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University Recognizes Outstanding 2021 Graduates

Thu May 6, 2021

More than 4,400 students are expected to graduate from Cal State San Marcos this academic year, including six standouts from the Class of 2021 who are receiving special recognition for their achievements.

Honorees were nominated by faculty or staff and endorsed by their college’s dean. Here is a closer look at each award recipient:

 

Kodie Gerritsen, visual and performing arts and physics

President's Outstanding Graduate

Dean’s Award, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences

Gerritsen is a double major who was lauded for their avid curiosity and adventurous scholarship.

Nominating professor Lucy HG Solomon noted that Gerritsen is not only an outstanding student, but a talented artist and a curious scientist who is engaged with the community. Since 2017, Solomon has worked closely with Gerritsen on digital art projects that tie into the environment and social justice and on interdisciplinary endeavors that combine art and science.

Among Gerritsen’s accomplishments are the work they did with Solomon on an interactive art piece called “Degenerative Cultures” that uses living organisms and artificial intelligence to comment on social networks. Gerritsen also worked on the Jaguar Umbrella Project, which included kits for schoolchildren to explain the importance of jaguars as umbrella species in the Amazon rainforest.

Gerritsen was a STEAM ambassador who designed and delivered curriculum on art and science to K-12 students, bringing craft, sculpture, color theory and the science of rainbows together in an engaging hands-on activity.

Learn more about Gerritsen’s achievements here.

 

Christine Briggs, literature and writing studies

Dean’s Award, Office of Graduate Studies and Research

Briggs stood out for her outstanding record of achievement in the literature and writing studies master’s program, which included presenting award-winning original research, serving as an exemplary teaching associate and addressing timely issues in the original research for her master’s thesis.

Rebecca Lush, who served as research director of Briggs’ thesis and taught her in two advanced-level courses, noted that Briggs has shown the makings of a promising research career during her time in the master’s program, and the work she produced is suitable for consideration for peer-review publication.

Briggs presented her original literary research at major national conferences and was awarded the “Best Essay” prize by the Margaret Atwood Society in 2018 for her research on the novel “Cat’s Eye,” a project that started her graduate-level work in feminist literary studies and paved the way for the methodological concerns and practices that she used in what eventually became her culminating thesis.

 

Sofia Davis, Master of Public Health

Dean’s Award, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Davis had a stellar academic career while also supporting friends, family and community members during the pandemic.

After earning her bachelor’s in global health from UC San Diego, Davis maintained a 4.0 grade-point average while being consistently lauded by her instructors at CSUSM.

Davis has worked as a volunteer contact tracer for the CSUSM COVID Management Team, which helps infected individuals understand the virus and care options. Her efforts help keep the campus community safe while minimizing the risk of virus transmission.

Davis also works with different agencies to help provide services and coordinate care. She has been an intern at Palomar Medical Center for seven years, including nearly four years as part of the internship’s leadership team. She has also served as a medical scribe at a family medicine clinic in Escondido, ensuring that patient needs are documented accurately as they go through care and treatment.

Davis plans to attend medical school to become a primary care pediatrician.

 

Zsuzsanna Dianovics, computer science and information systems

Dean’s Award, College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Dianovics was honored for her exceptional academic record, undergraduate research experience, impressive leadership achievements and significant participation in community outreach.

Dianovics excelled in two computer science courses taught by professor Nahid Majd, which led Majd to encourage Dianovics to apply to the 2020 Summer Scholars research program. Dianovics was accepted into the program and worked on a research project on blockchain technology, an emerging technology in cybersecurity. She presented her research at both the Summer Scholar showcase last August and the CSUSM undergraduate research showcase in December.

Dianovics also prepared a scholarly manuscript based on the research she did in the summer program and submitted it to the 2021 Computer Science Conference for CSU Undergraduates hosted by CSU Monterey Bay. The paper was accepted, and she presented her research at the conference in March.

Dianovics plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science.

 

Christian Galvis, global supply chain management

Dean’s Award, College of Business Administration

Galvis excelled both academically and through his numerous service accomplishments.

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Galvis credits his military experience for helping to hone his values of commitment, perseverance, self-worth and volunteering.

Those values were at the forefront of his time at CSUSM. In his first semester, Galvis helped revive the Student Veterans Organization after a two-year absence. Galvis also served as president of the Global Supply Chain Management Society for the past year, keeping members engaged virtually throughout the pandemic. He also helped spearhead CoBA’s first virtual career fair and a second successful event this spring.

Galvis collaborated with other student organizations to develop best practices on retaining members during the virtual environment, and he served as a resource for other student society presidents who are new to their positions.

Galvis has accepted a position at global communications company Viasat as a procurements specialist upon graduation.

 

Gladys Guzman Guizar, sociology and criminology and justice studies

Dean’s Award, Dean of Students

Guzman Guizar excelled academically while also making lasting contributions to student life at CSUSM.

Guzman Guizar has been dedicated to social justice initiatives, including the DREAMer Resource Office and the creation of the HUMAN Club. She is also an active member of University Without Borders, playing a key role in providing support to students from diverse backgrounds and ensuring that CSUSM provides a diverse, equitable and inclusive space where all students can be comfortable and successful. Her contributions to diversity and inclusiveness were recognized last fall as a 2020 recipient of the President’s Student Champion Award for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity.

Guzman Guizar has worked to help students develop a sense of belonging on campus through her roles as a peer adviser for the Office of Academic Advising and a student assistant at the DREAMer Resource Office.

Guzman Guizar plans to attend law school to pursue immigration law so she can help the undocumented community.

Read more about Guzman Guizar here.