Education Buzz for Sunday, May 29

National Merit scholarships awarded

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners – several of which were awarded to Fresno-area students.

The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Finalists in each state were judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Local winners are:

  • Jena Srikanth, Clovis North High School
  • Fayyaz R. Ahamed, University High School
  • David Y. Wu, University High School

Dean picked for leadership program

A dean at Fresno Pacific University will be one of 30 higher education administrators participating in a national leadership development program.

Ron Herms, dean of the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences, will be part of the 2016-17 Senior Leadership Academy. The academy is designed to prepare prospective leaders to assume positions as the chief officers in any division – including academic affairs, student affairs, finance, enrollment management and advancement – in independent higher education.

As a pastor and professor, Herms is in his first university administrative role.

Participants will receive mentoring, work with experts in various aspects of higher education administration, participate in webinars, engage in a series of readings and case studies and follow a plan to “fill the gaps” needed for career advancement.

AT&T donates to WIT, West Hills

AT&T contributed $20,000 to support courses in programming, residential electrical and mobile air conditioning in rural Fresno County.

The money will be used by Westside Institute of Technology and West Hills College Coalinga to offer the courses during the 2016-17 school year.

The funds cover the cost of materials and supplies for residential electrical and mobile air conditioning classes, which are part of West Hills College Coalinga’s adult education program.

Fresno State partners with startup Banjo

Fresno State became the first university in the country to use Banjo’s software, which allows journalists a view of breaking news events throughout social media platforms.

Banjo organizes the world’s social and digital signal by location based on geo-data analysis and photo and video classification that creates a unique ability to notify global media outlets of breaking news, said broadcast journalism professor Faith Sidlow.

A Fresno State alum, Victor Hernandez, serves in a senior leadership role at Banjo.

Since the launch of the partnership with the 5-year-old startup, the software has been used by students in six mass communication and journalism courses and by staff members of the university’s student-run newspaper, The Collegian.

UC Merced young writers academy comes to Fresno

Local fifth- and sixth-graders interested in writing can now register for the University of California, Merced Bobcat Young Writers Academy in Fresno, July 25-29.

The Fresno academy is a condensed version of the program offered each summer at the UC Merced Fresno Center, at 550 E. Shaw Ave. Registration is $135 and the initial form is available at

The academy is run by a UC Merced Writing Project teacher consultant, and will guide students on building their writing, editing and revising skills.

Tulare district’s CTE program honored

The Tulare Joint Union High School district farm’s Agriculture Education program was recognized May 24 for its innovation and impact in career technical education with a national Excellence in Action award from Advance CTE, a nonprofit advocacy group for career technical education.

Tulare was one of only 11 programs selected nationally for its coursework, work-based learning experiences and its support of students transitioning to post-secondary education and employment opportunities.