June 1, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 17

Outstanding Graduates Honored at Northridge Convocation

Precious Singson is 2004 Wolfson Scholar; Educator Yvonne Chan Gives Keynote Address

Cal State Northridge officials saluted the university's top graduates at Northridge's annual Honors Convocation on June 1. More than 1,200 graduating seniors and master's degree candidates were invited to participate in the University Club event.

CSUN alumna Yvonne Chan, principal at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima,(right) delivered the keynote address. Chan is considered a leader in the national charter school movement. Vaughn Next Century was one of the first charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Precious Grace Singson of North Hills, 25, was named this year's Wolfson Scholar,(left) an honor given each year to the university's top graduating senior. Born and raised in the Philippines, Singson is a double major who earned bachelor's degrees in history and Asian American studies.

After moving to the U.S. in 1996, she found university fees challenging. To help support herself while in school, Singson sold Filipino hand made products at flea markets.

During spring 2004, she helped rebuild the Asian Activities Center (Asian House) on campus and worked as a teaching assistant for an interdisciplinary class on current Los Angeles issues. She will begin doctoral studies in history this fall at UCLA, and plans to become a university professor.

Six other exceptional students received special recognition at the convocation for their outstanding academic performance and contributions to the community.

Tracy Bachman of Valencia, 38, is earning her master's in English. She has been selected by the President's Associates as this year's recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

The Association of Retired Faculty Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduate Student is Terrence Thorpe, 30, of Sylmar. He is earning his master's in political science.

Outstanding Graduating Seniors Award recipients are:

Renee Festa, 32, of Reseda. Festa, a single mother and full-time student, will receive her bachelor's degree in child and adolescent development. She spent more than 200 hours of community service working with high risk preschool children. Festa was invited to present a paper at the International Child and Youth Care Conference in Victoria, Canada, a rare opportunity for an undergraduate student.

Nancy Landa, 23, of South Los Angeles. Landa will earn a bachelor's degree in information systems. An immigrant from Mexico and the first college graduate in her family, Landa was the first Latina president of Associated Students this past year.

Keith Onstad, 38, of Van Nuys. A double major, Onstad will receive bachelor's degrees in English and religious studies. He will return to CSUN this fall as a graduate teaching assistant in English composition, and will pursue a master's degree in creative writing.

Jeany Prasithpramote, 22, of Northridge. Prasithpramote also is a double major, earning bachelor's degrees in accounting and finance. She runs CSUN's acclaimed Volunteer Income Tax Assistance tax preparation program serving the low-income community.

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