Dean's Medalist

The Dean's Medal honors the top graduating student earning an undergraduate or a graduate degree from one of the departments within the College of Health and Human Services.   

Dean's Medalist 2016

Congratulations to our 2016 Dean's Medalist recipients!

Graduate Division

Bessie YangBessie Yang, Department of Public Health
She completed the Master of Public Health Program, with an option in Health Promotion, with a 3.92 GPA. She is a first-generation graduate who earned her B.S. in Public Health at Fresno State in 2012. She calls herself an anomaly. "I am female, first-generation, Hmong student," she says. "I grew up in a culture where women are not encouraged to pursue higher education." Yang became the first in her family to received a master's degree. She is passionate about studying how race, ethnicity and culture create health disparities in our communities. This led to the creation of her thesis, which explored the cultural competency of Fresno State nursing students. Yang currently works at the Fresno County Department of Public Health as a health education specialist implementing community wellness programs. Read Bessie's personal story here.


Undergraduate Division

Lilliana Toste Lilliana Toste, Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies

She completed a B.A. in communicative disorders and deaf studies (speech-language pathology) with a 4.0 GPA. Toste volunteered hundreds of service-learning hours with Reading and Beyond, Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Saint Agnes Medical Center and Lowell Elementary. She traveled with a group of students to further develop a community center and work on an irrigation project in Fiji, and she studied abroad in Italy. Toste, the daughter of two Fresno State graduates, was a President’s Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors Program and a student leader at the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. She also was chosen to serve as student assistant for University President Joseph I. Castro. Toste chose to study Speech-Language Pathology after seeing professionals work with two of her brothers who are on the autism spectrum. When the University’s autism preschool was short-staffed of graduate students, Toste was chosen by faculty members to help. “I quickly fell in love with the clinic setting, my fellow hardworking clinicians and those beautiful little souls on the autism spectrum,” she said.Read Lilliana's personal story here.