Fresno State named its nine Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists for the class of 2015 on Tuesday.
Each medalist is recognized as the outstanding student in one of the university’s eight schools and colleges of academic discipline and the Division of Student Affairs. The dean of each college and school selects an undergraduate medalist and a graduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements.
One of the medalists will be named the President’s Medalist, Fresno State’s top academic honor, at the 104th commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Save Mart Center.
All nine medalists are from the San Joaquin Valley, including two from Tulare.
•Armando Guzman, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology:
One of six boys born to Mexican immigrants, he graduated as salutatorian from Tulare Western High School. While at Fresno State, Guzman engaged in a variety of research projects and assisted other students with additional studies related to weed science. He co-authored a presentation accepted to the 2015 annual meeting of the Weed Science Society of America, presented in Lexington, Kentucky. He had a 3.95 GPA.
•Joseph M. Bohigian, College of Arts and Humanities:
Bohigian, from Clovis, is a Smittcamp Family Honors Scholar who has been playing music since age 5. He had a 4.0 GPA. He is president of the Fresno State Composers’ Guild and founder and president of the New Music Ensemble at Fresno State. His original compositions have been performed in international venues in Armenia, Germany, Portugal and Brazil, in addition to venues across the U.S. Of particular note, he curated and performed in a concert for the Composer’s Voice Concert Series in New York City in 2014. He also composed a work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which was performed in Fresno and Los Angeles.
•Renan Rocha Lopes de Lima, Craig School of Business:
Lopes de Lima, of Tulare, emigrated from Brazil when he was 8. He is a Smittcamp Family Honors Scholar with a 4.0 GPA. He has held leadership positions with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization and helped organize projects including Startup Weekend, a three-day event where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs discover whether startup ideas are viable. He participated in the Entrepreneurship Mentor Program, an extensive program that matches community leaders with students.
•Elizabeth Olenchalk, Kremen School of Education and Human Development:
Olenchalk, from Sonora, had a 3.58 GPA concentrating in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with an Urban Civic Education minor, which prepares students to become change agents who seek to address community issues, and a minor in Co-Curricular Leadership. In 2014, she received national recognition by being honored with the Newman Civic Fellows Award from Campus Compact. She works for Clovis Unified School District’s Campus Club, where she received a Clovis Unified School District 2014 Most Valuable Player award for community outreach efforts. She also was awarded the John D. Welty Excellence in Community Service Scholarship.
•Kelsey Hoffman, Lyles College of Engineering:
Hoffman, of Fresno, had a 3.78 GPA. One of her accomplishments was leading the planning and implementation team that hosted the American Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Pacific Civil Engineering competitions in 2014, which attracted more than 1,000 guests. Her awards include the Outstanding Civil Engineering Student of the Year. She also has volunteered with several organizations, including Fresno Community Food Bank, Campus Life Leadership, Youth for Christ, the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Schools Program and a dance marathon fundraiser.
•Marine Vardanyan, College of Health and Human Services:
Vardanyan, born in post-Soviet Armenia, grew up in Fresno. She had a 3.97 GPA. She served as editor and writer for Armenian student newspaper Hye Sharzhoom, which sparked her decision to minor in Mass Communication and Journalism. She was heavily involved with USU Productions as a coordinator and helped organize “Just Roll With It: An Evening with the Walk and Roll Foundation,” an organization dedicated to raising awareness of spinal cord injuries. She also regularly volunteers her time to host the KFSR radio show, Hye Oozh. In addition, she completed an internship in Armenia at Civil Net News Agency as a writer, translator and researcher. She volunteered more than 300 hours at Community Regional Medical Center in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Burn Unit and others.
•Jamie Chang, College of Science and Mathematics:
The biology major from Fresno had a 4.0 GPA. He has a double-minor in chemistry and mathematics. Raised by parents who emigrated from Taiwan, he became interested in his field because his best friend in high school suffered from a genetically sbased congenital lung condition. He serves as an academic research associate at Community Regional Medical Center, where he is assisting in a toxicology study regarding treatment regimens of Tylenol overdose. He plans to attend medical school to specialize in the field of neurosurgery.
•Megi Hakobjanyan, College of Social Sciences:
The political sciences major from Fresno had a 4.0 GPA and is a Smittcamp Family Honors Scholar. Born and raised in Armenia, she immigrated to the U.S. in 2007. With support from grants and scholarships, she attended the European Student Conference at Yale, spent a semester at the Charles University in Prague and served as an intern at the Armenian Embassy of the Czech Republic, among other activities. She is working with Dr. Bradley Hart to translate the Mitrochin Archives from Russian to English.
•Moses Menchaca, Division of Student Affairs:
Menchaca, a first-generation college student from Patterson, completed a bachelor’s in political science with a 3.7 GPA. His minors are in general business and philosophy. He served two terms in student government as President and CEO of Associated Students, Inc.