News @ the Beach

Three Valedictorians from Long Beach Are Part of 20th Incoming Class of President’s Scholars at Cal State Long Beach

Altogether 25 from throughout the State Will Receive the $70,000 Scholarship

When classes start at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) on Monday, Aug. 25, three valedictorians from Long Beach Unified School District high schools will officially begin their collegiate careers as members of the university’s 20th incoming class of President’s Scholars. Altogether 25 from throughout the state have received the $70,000 scholarship. As part of the program, Roxanne A. Jacobs, Joshua M. Pignon and Allison L. Wall, all from Long Beach Unified School District, start at CSULB on full, four-year scholarships covering all expenses.

14-067_presidents_scholars_121 (2)

The incoming class of President’s Scholars are top row (l-r) Elyssa Lawrence, Elizabeth Tyler, Sabreen Thorne, Justin Cortina, Quentin Pestner, Amanda Burns, Marco Zamora, Erik Larsen and Tyler Wayne. Pictured on the bottom row are (l-r) Roxanne Jacobs, Christopher Fernandez, Alexis Wildman, Joshua Pignon, Miranda Horton, Ryan Florence, Hope Daley, Katelyn Campbell, Lea Fong, Nicolas Olenslager-Orton, Shealyn Engfer and Allison Wall. Not pictured are Scott Morris, Christina Tapia, Andrew Warren and Amy Yang.

The CSULB President’s Scholars Program was created in 1995 in an effort to bring valedictorians and national scholars from California high schools to CSULB. It is recognized as a premier program of its kind in the state, and more than 1,100 students from 42 of California’s 58 counties have been chosen for the program since its inception.

“Even after 20 years, the President’s Scholars Program at Cal State Long Beach continues to attract many of the brightest and most academically talented high school graduates in California,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “The program is extremely competitive.  Each year, we receive hundreds of applications for these scholarships, but this year only 25 students were selected to be part of this incoming group of scholastically outstanding individuals.”

The 25 students were selected for the program from an applicant pool of nearly 650 students statewide.

“Because of the efforts of hundreds of supporters who annually raise the necessary funds privately, we are able to offer these academically talented students a full scholarship and the opportunity to receive an outstanding education in a variety of academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” explained Valerie Bordeaux, director of the CSULB President’s Scholars Program.   “In return, they add a great deal to the stature of the university through their academic pursuits in research, academic competitions and other activities.  They also perform thousands of hours of community service and are outstanding representatives of the university wherever they go.”

Jacobs, a valedictorian for the Class of 2014 at Robert A Millikan High School, is the daughter of Eric and Charmaine Jacobs of Long Beach. Even though CSULB is less than a 10-minute walk from her home, she was pushed to look into the university and its offerings by her mother, an alumna of CSULB who graduated from the campus’ physical therapy program with honors.

“My mother rightly pointed out that this is a top program and that CSULB could provide many excellent academic and extracurricular opportunities. But who listens to their parents?” Jacobs wrote in her application essay. “Yet, as I researched colleges throughout the country, this university popped up time and time again. Normally, I hate it when she is right, but not this time. CSULB is a golden opportunity sitting right in front of my eyes, and I never realized this until I did my homework.”

Jacobs admits that she is not sure about what career to pursue, but she enters CSULB as a pre-civil engineering major. “Engineering sounded like an intriguing option because my dad is also an engineer,” she said.

Pignon, a valedictorian for the Class of 2014 at Lakewood High, is the son of Kelly and Lynn Pignon of Long Beach. Active in his church and Boy Scout Troop, Pignon will study criminal justice at CSULB with a career goal of becoming a lawyer or judge. Wall, also a valedictorian from Millikan High, is the daughter of Scott and Geralyn Wall. At CSULB, she will major in nutrition and dietetics with plans to become a clinical dietitian.

“This school is one of only 16 colleges throughout the state of California to have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND),” Wall wrote in her application essay. “The dietitians I have spoken to say CSULB has the best to offer in this area.”

As President’s Scholars, Jacobs, Pignon and Wall receive full scholarships, covering their tuition and fees, an annual book allowance and paid housing in the campus residence halls for four years.  In addition, they receive priority registration, personal academic counseling and more. To be eligible for the CSULB President ‘s Scholars Program, students must be a senior class valedictorian, ranked No. 1 at their high school, a National Merit finalist or semi-finalist, a National Achievement Scholar or a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar. The benefits for qualifying valedictorians and national scholars from accredited California high schools are made possible through the support of the CSULB Alumni Association, President’s Associates and the Corporate Scholars Council.

Other recipients include: Amanda Burns, Sabreen Thorne and Justin Cortina, Palmdale; Katelyn Campbell, Fresno; Hope Daley, Torrance; Shealyn Engfer, Mariposa; Christopher Fernandes, Yucaipa; Ryan Florence, Big Bear Lake; Lea Fong, Auburn; Miranda Horton, Cool: Erik Larsen, Visalia; Elyssa Lawrence, Terra Bella; Scott Morris, Vacaville; Nicolas Olenslager-Orton, Tulare; Quentin Pestner, Corona; Christina Tapia, Rancho Cucamonga; Elizabeth Tyler, Merced; Andrew Warren and Tyler Wayne, Lancaster; Alexis Wildman, Colfax; Amy Yang, Rancho Palos Verdes; and Marco Zamora, Plumes Lake.

Posted in University News | Comments Off

Cal State Long Beach Students and Their Parents Excited About Moving Into Residence Halls

Move-In Day at Cal State Long Beach on Saturday was an exciting as well as important milestone for the roughly 2,700 students, and their families, who spent the morning and afternoon moving into their respective dorms in an effort to get settled in prior to classes beginning today (Aug. 25).

For many who moved into the International House as well as the Beachside, Hillside and Parkside student residence halls, it will mark their first time living away from home.


CSULB President Jane Close Conoley (r) with freshman Kevin Honsberger after helping him move into his new dorm room Saturday,

Participating in the day was CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, who along with approximately 500 volunteers—many from university athletic teams, sororities, fraternities, as well as administrators and staff members—provided encouragement and a helping hand. Conoley, who her herself is a relative newcomer to CSULB, having officially begun on July 15, greeted a number of students and families, being photographed with many of them and assisting some with the move into their new campus home.

“Welcoming students and their parents to the campus is the great highlight of any academic year,” said Conoley, who noted it was the first time she had been in the dorms. “New beginnings; new opportunities for dreams to be realized and resilience to be built.  I loved move-in day.  It’s a notable day to live our commitment to build a safe and nurturing campus for all.”

CSULB received a university record 83,594 applications for the fall semester and the number of students moving into the dorms represented approximately one-third of the roughly 8,000 newcomers admitted to campus this fall.

One of those was Cesar Acosta, who was a bit anxious about moving into the dorms, but eager to begin the 2014-15 academic year.


Cesar Acosta

“I’m pretty excited about being here,’ said Acosta, who is from Los Angeles and transferred to CSULB from El Camino College after spending his freshman year at UC Santa Barbara. “It’s going to be a new experience. I’m going to be on campus all the time and I don’t want to just be locked in my dorm room, so I plan on being involved in a lot of things.”

A history major, Acosta is looking forward to finally having the opportunity to take upper division classes instead of just general education courses. He eventually wants to go on and earn a doctorate degree and then move on to do some kind of research in his field.

In many ways, Move-In Day is an equally big occasion for parents, one of those being Loretta Honsberger, whose family is from Huntington Beach. Her son Kevin, who is entering CSULB as a freshman coming from Marina High School, will be living in the dorms and personally received some move in assistance from President Conoley, which was welcome and no doubt unexpected.

“It’s a very exciting day,” said Loretta. “You worry so much about this day coming and then when it’s finally here you realize there is nothing to worry about. I have a feeling Kevin will enjoy his freedom and making new friends so much that I won’t be surprised if he stays here most of the time. It is comforting to have him close to home because when my daughter went away to school (UC Berkeley) she never came back. She loved the Bay Area so much and then moved up to Seattle, but she plans on coming back to Cal State Long Beach next year to get her master’s degree.”

Kevin, who will be majoring in computer engineering, had a bit of apprehension about moving into the dorm, mostly because he had yet to meet or even have any kind of contact with his new roommate, whose name he learned for the first time Saturday morning.

“I’m excited to see who my roommate is because I’ll potentially have to be with him for the next year, but I’m sure it will be fine,” he said. “As far as being away from home for the first time, we’ll see how it goes. I’m kind of concerned to see how well I can take care of myself, but besides that I think it will be fun.”

With more than 36,000 students—representing 90 countries, 43 states and 56 California counties—CSULB is among the most diverse university campuses in the country. It is a part of the 23-campus California State University system, the largest public higher education system in the nation.


Posted in University News | Comments Off

Peace Corps Director to Visit CSULB Sept. 5 and to Sign MOU on New Masters with CSULB

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, who was confirmed as director of the Peace Corps on June 5, will visit the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) campus on Friday, Sept. 5. Hessler-Radelet, along with CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal, whose 47th District includes Long Beach, will speak at the event held in the University Student Union’s Beach Auditorium from 11 a.m.-noon, with a reception scheduled to follow.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet

All three will discuss the importance of public service and how individuals can make a difference around the world with the Peace Corps. In addition, there will be a Q&A session and Peace Corps volunteer Danica Campos of Garden Grove is scheduled to Skype in and share her experiences of living and working in Costa Rica.

Prior to the event, a Memorandum of Understanding signing is scheduled to take place. The agreement will establish a partnership between CSULB and the Peace Corps for a Master’s International Program. Graduate students accepted into the program study in either the M.A. in Geography or the M.A. in Linguistics (TESOL option). After finishing their primary coursework, participants will take a leave for a two-year assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer. Upon their return, they complete a community internship and finish their culminating thesis or project. Head up the effort of this partnership is Department of Geography chair/professor Paul Laris.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Peace Corps’ No. 2 volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institution alongside U.S. Congressman Lowenthal,” Hessler-Radelet said. “Partnerships with institutions like CSULB help us ensure Americans from all backgrounds know about service opportunities with the Peace Corps.”

Hessler-Radelet, who served as acting director since August 2012, was nominated for her post by President Obama, and became the 19th director of the Peace Corps, which began on March 1, 1961.

“Beach staff and faculty work closely with students and the Peace Corps to encourage our graduating students and alums to volunteer for the amazing learning and service opportunities offered through the Peace Corps,” said Conoley. “Consistent with our long and distinctive history of community service, hundreds of 49ers have served. In fact, among Hispanic-Serving Institutions, we rank No. 2 in the nation with 31 alums serving in the Peace Corps. We are so proud of these alums who carry the message of compassion and the worth of every human being across the globe.”

Earlier this year, the Peace Corps released its 2014 rankings of the nation’s top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and s Conoley noted, CSULB ranked No. 2 with 31 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps. Among the top10 institutions ranked, seven came from the state of California.

Since the Peace Corps was established, 777 alumni from CSULB have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. California produces more Peace Corps volunteers than any other state nationwide with more than 28,000 California residents having served overseas as volunteers and approximately 1,000 currently serving.

This summer, the Peace Corps announced historic changes to its recruitment, application and selection process to make applying to the organization simpler, faster and more personalized than ever before. The agency is revitalizing its recruitment and outreach and partnering with diverse institutions like CSULB so Americans from all backgrounds know about service opportunities with the Peace Corps.

During just this past year the Peace Corps also announced it is expanding its staff to include diversity recruiters in each of its eight regional offices to field a broader volunteer force that represents the very best of the United States. The agency also has an Office of Diversity and National Outreach that aims to recruit a diverse pool of volunteers and build an inclusive culture that welcomes applicants and volunteers from all backgrounds.

The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the country that work closely with prospective volunteers. Interested students and community members can contact the Peace Corps’ Los Angeles Regional Office at for more information.

Posted in University News | Comments Off

Long Beach Indie International Film Festival Full of Cal State Long Beach Contributions

Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) artists will play a big part in the upcoming Long Beach Indie International Film Festival, which showcases global diversity through film, television and digital media. The festival will take place Aug. 27-31, in downtown Long Beach. Screening more than 100 international and domestic films, the event brings together established and aspiring filmmakers, scholars, creative professionals and movie lovers from around the globe, offering a world-class entertainment experience.

indie logo

It will take place at the Cinemark at the Pike Theaters as well as the Long Beach Convention Center and will include a number of screenings and activities created by the CSULB’s departments of dance, film and electronic arts, and more than 10 CSULB student and alumni filmmakers.  Altogether, the festival will be screening more than 90 films from across the globe.

“One of the key aspects of this international festival is showcasing to the world the great programs and people at CSULB. I am so happy to have such a great representation of innovative and thought-provoking filmmaking from the faculty and students,” said Daniel E. Walker, director of the film festival.

The Long Beach Indie International Film Festival also includes an opportunity for scholars and creative professionals to come to Long Beach to discuss the latest developments in film, television and digital media, and for community advocates to learn how to create and use film and digital media to raise awareness, build community, impact policy, and change lives. In addition, a college and career fair and an award ceremony will be held.

Some events highlighting CSULB include:

  • Thursday Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. – A documentary filmed during CSULB’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center’s acclaimed B-Word Project featuring the Department of Dance’s production of Bill T. Jones’ moving piece “Reading, Mercy and the Artifical Nigger,” performed on campus in 2012. The film follows student dancers working with Jones, one of America’s most prestigious choreographers, as well as touching on his personal experiences with censorship. CSULB choreographers Keith Johnson, Sophia Monat and Andrew Vaca are featured alongside some of the top students in the department.
  • Thursday, Aug. 28 at 4:15 p.m. – Four CSULB filmmakers will be featured in the Student and Rising Stars Showcase.
  • Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. – The screening of “A Dog’s Life” by CSULB alumnus Seth Craven.
  • Saturday, Aug. 30 at 5:30 p.m. - The CSULB Student Showcase featuring the work of seven current and former Department of Film and Electronic Arts’ students. It also includes Joshua Hoh’s award-winning film, “Steven Spielberg and the Return to Film School,” which was shot on campus and traces Spielberg’s return to CSULB to finish his degree.

For more information go to

Posted in University News | Comments Off