California State University, Dominguez Hills’ graduating Class of 2015 has a lot to offer. This is just a sample of the close to 4,000 graduates who will become the next generation of scientists, researchers, artists, experts and leaders in the workforce.
Cassandra Maddux, B.S., biochemistry, magna cum laude
Scholarships, accolades and associations: Minority Biomedical Research Support program (MBRS-RISE); Phi Kappa Phi honors society; Undergraduate Toxicology Education Travel Award at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology; and took a second place prize during the 2015 CSUDH Student Research Day.
Maddux has been offered fully funded five-year scholarships in several prestigious Ph.D. programs, including University of California, Riverside; University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Boise State University; and UC Merced, which she has accepted and will begin classes in the fall 2015 to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical biology. After earning her Ph.D., Maddux plans to do research in either a government or industrial lab, working on energy sciences.
“At Cal State Dominguez Hills, I have changed from an inexperienced high schooler to a confident science graduate. CSUDH helped focus me on my career and prepared me for it,” said Maddux. “Networking is the most important thing I learned while at CSUDH. Our school isn’t very big, but I wanted to do big things. So I needed to network and meet people who had the connections and who could help me achieve what I wanted to achieve. I learned to be active in my pursuit of knowledge. I fought for what I wanted. I was never handed anything for free.”
Joseph Nolasco, B.S., clinical science with an option in medical technology, magna cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: CSUDH Presidential Outstanding Student Award; Phi Kappa Phi honor society; Passport to Leadership; served as the CSUDH representative at the American Cancer Society’s Southern California Relay for Life Leadership Conference; and took first place in the Clinical Laboratory Management Association – Greater Los Angeles Chapter’s Essay Contest.
After graduation, Nolasco plans to take the ASCP Medical Laboratory Scientist certification examination to obtain his license and start a career saving lives. In the future, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in health or business administration or obtain a specialist certification in the field.
“I have a long-standing relationship with CSUDH, so to say that I’ve changed here is an understatement; in fact, I grew up here. I attended the high school on campus, the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS), during which we took college courses alongside the university students,” he said. “When I was 17, I never would have considered interning, taking on a leadership position, or volunteering in the community. Now, those very things play a very important part of my life. I’ve come a long way from that boy who didn’t quite know what he wanted to do in the world to the person I am today.”
Christopher Odudu, B.S., psychology, summa cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: McNair Fellow; the Male Success Alliance in which he received the Academic Achievement Award; Psychology Club; Pre-Health Society; Psi-Chi hHonors society; and he received a Student Research Fellows Program grant.
Odudu will launch his Ph.D. in developmental psychology in fall 2015.
“The mentor that has really impacted in my life at CSUDH is Matthew Smith, director of the MSA program. He has been a constant source of support since I transferred to CSUDH. He encouraged me every step in my academic journey by simply meeting with me and talking about life,” said Odudu. “But where he has truly impacted my life the most is with his dedication to connecting with people and finding out their story.”
Suzanne Rodriguez, B.A., liberal studies, summa cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: Presidential Scholar.
Rodriguez will enter a credential program in special education at CSUDH.
“Never stop believing in yourself and access the resources that are available here at Cal State Dominguez Hills because there’s always someone willing to help you if you need it,” she said. “I’m one of nine siblings and one of the first in my family to graduate college. So it’s a big deal for me to walk across that stage and have my family know that they can do it, too.”
Michael Cayton, B.S., finance, summa cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: Presidential Scholar.
Cayton plans on getting a job in aerospace with the hopes it will pay his graduate school tuition.
“I gained a love for education at Cal State Dominguez Hills. I’m going back to graduate school here,” he said. “I figured out that I can do this if I really put my mind to it. Graduation is a recognition of my accomplishments and hard work.”
Marina Armendariz, B.A., psychology, summa cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: McNair Fellow; Sally Casanova Pre-Doctorate Fellow; Psychology Club; and the Psi-Chi honors society.
Armendariz will pursue her Ph.D. in viral behavioral health at Penn State University. Her research will focus on chronic illness, nutrition and stress and how it effects the cardiovascular system.
“Interacting with other students and the great faculty at Cal State Dominguez Hills helped me become a leader,” said Armendariz. “I’ve grown so much here, both personally and professionally. I used to be really shy, so this university has really brought me out of my shell. I hope to take all the things I’ve experienced at this university away with me.”
Anthony Jones, B.S., biochemistry, cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: 2015 Presidential Award for Personal Perseverance; MBRS-RISE program; the Phi Kappa Phi honor society; and the Lois W. Chi Emeritus Faculty Science Scholarship.
Jones, who was accepted to seven doctoral programs, has chosen to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA. After completing his graduate education, he hopes to launch his own biotechnology company focusing on the development of therapeutics for cancer.
“Although many professors at CSUDH have played an instrumental role in my development as a scholar, I believe that Professor Barbara Belmont has impacted my life the most,” said Jones. “Initially, I took her quantitative analysis class as a new transfer student without many laboratory skills; however, she helped me develop proper laboratory techniques. She has also been a constant support system for me at CSUDH and at Caltech during my summer research fellowship.”
Desiree Collins, B.S., accounting, cum laude.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: Delta Mu Delta honors society; Phi Kappa Phi honors society.
“The education I received here at Cal State Dominguez Hills was excellent. I applied myself rigorously; I really wanted to learn,” said Collins. “What I’ll take away from this university will be very helpful in my career as a financial analyst for UPS, a job I already have, which will be transitioning into full-time work after graduation. After three to five years of experience in the workforce I may go back to graduate school.
“Graduation is a huge accomplishment. I worked so hard and stayed up so many nights. Now I’ve arrived.”
Yessenia Magana: B.A., psychology.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: McNair Fellow; president of PsychLink; and member of the Psychology Club.
Magana plans to pursue her Ph.D. in educational psychology at Oklahoma State University starting fall 2015. Her research will focus on adolescent development and academic motivation and achievement.
“The faculty here really helped me grow a lot. They were very helpful and motivating,” said Magana. “They have all the tools and provide the great instruction we need to succeed. I love that this is a smaller campus because you get to have those one-on-one relationships with your mentors if you really seek them out and meet with them.”
Francis Kenneth Anunciacion: B.A., behavioral science, cum laude.
Anunciacion is self-employed through his website franciskenneth.com. He also plans to pursue employment and start graduate school next year.
“I got a change of perspective at Cal State Dominguez Hills. I came out of the military [Navy] with a very narrow vision. So getting to come here and study behavioral science–along with the support of my professors–has really changed my perspective and opened my mind to a lot of things.”
Saidah Isoke: B.A., sociology.
Scholarships, accolades and associations: McNair Fellow; president of the Resident Student Association; and housing liaison for Associated Students, Inc.
Isoke will pursue her M.A. in Womens Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. Her research will focus on race, gender and sexuality in the African-American community. She will also be teaching for the McNair Scholars Program in summer 2015.
“I really came into myself at Cal State Dominguez Hills. I think the people in the McNair Scholars program and housing, and the overall student population, are so welcoming. It was very easy to be myself and find out more of who I am. I’m indebted to this campus for that reason.”