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Chemistry Scholar Recipient of 'Outstanding Senior Award'

Alumni Association Honoree Julie Hofstra to Pursue Doctorate at Caltech

May 12, 2014

Julie Hofstra, a first-generation college student who will fulfill a dream to attend the California Institute of Technology to earn a doctorate, is the recipient of the Alumni Association's Outstanding Senior Award for 2014.

Hofstra, a graduating senior and chemistry major, has been involved in research projects, studied in a summer program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and won numerous scholarships, fellowships and awards for her undergraduate achievements.

Highly motivated and extensively involved in multiple areas of academics, research and community outreach, Hofstra is an exceptional academic scholar and student research, her faculty mentors say.

"It's very rare to see all these qualifications in a single person, but Julie Hofstra is that person," said Peter de Lijser, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who nominated her for the award.

Hofstra has conducted research with de Lijser and Paula K. Hudson, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Her studies focused on how aerosol in the atmosphere impacts cloud formation and climate change, as well as using UV light to develop new techniques in making organic molecules.

Hofstra, who credits her faculty mentors for helping her reach her academic and research goals, will be recognized at the annual Honors Convocation Friday, May 16 and will participate in commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 17. She also is graduating summa cum laude with a 3.94 GPA and University honors.  

"My faculty mentors have been a tremendous support throughout my entire undergraduate experience and are very encouraging," said Hofstra. "I have thoroughly enjoyed all the work I have done at CSUF, and this award motivates me to continue to do great things and impact others once I graduate."

She was accepted to nine graduate institutions, including MIT, and will attend Caltech — her top choice — in the fall to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. Her goal is to realize a career in academia following graduate school.

Supporting her future studies is a $132,000 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. "It's truly an honor to be able to represent CSUF," she said. "It makes me proud to be a Titan."

Hofstra is a peer chemistry instructor for the Supplemental Instruction Program, serves as president of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club and is a Golden Key International Honor Society member. This month, she received the American Chemical Society Award and was recognized for her research work presented at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics science symposium. She also is a recipient of the University Honors Program's Outstanding Senior Honors Project award.

This past year, Hofstra was a research scholar in the California State University Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, which helped with tuition and graduate application fees, as well as travel costs to present her research at conferences.

Hudson described Hofstra as an "amazing role model" involved in every aspect of her research lab, from developing new projects to training new students.

"Julie never settles for 'good enough' and continues to push herself to see just how far she can go," said Hudson. "She is truly a Cal State Fullerton star and someone we will proudly promote as an alum in years to come."

Hofstra also has co-authored three journal articles with her faculty mentors, which will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed professional journals.

"My broad research interests and experiences were one of the things that helped me win these awards," said Hofstra. "I owe my mentors a lot for all they have invested in me."

Media Contact: Debra Cano Ramos


Tags:  Academics & Research