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2018 Year in Review: People Who Made a Difference

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In 2018, Cal State Fullerton welcomed a new president, said goodbye to the man who helped build the Titan baseball program and saw thousands of students demonstrate the value of a Titan education by making their mark in the world.

University Ushers in New Leadership

President Fram Virjee joined the Titan family in January, after previously serving as the California State University’s executive vice chancellor and general counsel and a longtime labor and employment attorney for O’Melveny & Myers. Since his arrival at CSUF, Virjee has jumped into campus life and its surrounding community — calling on Titans past and present to have “more swagger” and advocate for their school.

Susamma “Susan” Barua was appointed dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and Morteza Rahmatian was named to a two-year term as dean of Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Mark Hoven Stohs, professor of finance, was elected to chair Cal State Fullerton’s Academic Senate for the 2018-19 academic year.

University Chief of Police Raymund Aguirre joined Cal State Fullerton in March, after previously serving as chief for the the San Diego Community College District.

Pamella Oliver, professor of child and adolescent studies who most recently served as associate vice president for academic programs, was named provost and vice president of academic affairs in December. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, she will serve until the successful completion of a national search for a permanent provost and vice president.

High Honors for Faculty and Staff

Berenecea J. Eanes, vice president for student affairs, received the California State University’s 2018 Wang Family Excellence Award for her commitment to championing student success. Eanes also was the recipient of the Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean/Vice President from NASPA Region VI.

Julián Jefferies, associate professor of literacy and reading education, was the recipient of the California State University’s inaugural Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for his commitment to student success.

Neuroscientist Math P. Cuajungco, professor of biological science, was selected as the university’s 2018 recipient of the L. Donald Shields Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity Award.

Associate professor of mathematics and two-time alumna Cherie Ichinose garnered the 2018 Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award recipient for her passion, ability to explain difficult concepts clearly and mentorship outside the classroom.

Nancy Fitch, professor of history, received the 2018 Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award in recognition of her outstanding record of university leadership.

Nicole Baker, a lecturer in music, was recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Lecturer Award. Since her arrival on campus in 1997, Baker has taught 13 different music history classes, as well as performance-related courses such as applied and individual vocal instruction.

Paulina Tagle, director of the Office of Grants and Contracts, was honored with the 2018 Leadership Award in recognition of her achievements to motivate and her team, for creating and sharing a strategic vision of the future, and myriad other responsibilities and tasks.

The Campus Speaker Working Group received the Teamwork and Collaboration Award for its leadership, planning, open communication and effective collaboration when a controversial speaker visited campus.

The African American Studies Department and College of Humanities and Social Sciences garnered the university’s annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award for their exhibit featuring “African American Civic Engagement” during the 1860s and 1960s.

Biological science professor William “Bill” Hoese was the recipient of the 2018 M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Nina Robson, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded a $500,000 Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.

Biological science professor Marcelo E. Tolmasky was selected as the 2018 recipient of the Andreoli Faculty Service Award from the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.

Astrophysicist Jocelyn Read, associate professor of physics, added “OC Game Changer” to her stellar list of accolades.

The late, legendary Titan baseball head coach Augie Garrido was honored by Cal State Fullerton and the Titan Athletics Department at a celebration of life event.

Students Shine on Campus and Beyond

Business administration major Amanda Ngoc Nguyen, a first-generation college student whose parents fled Vietnam, was honored as one of the 2018 recipients of the California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Three business administration majors and a biological science student were named University Innovation Fellows, an international effort to empower students to become agents of change at their college campuses. The new fellows are Bing (Edward) Niu, William Kim, Kritvik (Karen) Kaur and Phillip Law.

Psychology researcher Christina Rowley received the Alumni Association’s 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Award, while business administration major Rachel Herzog garnered the 2018 Outstanding Senior Award.

For her dedication to promoting cross-cultural understanding, psychology major Maricruz Garcia Garibay was honored with the university’s International Experiences and Global Engagement Award.

Ron Norby, a former nursing executive who joined students half his age to work on a doctorate in nursing practice, earned the Betty Robinson Award. The annual honor recognizes the achievements of an older graduate who values and represents lifelong learning.

Humanities students Daniella Camacho, Danielle Narciso, Vivian Ngo and Ileana Perez were named the university’s inaugural Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows. Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program aims to increase opportunities for students planning to pursue doctoral degrees.

Health science graduate Jocelyn Pineda was honored in May with the Center for Internships and Community Engagement’s 2018 Extraordinary Acts of Service Award.

Graduate nursing student Adrienne Almada received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship that funded travel to Lucknow, India, and attendance in an intense, two-month immersion into the Urdu Language and the region’s culture.

Master of social work student Andy Le was the 2018 recipient of a Council on Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship. The fellowships were established with the goal of improving the health outcomes of underrepresented and underserved populations by training mental health professionals from similar ethnic groups.

Nicholas Lazzareschi, a graduate counseling student, was one of only 30 students from across the nation to receive a National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship. The scholar has been conducting research into substance abuse counseling specific to men.

Named among “the next generation of public problem solvers,” anthropology graduate student Marco Moreno became the first Titan to receive the Newman Civic Fellowship.

Communications students Abbey Fernandez, Cassidy Jo Fortin and Nathan Jeffers collected two top honors during the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Arts competition in February.

Titans Evelyn Bond and Alyssa Garcia were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to support their master’s or doctoral degree research and training in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields.

A team of student cyber sleuths won second place, with Stanford University finishing in first place, in the national Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

Mathematics scholar Rico Palafox received a 2018 Student Presentation Award in the mathematics and statistics category at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science: The National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Physics student researcher Teresita Ramirez Aguilar is using supercomputers to create and visualize simulations of colliding black holes that produce gravitational waves.

CSUF art students Natalie Martin and Deshon Tyau designed a handblown glass piece for the California State University’s inaugural Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award. They and fellow glass students created 26 glass awards for winning educators throughout the CSU.

Alumni Continue to Reach Higher

Tanya Michnevich Bracco ’95 (B.A. theater arts), executive in charge of production and supervising producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” shared tales of her time at Cal State Fullerton, her career trajectory and the power of internships during a September visit to her alma mater.

Business alumnus Kevin Chiu ’14, co-founder of Catalyst Software, was named to the 2019 Forbes “30 Under 30” listing for enterprise technology.

Alumnus and wildlife biologist Calvin Duncan won the 2018 Giles T. Brown Outstanding Thesis Award — one of the university’s most prestigious student awards — for his graduate thesis about Catalina’s bison population.

Biochemistry alumna Stacy G. Guzman won the 2018 Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Research Award from the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.

Business alumnus Victor Macias ’09 and his partner Kristoffer Quiaoit got a sweet deal following their appearance on the Nov. 25 episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The founders of Nui, a low-carb, low-sugar cookie company, made a success pitch that garnered a $300,000 offer in funding from former Yankee great Alex Rodriguez.

Long-time softball head athletic trainer Julie Max ’78 (B.S. physical education) received the Judi Garman Determination award given to people who have made a long-lasting impact on the Cal State Fullerton softball program.

Tom Ranier ’73 (B.A. music) became the fifth recipient of the Titans of Music award. The composer and accompanist has arranged music for multiple Academy Awards and a slew of TV and film productions, as well as notable performers such as Andrea Bocelli.

Physics alumna Linda Spilker ’77 made history as part of NASA’s Cassini mission, the unmanned spacecraft that has made remarkable discoveries about Saturn, and its moons and rings.

Four Titan alumni were named Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program scholars, including Kate Bayhan, Ernesto Lopez, Mercy Tran-Dubongco and Adrian Valadez.