.
"There's a lot of math that I can use in drawing maps," says Parada, "and drawing is a way of expressing myself."
Ciro Alfonso Ramirez, Jr.
His fascination for how things work led him to explore video games and computers, and ultimately, to pursue math as a major. During the regional Academic Decathlon, a 10-subject quiz show-like competition, Ramirez won Best of Team for Benjamin Franklin High School.
Graduating with honors, Ramirez was a National Hispanic Scholar finalist, Bank of America science awardee and national Macy's Scholar. With a high GPA, SAT scores that top 1300 and other scholarly achievements, he was also accepted to three top UC schools. The oldest sibling of four, Ramirez will be the first in his family to attend college.
Ivan Albert Reyes
"I like to make people laugh," he says. When not cracking jokes, the 19-year-old honor student from Eagle Rock High likes to bowl, shoot hoops, skateboard and break-dance. When he slows down, he enjoys playing chess and volunteering at church.
Reyes, whose parents were alums of the University of Philippines, is the second of three siblings to go to college.
Reyes wants to pursue a career in physics, and fondly recalls the time when he and his friends built mini-race cars out of found objects. "I guess that prepared me for college," he says half-jokingly.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News