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Health Scientist Named Outstanding Professor

Sora Park Tanjasiri Awarded Cal State Fullerton's Top Faculty Honor

May 16, 2013

Sora Park Tanjasiri

Sora Park Tanjasiri

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Lauded for her exemplary teaching, scholarship and community outreach, Professor of Health Science Sora Park Tanjasiri has been named Cal State Fullerton’s 2012-13 Outstanding Professor.

President Mildred García presented the university's highest faculty honor at today’s meeting of the Academic Senate, where attendees in the packed room included CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

“This professor is so outstanding she reached full tenure early — in just three short years,” García said, listing a number of Tanjasiri’s accomplishments. “Her students consistently rate her as among the best teachers in her college; her colleagues find her so impressive, they constantly and effortlessly find themselves raving about her because of her commitment to student success through her mentorship and guidance.”

The surprise announcement brought on loud cheers and applause from those in the audience who rose to their feet in agreement.

“I am flabbergasted. I'm the luckiest person in the world to work here with this community, the students, the faculty, the leadership who support the amazingly impactful, collaborative, interdisciplinary collegial work we do,” Tanjasiri said.

“Sora is a trailblazer,” said Erualdo R. Gonzalez, CSUF assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, who credits Tanjasiri for mentoring him and helping him win a recent research grant. “Her value, however, is much more. She has helped put CSUF at the forefront of health research. She is not just an outstanding professor, she is an outstanding colleague and a person of great integrity.”

“She has consistently and effectively engaged with the community to: conduct pragmatic research; create, expand and improve internship opportunities for students; provide professional development opportunities for the public health workforce; and raise community awareness of key health issues,” noted Donna S. Fleming, chief of public health operations for Orange County’s Health Care Agency.

Her students praise Tanjasiri for her compassion, for motivating them to excel and for reminding them to “pay it forward.”

Since joining the faculty in 2003, Tanjasiri, director of the university’s Health Promotion Research Institute, has focused on the community health needs of diverse populations, particularly Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and garnered more than $15 million in grants to fund research focused on reducing cancer health disparities in underrepresented communities. Her research has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals and she has presented at conferences nationwide.

The Irvine resident has a doctorate and master’s degree in public health from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley.

As the newest recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award, Tanjasiri will be recognized at the university’s Honors Convocation May 24. She also will lead the faculty at the May 25 and 26 commencement ceremonies.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

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