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College of Social Sciences

dean's medalists

2021 Dean's Medalists

Nuvia Garcia | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Nuvia GarciaNuvia Garcia, of Turlock, completed her B.S. in criminology, forensic behavioral science option, and a minor in Spanish with a 3.97 GPA. She is a first-generation college student who became interested in criminology after a friend got involved with drugs, criminal activity and then took his own life. Her own struggles almost got the best of her, too. Garcia spent many hours in the lab as a research assistant and lab manager. She was also able to conduct her own research as part of the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and the College of Social Science Honors Program, examining the effect pre-admonition commentary — statements given to the witness before a lineup — has on mock jurors. Garcia wants to earn a master’s degree in clinical counseling and a license as a professional clinical counselor, then a doctorate in clinical psychology.





Traci Arbios | Graduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Traci ArbiosTraci Arbios, of Clovis, earned her M.A. in history with a 4.0 GPA. She previously earned a B.A. in dramatic arts from the University of California, Davis. In 2015, Arbios suffered a cardiac arrest, caused by an unknown genetic disorder, that landed her in a San Francisco hospital for a possible heart transplant. She lost oxygen to her brain for 20 minutes. The road to recovery took three years, several operations, physical and speech therapy and a look at new opportunities. After a career spent at The Fresno Bee, Arbios enrolled at Fresno State where she served as a teaching assistant, joined Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and was honored with the Department of History’s Outstanding Thesis Award for her research about the gender integration of The Fresno Bee’s newsroom and the effects of the broader Women’s Liberation Movement on women in the media workforce. She hopes to begin a second career teaching in college.





2020 Dean's Medalists

Danielle Richman | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

2020 undergraduate Dean's medalistDanielle Richman is a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in History with a Certificate in Legal Studies as a College of Social Sciences student and Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholar. Richman decided to leave her hometown of Manhattan Beach, California in pursuit of a new environment in the Central Valley. Complemented by her studies at Fresno State, Richman found a passion for international relations and diplomacy, having experienced two wildly different atmospheres in Southern versus Central California. She went on to pursue her academic aspirations by interning for the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., and taking classes at George Washington University. In her senior year, Richman became the university's first ever Rhodes Scholarship Finalist, a program that selects a few individuals from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England. In addition to her academic merits, Richman also competes as a full-time student athlete for the Fresno State Women's Golf Team, an NCAA Division I program. She now serves as the President of Fresno State and Mountain West student-athletes, promoting such initiatives as mental health awareness and increased community service. Upon graduation, Richman will embark on a Masters in Philosophy at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge before working towards a career in international diplomacy and law.

Stephanie Novak | Graduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

graduate deans medalist 2020Stephanie Novak is from Morro Bay California. She earned her associate degree in Administrative Justice at Cuesta College, and her bachelor’s degree in Criminology at Fresno State, with a focus on forensic behavioral sciences. Also interested in victimology, as an undergraduate, she earned a victim services certificate. Novak then returned for her master’s degree in Criminology. She received the William E. and Carolyn M. Crumpacker Scholarship and the Dean’s Scholarship for Research and Study. She volunteered as a research assistant where she helped research positive and negative interviewing techniques used by police officers on cooperative witnesses. Novak also conducted her own research on the perceptions of emotional intimate partner violence, which she turned into her master’s thesis. She is a member of a nationally recognized criminal justice honors society, Alpha Phi Sigma, and served as the Vice President and President of the Fresno State chapter. She is currently employed by the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office as a defense investigative technician.





2019 Dean's Medalists

Khoi Quach | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Khoi QuachKhoi Quach was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as a refugee in 2002 with his parents and older sister. He is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Criminology. Despite being an excellent student and a Boy Scout with a bright future, he found himself steering into the wrong direction, was charged with attempted murder and faced 25 years to life in prison. His family worked to get a plea deal and lesser sentence and after serving six years in prison, he resumed his life and began attending college. Khoi works in a variety of ways to serve previously incarcerated individuals including work with Project Rebound, a program designed to support previously incarcerated individuals in higher education. He has published a number of newspaper articles and worked as a volunteer at the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries known as FIRM. Khoi's experience with the criminal justice system as a teen has fueled his passion for academic excellence and community service. He received four scholarships at Fresno State and has worked with Fresno State’s Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Project Rebound, and currently as program coordinator for the Prison Arts Collective. He has also participated in research projects for UC Berkeley’s Underground Scholars, Texas A&M’s Undergraduate Research Experience, and participated in a data collection internship for Fresno State's Central Valley Health Policy Institute. He will be joining the Sociology Doctorate program at UC Berkeley in the fall to explore issues related to inequality, mass incarceration, and political economy with an emphasis on technology. His ultimate quest is to combat structural inequality in the United States.

Shelby Elia | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Shelby EliaShelby Elia is from Clovis, CA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminology at Fresno State and returned for the Master of Public Administration from the Political Science department. She was selected as a research fellow for the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy during her first year as a graduate student. Shelby began a research project which examined the criminal justice processes that led to wrongful conviction and the public’s perception of individuals who had been wrongfully convicted of a crime. She presented her research at several conferences where she was acknowledged with awards including First Place Presentation for Graduate Behavior and Social Sciences at the 31st Annual California State University Student Research Competition and Best Quantitative/Methods Paper at the 42nd Annual Student Research Conference Organized by the CSU’s Social Science and Research Instructional Council. She also presented at the 16th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology in Hong Kong, a trip made possible by the funds granted to her by the President’s Graduate Scholarship. Her master’s thesis analyzed the current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans’ perceptions of their federal benefits. Her suggestions for reform were aimed at creating policy proactively and revising outdated procedures. After graduation, she will continue her work with the City of Clovis and later pursue a doctorate degree hoping to teach at Fresno State as a professor.



2018 Dean's Medalists

Selena Carbajal | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Selena CarbajalSelena Carbajal is a first generation college student, and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She graduated with a triple major in Chicano and Latin American Studies, Women's Studies, and Psychology with a 3.97 GPA. Selena is a scholar for the Ronald E. McNair Program, California Pre-Doctoral Program, and the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Undergraduate Scholars Program. Her work bridges her three majors to examine the challenges and barriers of Latina first-generation college students in higher education. As a McNair scholar, she has conducted research to examine how Latina first-generation college students negotiate the gendered and cultural expectations of their family and their university identities. Selena's honors thesis examines how biculturalism buffers the influence of filial responsibilities on depressive symptoms for Latina college students from immigrant families. Selena will have a paid summer research experience at the University of California, Santa Cruz through the California Pre-Doctoral Program to foster the growth and direction of her empirical and theoretical trajectories. In the Fall 2018, she will begin her doctoral studies at the University of Arizona in Family Studies and Human Development. Her aspirations are to create lines of research that can inform higher education policies and interventions.



Savannah Nakamura | Graduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Savannah Nakamura Savannah Nakamura earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach, where she had the opportunity to study abroad with the CSU International Program in Florence, Italy. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English in South Korea, returned to Fresno and completed her M.A in History. She received a research fellowship through the Fresno State Graduate Net Initiative and took the opportunity to work with other graduate students to conduct research. Savannah spent a summer interning with the Special Collections Department of the Libraryand had the opportunity to research and write articles about Fresno State’s history to share with alumni. She currently works in the Graduate Writing Studio where she provides support to graduate students from all disciplines. During her research, she studied The Female Spectator, the first magazine written for women by a woman in 1744 by Eliza Haywood, a series of letters and essays directed to teaching women appropriate behavior. Savannah specifically looked at Haywood’s prescription of the study of insects and science as appropriate conversation topics for women, and she investigated Haywood’s recommendation that women moderate their attendance of public events, instead focusing their time and energy on self-improvement. She hopes to continue to work with college students. 




2017 Dean's Medalists

Alexandra Gallo | Undergraduate Dean's Medalist | College of Social Sciences

Alexandra Alexandra Gallo of Hollister, was awarded the top University honors at Fresno State. She was chosen from a group of nine Dean's Undergraduate medalists graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Political Science and Communication. She has served at the Ronald McDonald House and has helped facilitate after school activities for youth in Southeast Fresno. Alexandra has exercised her passion for service and civic engagement with her involvement as President of the League of Women Voters Student Unit and service as Senator of Undergraduate and Graduate Affairs for Associated Students, Incorporated. Alexandra has held leadership positions in the Panhellenic Council and in Delta Zeta. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, she conducted research of voter identification laws and presented her research at the Southwestern Social Science Association Conference. As a Maddy Institute Legislative Scholar, Alex interned under Congressman Jim Costa who she will continue to intern for in the summer 2017 and will then represent Fresno State as a student ambassador on a tour of China. Alexandra hopes to pursue a career in government.





Katy Hogue | Graduate Dean's Medalist| College of Social Sciences

Katy hogue Katy Hogue of Fresno, obtained her Masters in History. Her research examines the cultural development of the 19th Century American West in an attempt to mitigate the myth of the frontier. She was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and presented at the 2015 and 2016 History Graduate Student Association Symposium, and the 2016 Graduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium. Katy also accepted a series of internships at the Fresno Historical Society where she created an exhibit about the J.R. McDonald paddle boat. Passionate about public history, Katy is currently the Collections Manager at the Fresno Historical Society where she works to make the historical records and manuscripts available to the public.



Outstanding Student Reception 2017