December 1, 2022

Fresno State announces 2022 Graduate Deans’ Medalists

The eight schools and colleges at Fresno State, along with the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, each selected an outstanding student to honor as part of the class of 2022 Graduate Deans’ Medalists.

The deans selected a graduate and undergraduate medalist based on academic excellence, community involvement and other achievements. Fresno State’s Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists were announced April 27.

In mid-May, one medalist from the group below will be announced as the University Graduate Medalist, Fresno State’s top academic honor for a graduate student.

This year’s medalists are:

Joseph Calcagno

Joseph Calcagno, Craig School of Business

Joseph Calcagno, of Coarsegold, earned his Executive Master of Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned a M.S. and B.S. in biomedical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Calcagno sought out an executive MBA to prepare him to take on leadership roles in his work with orthotics and prosthetics. Calcagno made a commitment to step outside of his comfort zone when the pandemic hit to make sure that he and his colleagues could get the best experience possible in the virtual accelerated master’s program. He collaborated with others in his cohort, set up study groups and led group projects resulting in meaningful relationships and a successful academic experience. He did all this while working a fulltime job and having recently welcomed a new baby to his family. Calcagno looks forward to using his new knowledge to make a deeper impact in his organization and the community. He is excited to have more time to spend with his growing family and plans to pass on business knowledge to his sons by starting a small family business in his free time.

Tania Castillo

Tania Castillo

Tania Castillo, College of Social Sciences

Tania Castillo, of Fresno, earned her M.S. in criminology with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in criminology at Fresno State. Castillo came to the United States from Mexico seven years ago to pursue higher education and better life opportunities. She aspires to serve and give back to the community. Her exposure to criminal justice systems in other countries and its effect on vulnerable populations led her to study criminology. At Fresno State, Castillo serves as president of Alpha Phi Sigma, a criminal justice honors organization that participates in community service events, academic conferences and provides networking opportunities for its members. She volunteered with the City of Fresno’s Citizens’ Public Safety Advisory Board and serves as a fulltime immigration liaison at the Mexican Consulate. Her goal is to become a criminology professor and to conduct research that informs evidence-based policy.

Joey Contreras, College of Science and Mathematics

Joey Contreras, of Selma, earned his M.S. in physics with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. When Contreras started at Fresno City College, his son was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. The single father spent the next two and a half years with his son at treatments and overnight at Valley Children’s Healthcare while working hard to keep his grades up. His son recovered and he transferred to UC Santa Barbara to finish his bachelor’s degree. Contreras returned to Fresno to be closer to his son and family and entered the master’s program in physics enroute to a doctoral program. He participated in quantum gravity research, published a journal article and gave talks on his research. Contreras also served as a teaching assistant in various labs, including introductory astronomy, physics and natural science. After graduation, Contreras will teach a summer course at Fresno State. He will then go on to the doctoral program in physics at the University of California, Merced.

Audia Dixon

Audia Dixon, College of Arts and Humanities

Audia Dixon, of Fresno, earned her M.A. in art in December with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.A. in art at Fresno State as a transfer student from Fresno City College. Originally a liberal arts major, Dixon changed to art and called it the best move she could have made. Dixon was inspired by Black contemporary artists and motivated by the late professor Paulette Fleming to express her own view on Black identity. At Fresno State, Dixon designed African American Commencement Ceremony program covers and posters, and collaborated on mural projects that promoted Black empowerment and injustice. Her first mural project was the “Lift Every Voice Mural Tour” organized by Dulce Upfront, a multimedia arts collective, in response to the George Floyd protests. She was then asked to design another mural created by Black women artists in the Central Valley. She plans to continue working as an artist and would like to teach art. Her goals include finding a residency for research and applying to a Master’s of Fine Arts program.

Saúl Pamatz-Melgarejo

Saúl Pamatz Melgarejo, Kremen School of Education and Human Development

Saúl Pamatz Melgarejo, of Fresno, earned his M.A. in Multilingual Multicultural Education with a 3.9 GPA. He previously earned his B.A. in Spanish and a minor in communicative sciences and deaf studies from Fresno State. Melgarejo is a first-generation and formerly undocumented student, migrant and English language student who is devoted and committed to helping linguistically, culturally diverse learners and their families achieve success. As a new dual immersion teacher, he saw a need in the K-12 system for students to have mentors they can relate with. During his graduate studies, he learned critical analysis skills to better understand the holistic components behind culture and the importance of working for accessibility and equity. He demonstrated these skills in a research project titled, “Undocumented Journeys: Pathways to Higher Education in Uncertain Political Times.” Melgarejo received the Rutherford B. Gaston Family Sr. scholarship award to help with his studies.

Jaklin Rowley, Lyles College of Engineering

Jaklin Rowley, of Exeter, earned her M.S. in civil engineering with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned her B.S. in civil engineering from Fresno State. Rowley’s work in engineering aligns with her family of builders and developers. She hopes to one day join their efforts, but before then, Rowley wants to gain expertise in her field while continuing her passion for teaching. She was a teaching associate at Fresno State and an instructional student assistant while also working as an engineering intern with the City of Visalia. Her graduate research was in structural health monitoring with a focus on the application of vision-based sensing. She was involved in leadership and student clubs and organizations. She received the 2020 All-University Leadership Award for Outstanding Club President. Rowley was offered a fulltime engineering position with the City of Visalia after graduation. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in civil/structural engineering, preferably abroad so she can get a global experience.

Tania Sanchez

Tania Sanchez, Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Tania Sanchez, of Fresno, earned her M.S. in counseling, option in school counseling, and a pupil personnel services credential with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned a B.A. in psychology, minor in communication, from Fresno State. Sanchez is the youngest of four children born to Mexican immigrants and the first to pursue higher education. Her passion to help students and families in the community fuels her academic journey. She serves as a counselor intern with the Educational Opportunity Program working with low-income, first-generation students. Sanchez also serves as an ambassador for the school counseling program as the first-place recipient of the Dr. Benjamin and Marion Kremen Scholarship. She helped facilitate the EOP and Special Programs’ Connect Day Campus Tour event for incoming students. Sanchez completed a graduate research project promoting safe and responsible digital technology use. After graduation, she hopes to work in higher education or K12 as an academic or school counselor. She would like to pursue her doctorate in educational leadership and become a counseling professor to help produce high achieving counselors of tomorrow.

Cameron Standridge

Cameron Standridge, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Cameron Standridge, of Hanford, earned his M.S. in agricultural science, single subject credential and agricultural specialist credential with a 4.0 GPA. He previously earned his B.S. in agricultural education at Fresno State and was the 2020 Deans’ Undergraduate Medalist for the Jordan College. Standridge is passionate about creating impactful educational experiences for students. He was part of the Jordan College Honors Program and a recipient of the Jordan Harvey Graduate Assistantship. He was co-director for two Ag Kids’ Summer campus collaborating with peers, faculty and staff to create two interactive weeks of ag lessons. He also developed a virtual Ag Discovery Program for high school students nationwide and worked with faculty to develop an agricultural career readiness skills certificate program for students across the country. Standridge served as a teaching associate for the lab portion of swine production and was a student teacher at Central High School and Madera South High School. He hopes to continue making an impact on students and to develop new ambitions that will sustain agricultural education.

Rebekah Weimer, College of Health and Human Services

Rebekah Weimer, of Fresno, earned her M.A. in kinesiology with an option in sport psychology with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned a B.A. in psychology, with a minor in human development, from the University of California, Davis. Weimer started her Fresno State journey in fall 2020 when courses were still online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her thesis was a case study with a community college soccer team in which she investigated the extent to which athletes can learn specific mental skills and use them when training. There were many setbacks due to the pandemic. A team (the control group) dropped out of the study and the team that completed the intervention changed the data collection period twice requiring Weimer to make changes to her case study format. Weimer is a teaching assistant for two kinesiology activity courses, is active in the Sport Psychology Club and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She also works as resident director for Fresno State Student Housing. Weimer plans to pursue a second master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. Her goal is to become a certified mental performance consultant.

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