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Feting Asian American, Pacific Islander Grads

11th Annual Recognition Celebration Recognizes Student Accomplishments

May 15, 2013

student speaker

Susan Huynh

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Remember your alma mater, be proud and grateful and give back. That was the message Tam T. Nguyen ’05 (MBA), owner of Advance Beauty College, delivered during his May 11 keynote address at Cal State Fullerton’s 11th annual Asian and Pacific Islander Recognition Ceremony.

“Never sell yourself short,” he said at the event, sponsored by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association (AAPIFSA). “Embrace your identity and mentor others.”

Three students were singled out at the ceremony for their devotion to community service and excellence in academics:

  • Susan Huynh, B.A. psychology (summa cum laude), received AAPIFSA’s Outstanding Graduate Award.
  • Noi Khounmy, B.A. sociology, received the Craig and Claire Ihara Outstanding Student Award. 
  • Kevin Ladia, completing his bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies-Asian American studies, was awarded the Asian American Studies Outstanding Scholar Award.

“My story begins as a first-generation college student,” Huynh told her classmates during her speech after receiving the Outstanding Graduate Award.

"As a Chinese American, teachers and counselors assumed that I was excellent at math, which I’m actually terrible at, that I come from an educated family and that I would be just fine without additional support,” she said. “In fact, it was the exact opposite. For me, the mentors and opportunities at Cal State Fullerton brought my story to life. Let us all continue to share our stories and inspire those who come after us.”

A total of 2,641 Asian American and Pacific Islander students are graduates or candidates for graduation this year. The university’s main commencement ceremonies will take place May 25 and 26.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

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