News Release| 2013 Commencement; Cal State L.A.

June 14, 2013

Early entrance graduates in CSULA’s Class of 2013

EEP students range in age from 15-21 years old

Los Angeles, CA Fourteen Early Entrance Program (EEP) students—most of them still teenagers—will receive their baccalaureate degrees at Cal State L.A.’s two-day Commencement ceremonies Friday-Saturday, June 14 and 15

Under the auspices of the University’s Honors College, EEP admits extraordinarily gifted youngsters, some as young as 11, directly into Cal State L.A. and provides them with monitored evaluation, counseling, and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers.

Here is EEP’s Class of 2013, ranging from 15-21 years old (listed alphabetically):

Adrian Berliner (Culver City), 16, biochemistry major and psychology minor. Berliner, who is a graduating cum laude, will be conducting research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after graduating from Cal State L.A. He plans to apply to a Ph.D. program in biochemistry next fall. He described his goal as to work on discovering the mechanisms by which life functions on a molecular level, and leveraging this knowledge to benefit others. His current research project investigates the interaction of Drp32 protein to understand why tumors grow resistant and how they can be targeted. At CSULA, he served as president of the EEP Senior Class, president of EEP Club, events chair of the Music Appreciation Club, and member of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club.

Maggie Edge (Calabasas), 19, English major and a minor in religious studies. A Dean’s List student, Edge is planning to apply to graduate school after achieving her bachelor’s degree from Cal State L.A. this month. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in English literature with the hope of teaching at the college level. Edge has served as a tutor, proctor and mentor for EEP. She has also volunteered for the Sally Ride Festival held on campus.

Timothy Jones (La Canada Flintridge), 17, mathematics major. Jones, who plans to become a professor, has been admitted to the Columbia University Ph.D. program in statistics with full funding this coming fall. A Dean’s List student, Jones is graduating magna cum laude and is a member of the CSULA Math Club. He has also conducted a math research project and has volunteered at the Northern Trust Open.

Michael Martinez (Long Beach), 18, chemistry major. Martinez, who will be graduating magna cum laude, has been admitted to Scripps Research Institute Ph.D. program in organic synthetic chemistry with full funding this coming fall. Martinez is a member of the CSULA Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, EEP Club, G.E. Honors Club, SACNAS and the American Chemical Society. Martinez’s accolades include the CSULA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s Freshman in Chemistry Award, the Rashad E. Rasouk Scholarship, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science’s (SACNAS) Outstanding Undergraduate Research Presentation Award. He is also a participant of the Minority Access to Research Careers-Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC-U*STAR) Program at CSULA.

Rena Nakasaka (Downtown Los Angeles), 15, English major. Nakasaka—the youngest graduating senior at Cal State L.A.—will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in English with honors this spring. Nakasaka was admitted to Cal State L.A. at the age of 12 through EEP. She is an active member of the G.E. Honors Club, and has served as secretary of the CSULA Speech and Debate Club. A Dean’s List student, Nakasaka is also a member of CSULA’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter. In the community, she has volunteered for the “Big Sunday” local service organization, helping to build a middle school garden and donating food and supplies to the homeless. After graduation, Nakasaka plans to spend her summer traveling before pursuing her law degree. She has already been accepted to several law schools with scholarships, but has not made her final decision. (She is open to email interviews only.)

Chantal Nguyen (West Covina), 17, physics major and mathematics minor.  Nguyen, who has been accepted to UC Santa Barbara, Penn State and UC San Diego, will be graduating magna cum laude this June. Her goal is to become an astrophysics professor. Nguyen has conducted research at the Spitzer Science Center and participated in the summer research program at Caltech. A recipient of the Roland L. Carpenter Memorial Scholarship, Nguyen is a member of the CSULA Physics & Astronomy Club and the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She is also a founding member and vice president of the CSULA chapter of Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), an organization that helps raise money to provide medical supplies to families in developing nations. 

Hataipreuk Dawy Rkasnuam (Alhambra), 19, political science major and economics minor. Rkasnuam, who is graduating magna cum laude, plans to work with the federal government in improving national social policy. This fall, he has been accepted to graduate programs at the University of Maryland-College Park, Carnegie Mellon University, and UCLA, among others. Rkasnuam is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. He is actively involved with the Amnesty International and the EEP Club at CSULA. He also volunteered at Park Elementary School and the Alhambra Courthouse. 

Jacob Skinner (San Gabriel), 21, computer science major. Skinner plans to start his own video game company and develop video games after graduating from CSULA. A Dean’s List student, he is a member of the award-winning computer science team who participated in the U.S. Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.

Christopher Sorensen (Rancho Palos Verdes), 19, theatre arts and dance major. Sorensen plans to find an internship in the television or film industry after graduation. He also wants to more actively audition for roles and continue to hone his acting, writing, singing and directing skills through workshops and private training. His immediate goal is to complete his recording album and post more frequently on his YouTube music page. He has appeared in many CSULA stage productions, including the most recent performance of “HAIR.” He also has experience in stage managing and light board operation. Sorensen is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Nation Annual Writing Competition.  

Kathy Trang (Los Angeles), 20, psychology and biology dual major. Trang, who is graduating cum laude, was selected for the University’s Phi Kappa Phi Travel Award for the 2012-13 academic year. Upon graduation, Trang will continue with her neurobiological study of psychosexual differentiation and then apply to a doctorate program in transcultural psychiatry for next fall. She is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, EEP Club, Toastmasters, Gender Queer Club, and Chinese Culture Club. She has served as president of Tea & Sex (Prometheus Today), vice president of Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children, and event coordinator for the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. Her accolades include William Hobson and Evelyn Troup Scholarship, UMass Medical School Fellowship, finalist for the CSUPERB Glenn Nagel Award, and second place for the 2012 Toastmasters Speech Competition. 

Caitlyn York (Pasadena), 20, history major. York, who plans to pursue a career in academia or archival work, has been accepted to graduate programs at San Francisco State and the University of Vermont. She is graduating with cum laude honors. She is a member of the G.E. Honors Club, EEP Club and the Phi Alpha Phi National History Honor Society. York has served as a tutor and English instructor in the University Writing Center for a period of three years. She also volunteers as a classroom aide and production assistant at the television station with the Pasadena Unified School District.

Jeffrey Zhang (Temple City), 20, accounting major.  Zhang, who will be graduating magna cum laude, plans to work at one of the top firms in the business industry after graduation. He has interned at the Disney studio in Anaheim. Zhang has served as internal vice president of Beta Alpha Psi, marketing director of the CSULA Accounting Society and executive vice president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  


***Details on Madeline Monroy and Robert Mushkatblat were unavailable at press time.

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