deans medalists

2019 Dean's Medalists

Khoi Quach | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Khoi QuachKhoi Quach was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as a refugee in 2002 with his parents and older sister. He is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Criminology. Despite being an excellent student and a Boy Scout with a bright future, he found himself steering into the wrong direction, was charged with attempted murder and faced 25 years to life in prison. His family worked to get a plea deal and lesser sentence and after serving six years in prison, he resumed his life and began attending college. Khoi works in a variety of ways to serve previously incarcerated individuals including work with Project Rebound, a program designed to support previously incarcerated individuals in higher education. He has published a number of newspaper articles and worked as a volunteer at the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries known as FIRM. Khoi's experience with the criminal justice system as a teen has fueled his passion for academic excellence and community service. He received four scholarships at Fresno State and has worked with Fresno State’s Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Project Rebound, and currently as program coordinator for the Prison Arts Collective. He has also participated in research projects for UC Berkeley’s Underground Scholars, Texas A&M’s Undergraduate Research Experience, and participated in a data collection internship for Fresno State's Central Valley Health Policy Institute. He will be joining the Sociology Doctorate program at UC Berkeley in the fall to explore issues related to inequality, mass incarceration, and political economy with an emphasis on technology. His ultimate quest is to combat structural inequality in the United States.

Shelby Elia | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Shelby EliaShelby Elia is from Clovis, CA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminology at Fresno State and returned for the Master of Public Administration from the Political Science department. She was selected as a research fellow for the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy during her first year as a graduate student. Shelby began a research project which examined the criminal justice processes that led to wrongful conviction and the public’s perception of individuals who had been wrongfully convicted of a crime. She presented her research at several conferences where she was acknowledged with awards including First Place Presentation for Graduate Behavior and Social Sciences at the 31st Annual California State University Student Research Competition and Best Quantitative/Methods Paper at the 42nd Annual Student Research Conference Organized by the CSU’s Social Science and Research Instructional Council. She also presented at the 16th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology in Hong Kong, a trip made possible by the funds granted to her by the President’s Graduate Scholarship. Her master’s thesis analyzed the current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans’ perceptions of their federal benefits. Her suggestions for reform were aimed at creating policy proactively and revising outdated procedures. After graduation, she will continue her work with the City of Clovis and later pursue a doctorate degree hoping to teach at Fresno State as a professor.

2018 Dean's Medalists

Selena Carbajal | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Selena CarbajalSelena Carbajal is a first generation college student, and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She graduated with a triple major in Chicano and Latin American Studies, Women's Studies, and Psychology with a 3.97 GPA. Selena is a scholar for the Ronald E. McNair Program, California Pre-Doctoral Program, and the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Undergraduate Scholars Program. Her work bridges her three majors to examine the challenges and barriers of Latina first-generation college students in higher education. As a McNair scholar, she has conducted research to examine how Latina first-generation college students negotiate the gendered and cultural expectations of their family and their university identities. Selena's honors thesis examines how biculturalism buffers the influence of filial responsibilities on depressive symptoms for Latina college students from immigrant families. Selena will have a paid summer research experience at the University of California, Santa Cruz through the California Pre-Doctoral Program to foster the growth and direction of her empirical and theoretical trajectories. In the Fall 2018, she will begin her doctoral studies at the University of Arizona in Family Studies and Human Development. Her aspirations are to create lines of research that can inform higher education policies and interventions.

Savannah Nakamura | Graduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Savannah Nakamura Savannah Nakamura earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach, where she had the opportunity to study abroad with the CSU International Program in Florence, Italy. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English in South Korea, returned to Fresno and completed her M.A in History. She received a research fellowship through the Fresno State Graduate Net Initiative and took the opportunity to work with other graduate students to conduct research. Savannah spent a summer interning with the Special Collections Department of the Henry Madden Library and had the opportunity to research and write articles about Fresno State’s history to share with alumni. She currently works in the Graduate Writing Studio where she provides support to graduate students from all disciplines. During her research, she studied The Female Spectator, the first magazine written for women by a woman in 1744 by Eliza Haywood, a series of letters and essays directed to teaching women appropriate behavior. Savannah specifically looked at Haywood’s prescription of the study of insects and science as appropriate conversation topics for women, and she investigated Haywood’s recommendation that women moderate their attendance of public events, instead focusing their time and energy on self-improvement. She hopes to continue to work with college students. 

2017 Dean's Medalists

Alexandra Gallo | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Alexandra Alexandra Gallo of Hollister, was awarded the top University honors at Fresno State. She was chosen from a group of nine Dean's Undergraduate medalists graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Political Science and Communication. She has served at the Ronald McDonald House and has helped facilitate after school activities for youth in Southeast Fresno. Alexandra has exercised her passion for service and civic engagement with her involvement as President of the League of Women Voters Student Unit and service as Senator of Undergraduate and Graduate Affairs for Associated Students, Incorporated. Alexandra has held leadership positions in the Panhellenic Council and in Delta Zeta. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, she conducted research of voter identification laws and presented her research at the Southwestern Social Science Association Conference. As a Maddy Institute Legislative Scholar, Alex interned under Congressman Jim Costa who she will continue to intern for in the summer 2017 and will then represent Fresno State as a student ambassador on a tour of China. Alexandra hopes to pursue a career in government.

Katy Hogue | Graduate Dean's Medalist| College of Social Sciences

Katy hogue Katy Hogue of Fresno, obtained her Masters in History. Her research examines the cultural development of the 19th Century American West in an attempt to mitigate the myth of the frontier. She was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and presented at the 2015 and 2016 History Graduate Student Association Symposium, and the 2016 Graduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium. Katy also accepted a series of internships at the Fresno Historical Society where she created an exhibit about the J.R. McDonald paddle boat. Passionate about public history, Katy is currently the Collections Manager at the Fresno Historical Society where she works to make the historical records and manuscripts available to the public.


Outstanding Student Reception 2017