Natural Sciences

Back to Distinguished Alumni

Photograph of recipient

Jenelle L. Ball

College of Natural Sciences

BS, Chemistry, 1982

Current Position: Department Chair and teacher at Chico High School

Jenelle Ball has been teaching chemistry at Chico High School since 1987 and has served as science department chair since 1996. She is currently president-elect of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) and a member of the Recommendations Task Force for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Guidelines for Teaching High School and Middle School Chemistry.

Ball graduated with her bachelor’s in chemistry from CSU, Chico in 1982. After graduation, she went on to complete her master’s in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz and taught at Corning Union High School until 1987. She completed her master’s in education from UC Santa Barbara in 1999. In the last 20 years, Ball has served on multiple national committees and received numerous awards. In 2015 she was only the second teacher in California to have received the American Chemical Society’s James Bryant Conant Award for excellence in high school chemistry teaching. Ball has been published multiple times in the Journal of Chemical Education, and has received several grants and recognitions for her commitment to chemical education.

Ball and her husband, David, met at CSU, Chico and recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They have three children.

Photograph of recipient

Jeanne Ann Conry, MD, PhD

College of Natural Sciences

BS, Biology, 1974

Current Position: Assistant Physician in Chief, North Valley, Permanente Medical Group; Associate Clinical Professor of ob-gyn, UC Davis

Dr. Jeanne Conry has been a practicing obstetrician gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente for the past 25 years, and currently serves in a leadership capacity as the Assistant Physician-in-Chief for Kaiser Permanente’s Sacramento Roseville region.  From 1997 – 2004, Conry served as Chair of the Women’s Health Care Task Force, where she championed osteoporosis screenings, began the breast care center in Sacramento, and oversaw the design and development of the group’s Women and Children’s Center, which is one of the largest obstetric service providers for Kaiser Permanente in the U.S.

Conry received the Environmental Achievement Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 for work on reproductive health and the environment.  In 2013, she received the Visionary Leadership Award from the University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment  In 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledged her accomplishments in women's health and entered a commendation into the Congressional Record. Conry earned her medical degree from UC Davis, and earned a PhD in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Conry currently lives with her husband Bruce Webb in Granite Bay.

Photograph of recipient

Debra Geary Hook

College of Natural Sciences
BS Food and Nutrition, Class of 1985
Honor Year: 2015

Current Position:
Pediatric Dietitian

Debra Geary Hook is a pediatric dietitian with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, with Miller Children’s Hospital, and in private practice. She serves as a consultant dietitian for Ultragenyx, a clinical-stage biotechnology company. She teaches nutrition classes at Cal Poly Pomona; CSU, San Bernardino; and Loma Linda School of Allied Health and School Public Health. Geary Hook has been named an Outstanding Dietetics Educator by the American Dietetic Association and serves on many committees working on nutrition protocols. She volunteers her time with the California Coalition for Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Allied Disorders, the Pasadena animal rescue, and the March of Dimes. Geary Hook lives in Southern California with her husband, Frederic Hook (Class of 1985, Engineering), and would like to spend her spare time finishing up her doctorate.

Photograph of recipient

Craig W. Lindsley, PhD

College of Natural Sciences
BS Chemistry, Class of 1992
Honor Year: 2014

Current Position:
Professor, Pharmacology and Chemistry, Vanderbilt University; Director, Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery

Dr. Craig Lindsley is a professor of pharmacology and chemistry and director of Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. Lindsley graduated from Chico with a BS in Chemistry, received his PhD at UC Santa Barbara, and pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. Lindsley worked at Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck & Co. pioneering allosteric modulation in positions of increasing responsibility before moving to Vanderbilt in 2006. He is the founding editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Neuroscience, and has received numerous awards including: the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)-Astellas Award, the American Chemical Society Philip S. Portoghese Medicinal Chemistry Lectureship Award, and the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology from ASPET. Lindsley holds 35 issued U.S. patents and has published more than 300 manuscripts.

Photograph of recipient

K. Darwin Murrell, PhD

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biology, Class of 1962
Honor Year: 2013

Current Position:
Honorary Professor, Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, University of Copenhagen

K. Darwin Murrell served as the deputy administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the US Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research arm, where his research focused on the protection of humans and animals from food-borne diseases. Murrell received the 1984 ARS Outstanding Scientist of the Year award, the 1988 American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP) Distinguished Parasitologist Award, a 1996 Fulbright Award, and a 1997 Presidential Distinguished Federal Executive Rank Award. Murrell joined the University of Copenhagen in 2000, where his work focused on parasites transmitted from fish. He was named honorary professor upon his retirement in 2004. He has served as president of the American Society of Parasitologists, AAVP, and the International Trichinellosis Commission.

Photograph of recipient

Jennifer McCallum

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1992
Honor Year: 2012

In 2001, Jennifer M. McCallum earned both a PhD in physiology from Colorado State University, and a JD from the University of Colorado. McCallum is actively involved in complex biotechnology legal issues, and founded her own biotechnology patent law firm in Colorado. She was instrumental in arguing a case to help make private storage of stem cells available to all expectant parents, and played an integral part in the issuance of the first permit for the production of pharmaceuticals in Colorado. McCallum has received many awards and much recognition for her role in biotechnology patent law, including the 2008 Congressional Medal of Distinction and an appointment to the Biotechnology Council for the State of Colorado by the governor.

Photograph of recipient

William L. Carroll

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1973
Honor Year: 2011

Dr. William Carroll, the Julie and Edward J. Minskoff Professor of Pediatrics, directs the NYU Cancer Institute and the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Program at NYU Medical Center, has extensive experience in all aspects of the care of children with cancer and blood diseases. He has a particular interest in the treatment of children with leukemia and directs clinical trials in acute lymphoblastic leukemia for the Children's Oncology Group.

Dr. Carroll is Head of the Children's Oncology Group Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Disease Committee and is responsible for developing and directing clinical research in North America for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.

As a practicing pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Dr. Carroll has treated hundreds of children with cancer. He has worked tirelessly to transfer knowledge gained in his laboratory into more effective treatments for his patients. He has consistently been named one of the Country’s best doctors in multiple national publications and professional lists.

Photograph of recipient

Leon Warman

College of Natural Sciences
BS Mathematics, Class of 1980
Honor Year: 2010

Leon has more than 20 years' work experience on embedded space vehicle systems, geophysics applications, control systems, and electromagnetic analysis. Warman engineered a significant portion of the flight code for the Hubble Space Telescope that changed human understanding of the universe. He pioneered the use of computing technology in the advancement of control systems and electro-magnetics for aerospace applications as a senior engineer at Boeing Research and designed cutting-edge medical ultrasound technology as chief architect for Philips Medical. He served as the chief architect for Philips North American Medical Systems and as a software systems designer and Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. He has presented at Microsoft U.S. TechEd conferences, as well as conferences in Europe and Asia. He recently wrote and published a book, "How To Be Found: Search Engine Optimization." He is currently Principal in the Core Cloud Engineering Group for Google.

Photograph of recipient

Lance Astrella

College of Natural Sciences
BS Chemistry and Economics, Class of 1969
Honor Year: 2009

Lance Astrella has been engaged in the private practice of law for 35 years with a primary emphasis in the energy industry. He is the senior partner of Astrella & Rice P.C. based in Denver, Colorado, and is a member of the State Bars of California and Colorado. Mr. Astrella's work in the energy field is focused on balancing the need for domestic fossil fuel with environmental sustainability, including preservation of water resources. Major trials have involved environmental protection and market manipulation in the energy sector. Mr. Astrella obtained his Bachelor's degrees in Chemistry and Economics from California State University, Chico, in 1969, a Master's degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis, in 1970 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1973.

Photograph of recipient

Suzanna M. Nye

College of Natural Sciences
BS Nutrition Science/Nutrition Education,
Class of 1990
Honor Year: 2008

Suzanna M. Nye has made a career of helping others achieve career success in the field of dietetics. She has helped write, implement, and evaluate the State of California professional examinations for community nutrition classifications, resulting in State of California job eligibility for hundreds of dietetics professionals. She has given numerous professional presentations at state and national meetings and conferences and has five peer-reviewed publications. Nye is a key presenter to American Dietetics Association (ADA) members, and has served in ADA membership at the national, state and local levels, including as president of the California Dietetics Association. Nye has been the chief monitor of the Child Nutrition Programs in California since 2002. Nye received the 2006 Delores Nyhus Award for providing the highest level of dietetic leadership in California. She is the winner of the national Excellence in Community Dietetics Award from the ADA and is president of the California Dietetic Association.

Photograph of recipient

Edward E. Tarver, III

College of Natural Sciences
BS Chemistry, Class of 1976
Honor Year: 2007

Edward E. Tarver, III is an inventor/manufacturer of chemical detection and identification instrumentation for detecting chemical weapons, high explosives, contraband narcotics, and toxic industrial chemicals. He holds several patents. As the founder and CEO of Etaran Instruments, Inc., Tarver has patented an ion mobility spectrometry instrument that is used in chemical detection and identification and has great implications for the military in the field of chemical warfare and counter terrorism. Tarver is also a mural artist and has designed school logos for San Jose State and De La Salle High School. He was a professor at Grambling State University and has served as president of the Faculty Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees/State Colleges, Louisiana, and as vice president of the Faculty Advisory Council to the Board of Regents/State Colleges, Louisiana. He is currently an Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. He received the R&D 100 Award for best 100 technologies in 1999 from Research and Development magazine for detecting smuggled nuclear materials.

Photograph of recipient

James E. Millerd

College of Natural Sciences
BS Physics, Class of 1987
Honor Year: 2006

James E. Millerd launched 4D Vision Technology, Inc. in 2000 to commercialize patented technology. As the chief technology officer for the 4D Technology Corporation of Tucson, Arizona, Millerd leads a team of engineers to develop state-of-the-art optical instrumentation. Author of more than 30 publications, Millerd has been granted four U.S. patents, and has four more U.S. patents and one foreign patent pending. He has also received several awards for his work with interferometers and a NASA Certificate for Recognition for his development of a Novel Laser Doppler Vibrometer. Millerd serves on the CSU, Chico Physics Advisory Board. Millerd has B.S. degrees in Physics and in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering, Quantum Electronics and Optics from the University of Southern California.

Photograph of recipient

Douglas G. Jackson

College of Natural Sciences
BS Nursing, Class of 1980
Honor Year: 2005

Colonel Douglas G. Jackson is the Department Head of the Primary Care Clinic at the Port Hueneme Naval Ambulatory Care Center. Jackson began his career as a secondary science and math teacher in the Kingdom of Tonga. In 1976, Jackson worked as a research assistant for the World Health Organization Project in Tonga. Back in the United States, Jackson joined the military following his graduation from the nursing program at CSU, Chico. He earned his MS in health service administration from Central Michigan University and his family nurse practitioner specialty from UCLA. He has served as clinical coordinator and assistant professor at Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was awarded the Dean's Teaching Award. Jackson has received several Meritorious Service and Achievement Medals from the United States Army.

Photograph of recipient

Jane M. Hightower

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1983
Honor Year: 2004

Dr. Jane M. Hightower made a big splash in the media with her study linking mercury poisoning with high-end fish consumption. This led to her participation in more than 75 media interviews to an FDA warning to limit fish consumption for reproductive age women and for infants and small children and to Proposition 65 enforcement and law suits brought about by California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Hightower was elected to the San Francisco Medical Society Board of Directors and received recognition from San Francisco Magazine as one of the top 500 doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area (January 2001) and as a Green Giant for outstanding environmental contribution (June 2003). Hightower has had a private practice in San Francisco with a focus on diagnostics, preventive medicine, environmental medicine, and food contaminants. She continues to give lectures and write papers on the subject of mercury, health, and the environment.

Photograph of recipient

Antoinette Procopio

College of Natural Sciences
BS Mathematics, Class of 1978
Honor Year: 2003

Antoinette Procopio began her 24-year career in aerospace as one of the first female engineers to perform integration and testing of communication satellites. Her career began with Huges Space and Communications Company, now Boeing Satellite Systems. Procopio has held several positions of increasing responsibility and is now spacecraft manager. She has served on 12 launch-site campaign teams performing final integration, inspection, and testing of satellites boosted by Delta, Atlas, Titan, Ariane, and Space Shuttle launch vehicles. In her current role, Procopio is responsible for leading various teams in the successful integration assembly, and test of commercial and government satellite programs. Procopio is a charter member of the CSU, Chico Department of Mathematics Advisory Board.

Photograph of recipient

Edo D. Pellizzari

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1963
Honor Year: 2002

Dr. Edo D. Pellizzari, Vice President for Analytical and Chemical Sciences at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina, is responsible for the management and technical leadership of large chemical analysis and analytical methods development contracts with EPA, state and industrial clients. Pellizzari is a member of the EPA's Food Quality Protection Act, Health Effects Institute's Review Committee, EPS's Science Advisory Board, and several National Academy of Sciences' review committees. Pellizzari has over 500 publications to his credit. Government agencies seek Pellizzari's expertise and advice in air and water pollution, characterization of pollutants in environmental and biological media and synfuel production.

Photograph of recipient

Michael Strand

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1967
Honor Year: 2001

Mike Strand was the Co-owner of SYMON Communications, Inc. Strand’s Houston-based company, SYMON Communications, Inc., specializes in visual communication software for call centers, help desks, and command centers. He is primarily responsible for establishing the international expansion of the company. Following college and before entering the computer industry, Strand served three years in the U.S. Army as a Field Artillery 1st Lieutenant. Prior to co-founding his company in 1984, Strand held major account executive positions at ITEL Computer/Rail Leasing and IBM’s Large Systems division. His retirement goals included volunteer and advisory involvement with CSU, Chico, Outward Bound and Expeditionary Education initiative programs. Strand sold his software company, Symon Communications, in 2006 and retired in Frisco, Texas. He spends lots of time with his 3- and 5-year-old granddaughters and also enjoys annual trips to Northern California to see Chico State friends.

Photograph of recipient

Marshall L. Ginter*

College of Natural Sciences
BS Chemistry, Class of 1957
Honor Year: 2000

Marshall L. Ginter is a professor at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana. His current research centers on electronic structures in atoms and small molecules, high resolution spectroscopy, vacuum ultraviolet and soft x-ray spectroscopy and high and ultra high vacuum instrumentation. Ginter graduated cum laude in 1957 with a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Physics. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1961. His academic career includes positions at Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago, Physikalische Anstalt de Universitat Basel, as well as University of Maryland and University of Urbana. He was a consultant for twenty-eight years for the E.O. Hulbert Center for Space Research, Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. and a guest worker at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, M.D. A writer of more than 100 articles, Ginter has published articles in publications such as Journal of Chemical Physics and the Journal of Optical Society of America. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America.


Photograph of recipient

Judy Martin-Holland

College of Natural Sciences
BS Nursing, Class of 1977
Honor Year: 1999

She is President of the American Nurses Association for the State of California. Martin-Holland earned her B.S. in Nursing from CSU, Chico in 1977. She went on to earn a masters of public administration from CSU, Hayward in 1981, and a masters of science in nursing with a specialty in cardiopulmonary from University of California, San Francisco in 1985 and her post-masters family nurse practitioner certificate from University of California, San Francisco in 1995. She also devotes time to such groups as the Bay Area Black Health Consortium, the National Black Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International.

Photograph of recipient

Jack Farmer

College of Natural Sciences
BS Geology, Class of 1969
Honor Year: 1998

Jack Farmer is a Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. He received his B.A. in Geology from CSU, Chico in 1969 and his M.S. in Geology from the University of Kansas in 1971. In 1978, he received a Ph.D. in Paleobiology from UC, Davis. He was a graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas, and became a research associate during and after his studies at UC, Davis. In 1981, he became a senior geologist for Exxon Company in the Western Division Production in Thousand Oaks, California, and served as a senior post-doctoral fellow for the National Research Council at the NASA Ames Research Center. In 1993, Farmer became a research scientist for SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center. Farmer continues to share his passion for geology through college teaching, television appearances, and numerous abstracts and papers published in professional journals and books. On a personal level, he is involved in education outreach with the local Native American community.

When he is not teaching classes or mentoring graduate students, he is an active member of the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity science team, which has been exploring Mars since 2004. He is also a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity Rover, which has been actively exploring Gusev Crater on Mars since landing on Aug. 5, 2012.

Photograph of recipient

Walter E. Ryley

College of Natural Sciences
BA Physical Science, Class of 1972
MA Physical Science, Class of 1974
Honor Year: 1997

Walter Eugene Ryley is president of Cupertino Electric, based in San Jose, California. He received his B.A. in 1972 and M.A. in 1974 in Physical Science from California State University, Chico. His five years of experience with state and federal programs involved supervision of scientific research and formation of guidelines and legal standards. Gene taught physical science for one year at Butte College. His experience during his career with Cupertino Electric includes that of an electrician, project manager, chief estimator, and vice president of sales. In January 1995, Gene was appointed to the position of Executive Vice President, and in January 1997 he was appointed to the position of President of Cupertino Electric, Inc. He is a member of the National Association of Electrical contractors and a member of the National Association of Electrical Contractors and a member of the executive committee of TEC, an organization of Chief Executive Officers. Tennis and golf are two of Gene’s special interests, and he has won three national championships in sailing.

Photograph of recipient

Kenneth Lange

College of Natural Sciences
BS Biological Sciences, Class of 1965
Honor Year: 1996

Dr. Kenneth E. Lange received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1969 from the University of the Pacific, School of Dentistry, and returned to Chico to establish his practice. He is a past president of the California Dental Association, and received their Most Improved Communications Awards in 1985 and the Chico Unified Teachers Association Public Service Award in 1992. Lange has been very active holding many professional offices in the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, Northern California Dental Society, Butte County Health Planning Council, Northern Regional Health Systems Agency and Medical Quality Review Board—Region 1. He is also an honorary member of the American College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the International College of Dentists. Lange is passionate about his community involvement. He has held many leadership positions in the Greater Chico Chamber of Commerce, including the position of president during 1992–1993. Other community membership involvement includes Chico Community Foundation, Chico Economic Planning Corporation, Chico Lions Breakfast Club, Chico State Associates and Century Club, Chico Scholarship Association, Little League and Youth Soccer Coach, and Parent Teacher Associations in area schools. Lange reports in 2013 that he has had a wonderful personal and professional life. As he approaches semi-retirement, he and his wife Sheryl enjoy travel and their kids and grandkids. They still do a lot with Chico State, and he is very pleased to have been selected as a Distinguished Alumni.

Photograph of recipient

Leta B. Cox

College of Natural Sciences
BS Nursing, Class of 1981
Honor Year: 1995

Leta B. Cox was a former Chief Nurse Executive at Mercy Medical Center, implementing progressive ways to provide high quality patient care in the changing health environment. She has served as an instructor in the Statewide Nursing Program and has taught at Shasta Community College. Ms. Cox is certified as a Nurse Administrator, a Medical/Surgical Nurse and a Public Health Nurse, and she serves on the American Heart Association’s board of directors. She was awarded Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Woman’s Association of Redding in 1993 and the Philosophy in Action Award for Quality and Excellence in 1994 by Catholic Healthcare West. After retiring from the Chief Nurse Executive job at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Cox has been a professor at Simpson University. She was awarded the Simpson University ASPIRE Professor of the Year award in April 2012.

Photograph of recipient

Floyd L. English

College of Natural Sciences
BS Physical Sciences, Class of 1959
Honor Year: 1994

Dr. Floyd L. English has been Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Andrew Corporation, an international supplier of antennas and transmission lines to the telecommunications industry since July 1983. He was named Chairman of Board of Andrew Corporation in September 1994. From January 1982 to July 1983 he was President and Chief Operating Officer and was elected to the Board of Directors in 1982. Dr. English earned his masters and doctorate in physics from Arizona State University. He studied bulk and surface phenomena in semiconductor and ferroelectric materials at the Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico and later was director of marketing for a division of the Collins Radio Company. He joined Andrew Corporation in 1980 and is on the Board of Directors of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Fund for Advancement of Education and the National Engineering Consortium. He has authored numerous technical publications.

Back to Top

Distinguished Alumni

Current Year: 2017
24th Distinguished Alumni

List of All Years

First Year: 1994
1st Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni by College

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Communication & Education
Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management
Humanities & Fine Arts
Natural Sciences
Service Award