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The Mount honored excellence in its undergraduate students in April. Pictured are President's Award winners from the Chalon Campus (l-r) Tameka Watson, Christina Villagomez, Amber Tucker, Mariangely Solis-Cervera, Brittany Saldana, Nancy Saavedra, Melanie Reyes, Jeanne Ngo, Magdalena Lopez, Jacqueline Larios, Rosemary Cuevas, Elizabeth Canales, Iral Brito and Joanna Adams.

Mount Honors Excellence in 2012 Graduates

April 26, 2012 -- Mount Saint Mary’s University celebrated excellence in its 2012 graduating classes during two award ceremonies in April on the Chalon and Doheny campuses. (For more on this year's commencement, click here).

The College honored 14 baccalaureate students during Mary's Day on the Chalon Campus with the prestigious President's Award. The award is presented to students who are involved in the total college environment, and who have been transformed by the college experience. Breadth of interests as well as scope of responsibilities are included in the criteria. Additionally, recipients are known for their generosity of spirit and personal warmth. They are:

Joanna Adams: This Nursing major with a 3.766 grade point average has excelled in the challenging field of nursing, achieving the Dean’s List and maintaining a president’s scholarship. And as busy as she has been in clinicals and coursework, she completed a residency with the Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Program, she served as a student manager and the Arts and Culture Events Coordinator for the Student Programming and Commuter Services Office, truly helping commuter students to find greater college involvement opportunities. Similarly, as the Events Coordinator for the Alpha Tau Delta Nursing Fraternity, she enriched the lives of her fellow nursing students.

Iral Brito: She has been a Leadership Scholar, Student Ambassador, Project T.H.I.N.K. program manager, Cambodian Family volunteer and an Enright Scholarship recipient. Amazingly, she did all of this while maintaining a 3.78 grade point average as a Social Work major and she completed a Senior Honors Thesis. She is a member of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society of Social Science and was the recipient of the Cambodian Family Achievement Award and the Sr. Magdalen Coughlin Outstanding Ambassador of the Year award. Her volunteer work includes visiting the homeless, serving as a Volunteer in Partnership or VIP and as a St. Joseph Hospice Clinical Volunteer. She is planning to intern in Washington, D.C., through the Institute of Philanthropy and Voluntary Service, and to pursue a master's degree in social work.

Elizabeth Canales: This Leadership Scholar, Orientation Leader, ISAE member and Admissions Associate, is a Political Science major with a minor in Business and International Relations. She has truly found her voice during her time at the Mount, and has stretched and challenged herself by participation in the Public Leadership Education Network and through her studies abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she volunteered with Grupo De Mujeres de la Argentina, assisting with women’s rights and HIV awareness, visiting courtrooms and translating documents in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. This was followed with a visit to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Lima, Peru where she helped in their recreation and after school center by tutoring local children in Campo Chico, Lima. She represented the Mount in Sacramento, meeting with state representatives to argue in support of Cal Grants. Four days after she graduates, she is going to Ghana, Africa, to volunteer with Water Brigades to help build a water irrigation system for a community in need. She plans to pursue a PhD program in Latin American and Iberian studies and become a professor.

Rosemary Cuevas: She has earned a 3.6 grade point average with a major in business administration and an emphasis in accounting. She has completed several distinguished internships in corporate management and auditing and will surely be successful in her chosen career of accounting. She truly made an impact on the life of students here at the Mount, serving as a resident assistant and then as a head resident assistant, planning activities, intervening in emergencies, lending a wise and friendly ear and managing a budget for student programs. She is full of life and energy, and students gravitate to her because of her upbeat personality. Although she has been deeply involved in Residence Life, her passion for academics assured her place on the Dean’s List every semester during her time at the Mount, and her membership in the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, Sigma Beta Delta, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Jacqueline Larios: She has been a key contributor to the management of the Student Ambassador Program, helping high school students to achieve their dream of going to college. She has literally helped hundreds, if not thousands of students, realize these dreams. She was also active in the Associated Student Body as Sophomore and Senior Senator, was a Volunteer in Partnership and an Orientation Leader. She served on the Senior Gift Committee, the Commencement Committee and the Inauguration Committee. Her work in the community is equally notable at the Adams Street Soup Kitchen, the St. Francis Center, feeding the homeless, the AIDS Walk, Invitation to Serve, and Major Villaraigosa’s Summer Nights Program for Youth. And she did all of this while maintaining a 3.46 GPA, achieving the Dean’s List and applying to graduate school in her chosen field of Social Work, with plans to run a non-profit organization for disenfranchised youth.

Magdalena Lopez: This future psychologist has maintained a 3.77 grade point average while distinguishing herself in both the academic and student life arenas. She has been a Leadership Scholar, an Orientation Leader, a MARC scholar, an officer in Amnesty International and a Student Ambassador. She presented her research at the MSMU Academic Symposium, and at Cal State Northridge, investigating stereotype structure and its relationship to stereotype maintenance and change. Her community-based activities are plentiful and include volunteering at Alexandria House, St. Vincent’s School and the Child Development Center. She has been recognized through multiple awards, including a Certificate of Recognition for an Outstanding Poster Presentation at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, Leadership Scholar Program Recognition, the award for Excellent Academic Achievement in Psychology, Phi Theta Kappa Recognition and the Laurel Wreath Award.

Jeanne Ngo: This high-achieving Biology major has a 3.586 grade point average and has demonstrated that she is a fine researcher, a true leader and a generous colleague. As a MARC USTAR Research Trainee, she worked at UCLA in the Neurology department, studying encephalitis and infantile epilepsy. She interned at the National Institute of Health, at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and here at Mount St. Mary’s. She presented her research at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorities, the Women in Science and Health Symposium, and at the National Institute of Health Poster Day, in Bethesda, MD. Not only is she an academic achiever, but she has also been involved in many other aspects of life at the Mount. She served as a Resident Assistant, a student affairs employee, an ISAE peer advisor and a lifeguard instructor. She is a leader in the Women in Science and Health club and tutors in the Scholar Mentor Club. She was an Orientation Leader and was consistently on the Dean’s List. She plans a career in regenerative medicine.

Melanie Reyes: This student is a Social Work major who has excelled both in academic and student life. She participated in the Adopt-a-Freshman Mentor Program, volunteered at the Carondelet Senior Center, the Adam’s Harbor Feeding the Homeless Program and for Children of the Night. She worked for the Salvation Army Siemon Family and Youth Center, was a research assistant for the Sociology Department, and was an Advocate for the Peace over Violence Domestic Abuse Response Team. With a grade point average of 3.91, she was continually on the Dean’s List, served as a teaching assistant for the Freshman Seminar, and was the recipient of multiple scholarships, including the Elsie Card Music Award. She was selected to represent Mount Saint Mary’s University at the 23rd Annual National Service Learning Conference in Minneapolis. She has been accepted into the graduate program in Social Work at Columbia University.

Nancy Saavedra: This nursing major has achieved a 3.546 grade point average while fully participating college life where she made a difference in the lives of her fellow students. She is involved in the ISAE program as a peer advisor and is communications chair in Latinas Unidas. Her other club activities included Alpha Tau Delta, the professional nursing fraternity, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Sociology and Gerontology Association. She was instrumental in coordinating “Make the Cut”, a program that encourages college women to donate their hair to cancer patients, especially women and children. She served as an Orientation Leader, participated in feeding the homeless, and as a patient care service aid. She has achieved the Dean’s List, the Sister Berenice Honorary Scholarship, the Outstanding Leader Award and the Cheryl Mabey Award for Distinguished Service in Student Affairs.

Brittany Saldana: You would probably recognize this student because she is always smiling and because you can find her everywhere. She has been involved in so many clubs, organizations, and leadership positions over the past 4 years. During this time she has grown into a mature, caring, and inspiring woman. Since her freshman year, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in higher education, and so she set out to learn as much as she could about student life. She worked in the office of Student Affairs, was the freshman senator for ASB, became a Resident Assistant and was a member of Latinas Unidas, serving on their External Public Relations Executive Board. She was a member of the Sociology and Gerontology Club and the Spanish Club. She studied abroad in Costa Rica and returned to campus with even greater zeal for participation and excellence. This double major in Psychology and Spanish has been a Leadership Scholar, an ISAE Peer Advisor and a Student Ambassador, helping high school students to see college in their future. She was a superb example to these students because she herself excelled and maintained a 3.606 grade point average, consistently earning a place on the Dean’s List, proving you can do it all and do it well. She has decided to pursue a graduate degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs and has already been accepted to Azusa Pacific University.

Mariangely Solis-Cervera: This amazing student started her college career at the Mount with a lot of energy and never stopped. As a freshman, she worked in the Office of Student Programming and Commuter Services as the Commuter Assistant, organizing educational and social activities for commuter students so that they would feel connected to campus. As a sophomore, she was a Resident Assistant and her residents felt that she was a reliable person to talk to when they were in crisis; she developed fun and educational programs, and she handled herself with poise and confidence during challenging situations. During the summer before her junior year, she was a CSJ Volunteer, traveling to San Francisco to serve the homeless, then returning to be an Orientation Assistant. She studied for a semester in Costa Rica taking courses in Advanced Spanish, Human Rights, History, and Social Development. And during her senior year, she served as a Student Ambassador and as a Peer Mentor for the new iCommunidad Program. She did all this along with volunteering at a pre-school, tutoring at the Learning Center, being the Culture Chair for Latinas Unidas, serving as a teaching assistant for the Freshman Seminar and giving tours to prospective students as a VIP. Her academic performance has been superb and she has earned a 3.857 grade point average, was consistently on the Dean’s List, received the Human Rights award in 2011, the Miguel De Cervantes (Spanish Academic Excellence Award), and the Enright Scholarship. This double major in Sociology with an emphasis in Human Rights and Global Studies and in Spanish has been accepted into the Teach for America program and will be teaching in Texas for the next two years.

Amber Tucker: This biology major with a 3.43 grade point average has served as a research assistant and has had the honor of presenting her research at the Neuroscience Conference in San Diego. She worked as a Clinical Care Extender at St. Mary's Medical Center for two and a half years, while also immersing herself deeply in college life, serving as a Resident Assistant, a manager in Campus Ministry and as a member of Pi Theta Mu. She is known to be extremely responsible and hard-working and this has paid off in her achievements, with recognition on the Dean’s List, as a recipient of the Excellence in Genetics Award, the Excellence in Molecular Biology Award and the Resident Advisor Award. Even when faced with challenges, she remains optimistic and balanced as a student and as a leader. She is applying for the St. Joseph worker program for a year of volunteer service out of state and then she plans to attend medical school to become an emergency room trauma physician.

Christina Villagomez: In her second year at the College, Villagomez was elected ASB co-president of the Associate in Arts Program on the Doheny campus. She has been an orientation leader, and served as the Mount Events Chair for the Chalon Associated Student Body. She has been a campus tour guide and a resident assistant, was involved in the Police Activity League and in the Common Grounds HIV Community Center. During her time here she was on the Dean’s list and received the Outstanding Leadership and Laurel Wreath awards. She also is a Leadership Scholar, an intern at the Carondelet Center and an active member of Theta Alpha Sigma sorority and Latinas Unidas. She now serves as the Chalon ASB President and as a role model for her peers.

Tameka Watson: This hard-working, brilliant biochemistry student has an amazing academic record. From her first year she was honored for excellence, receiving the Outstanding Freshman in Biology Award and the Outstanding Freshman in Chemistry award. She also received awards in biological sciences and bioethics. Her grades are exemplary, with a 3.847 grade point average, and consistent presence on the Dean’s List. She is a talented researcher, with experience at the National Institutes of Health in Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, at the USC Keck Shool of Medicine, and the Step-up Program at UCLA. She has tutored in multiple subjects in the sciences, including genetics, physics, and general chemistry, earning the Tutor of the Year Award. She has presented her work at conferences, including the American Chemical Society conferences and Southern California Conferences for Undergraduates. She has volunteered in hospitals, and is a peer advisor for ISAE. She served as treasurer and vice president of the Women in Science and Health club. She intends to pursue a career in biomedical research.

Laurel Day on the Doheny Campus honored three students with Outstanding Laurel Awards for their high academic achievement and great enthusiasm in college activities. Each of these students is transferring to the Chalon Campus to pursue baccalaureate degrees. They are:

Alba Arana: Vicepresident of the Doheny Student Body, Arana is graduating with an AA degree in human services and transferring to the baccalaureate program to study sociology. She served as a college ambassador at Alexandria House, volunteered to give campus tours with admissions and enjoyed working on the College's March 2012 presidential inauguration.

Amanda Chavez: President of the Doheny Student Body, Chavez is graduating with her AA degree in Human Services and transferring to the baccalaureate program at Chalon to study sociology with an emphasis in medical sociology. Chavez especially enjoyed contributing to the presidential inauguration.

Joselyn Marroquin: She is graduating with a degree in early childhood education and transferring to the baccalaureate program to study child development. Marroquin has worked for the AA Dean’s Office for two years and has helped with the Parent Workshop, does Campus tours and won the outstanding student teacher award in the Early Childhood Program.

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