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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Dean Tracy Butts Graduation 2019

Outstanding Students & Special Awards

The following students are honored for their academic achievement, leadership, and contributions to their departments and the University.

Graduation Program 2020 (Printable PDF)
graduation program 2020

College of Humanities & Fine Arts

  • Angela Stieber - Brooks Thorlaksson HFA Outstanding Student Leader Award

    Outstanding StudentRecipient Bio

    Angela Stieber is a graduating senior majoring in Religious Studies. She has served as both Student Ambassador for Religious Studies in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and an officer in the Comparative Religion and Humanities Society since Fall 2018, this past year as club president. Angela has been a delightful participant in our hybrid classes, inspiring students around her. More than any student in the Department’s recent memory, Angela has emerged as an outstanding leader who has embraced her role not only as a Religious Studies scholar but also as an advocate for the program and the academic discipline. In addition to serving as a Student Ambassador, Angela has helped the Department with new initiatives aimed at promoting the Religious Studies Online Degree Completion program; including a great new marketing video that we know will generate increased interest in the program. Angela has shown extraordinary determination and resilience in her journey to the degree, which she is completing this spring before heading on to graduate work in the excellent master’s program in religion at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

    Award Summary

    This award recognizes a graduating student who is uniquely committed to the arts and humanities, has an understanding of how individuals can make a difference, and demonstrates leadership in all activities. The award is named in honor of Brooks Thorlaksson for her many contributions as Associate Dean in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Department of Art and Art History

  • Jory Harms - The Shari and David Hopper MFA Award

    Recipient Bio

    outstanding student Jory HarmsJory Harms is a mixed media sculptor who energetically and fearlessly confronts internalized biases and preconceptions about sex and gender. During his first semester on campus, Jory fabricated an oversized interactive sculpture, entitled Privilege, that pushed his own body to its limit. Subsequent works included an eight-foot tall patchwork penis that playfully deconstructed the history of masculinity and monumentality in sculpture and performances in which Jory embodied a hyper-masculine alter ego, Chad. Jory’s culminating MFA exhibition reshapes the social ritual of the boxing match with a surprising and empathetic ending. Jory consistently approaches challenging topics with humor and compassion. He has been a leader of the Hopper Visiting Artist Committee, and his provocative and timely projects have added to dialogues on campus. We are confident Jory will continue to have an impact on his community, and we wish him the very best as he embarks on his career as a visual artist.

    Award Summary

    The Hopper MFA Award recognizes and celebrates graduate students who have created a significant body of work during their graduate studies and who demonstrate great artistic ability and potential for success. Shari and David Hopper, artists, collectors, and leaders in the Chico art community, co-founded Orient and Flume Glass Studio in 1973. They have provided tremendous support to students, faculty, and programs in the Department of Art and Art History at Chico State.

  • Chang-An Tu - The Shari and David Hopper MFA Award

    Student artwork. Two people at a table, seen through a window.

    Recipient Bio

    Chang-An Tu was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1991 and received his BFA degree at National Taiwan University of Arts. After obtaining his degree, he continues his studies in graduate school at California State University, Chico. Throughout his life, Chang-An has always been fascinated by images and how the world is represented through the eyes of others. His work is based on observations of the environments from his home. His work also includes imagery that he has seen here, in the U.S. since arriving almost 2 years ago. His work revolves around the overlap, layering, memory fragments and a blend between reality and imagination.

    Award Summary

    The Hopper MFA Award recognizes and celebrates graduate students who have created a significant body of work during their graduate studies and who demonstrate great artistic ability and potential for success. Shari and David Hopper, artists, collectors, and leaders in the Chico art community, co-founded Orient and Flume Glass Studio in 1973. They have provided tremendous support to students, faculty, and programs in the Department of Art and Art History at Chico State.

  • Shai Porath - Jennifer Tancreto Memorial Award

    Recipient Bio

    Outstanding Student ArtShai Porath was a quiet leader in the ceramics studios. In class discussions and critiques he was a reliably thoughtful and observant contributor. He had a big impact on many areas throughout the Art Department and his absence from the studios since his graduation in December is distinctly noticeable. While here, Shai provided invaluable assistance in the implementation of extra-curricular activities: field trips, visiting artists, student art exhibitions. But most importantly, through his idiosyncratic artwork Shai challenged his audience to consider his alternate vision and to reconsider their perceptive biases.

    Award Summary

    Jennifer Tancreto was an accomplished artist, earning her MA at Chico State where she taught two-dimensional design and printmaking. She aspired to continue her art practice, exhibit her work internationally, and establish a career as a university art professor. She participated in countless exhibitions, presented her research at symposia, and was a prolific producer of new work. The Tancreto award was established to recognize and celebrate students majoring in the Department of Art and Art History who reflect Jennifer's values, interests, and passion for learning, creating art, and connecting with others.

  • Kristy Moreno - The Jack Windsor Ceramics Award

    Recipient Bio

    Outstanding Student 2020From her very first semester in Fall 2018, Kristy Moreno’s infectious good humor and boundless energy fired-up her new cohort of art students. In the ensuing semesters her creative vision, strong work ethic and genial personality have raised the bar for all in the studio. While focusing primarily on Ceramics, Kristy threw herself into the art department community as a whole by promoting, participating in, and eventually creating events. An example of Kristy’s readiness to put herself out there for the benefit of her fellow students was when, during the campus visit of an artist from Spain, we found ourselves without a translator. Kristy stepped up to the task without hesitation allowing the event to be successfully completed. During her time at Chico State I have witnessed countless instances of Kristy putting her own work on hold for tasks that benefit her fellow students. But even with this strong social conscience Kristy remains committed to finding the time needed to develop her studio practice. In her artwork she explores the layering of two-dimensional images over three-dimensional forms, synthesizing information from contemporary culture into a timeless material. It's a distinct and fresh approach and I am optimistic that she will achieve great success.

    Award Summary

    This award recognizes and celebrates student excellence in ceramics in memory of emeritus faculty Jack Windsor. During his 39 years as an art professor at Chico State, Jack mentored hundreds of students in ceramics, advertising in art, and elementary school art. He was a master ceramicist, known as the "wizard" of glazes. He retired from teaching in 1986, and was an active emeritus professor until he passed away in 2014 at 98 years of age. Recipients must be majoring in Studio Art or Art, pursuing a BFA or MFA degree, and demonstrate a high level of expertise in and dedication to the art of ceramics.

Department of English

  • William Pfaff - Ellen Walker Prize for Excellence in Editing

    Recipient Bio

    Outstanding Student 2020Will Pfaff (they/them) is a steadfast advocate, a gifted communicator, and strong editorial voice. In their time at Chico State, Will has taken every editing and publishing course available (sometimes multiple times), filled several intern and paid positions, and represented Watershed Review and Chico State’s campus at national conferences. Their insistence that marginalized voices tell the stories of this moment is unwavering, as well as their curiosity and imagination about how the world can change. Will Pfaff came through the doors of English 415: Editing Literary Magazines three years ago with a rabble rousing spirit, and is graduating full revolutionary.

    Award Summary

    The Ellen Walker Prize in Editing is awarded to a student who has performed outstanding editing work and who has made a significant contribution to the literary community. The prize honors Professor Emeritus Ellen L. Walker, who founded the literary editing certificate program.

  • Theodore S. Haynes IV - English Department Diversity Award

    Outstanding Student 2020Recipient Bio

    Theodore Sam Haynes came to Chico State from Carson, CA and has served with Men of Chico for three years; the organization maintains networks for men of color to succeed in Chico. He cares deeply about equity, and he is a stalwart student who participates regularly and authentically—he measures his words thoughtfully and always has insightful things to say concerning the topic at hand. In the fall, Sam will begin an Honors thesis on contemporary African American rhetoric in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essays; he also wants to go to grad school to continue his studies in African American literature.

    Award Summary

    Thanks to the generous support of Professors Thia Wolf, Sara Trechter, and Robert Burton, the Diversity Award was established to recognize and encourage student engagement with and commitment to diversity and inclusion. The recipient is selected based on an essay describing their commitment to diversity and inclusion through coursework, personal experience, volunteerism, activities in the department or field, and/or teaching.

  • Melissa Cisneros-Meza - English Department Diversity Award

    Outstanding Students 2020Recipient Bio

    Melissa Cisneros-Meza eloquently juggles her studies in English Education and MCGS, working in her Durham community in an afterschool program, and raising her 1-year-old child. In all these roles she embraces the possibility of educating others about diversity. She believes that her family background and her education prepare her for this work. As a Mexican American whose brother is autistic, she understands the urgency to elucidate the importance of embracing difference. Whether she’s in a women’s history class in which a male student is speaking negatively to a woman of color or on a playground when a second grader is picking on a child who has been diagnosed with autism, Melissa says that she doesn’t shy away from stepping in to advocate, educate, and work toward understanding. Melissa’s commitment to diversity is personal and it informs her plans for her future—working first as a high school teacher and then completing the requisite graduate degrees to become a professor.

    Award Summary

    Thanks to the generous support of Professors Thia Wolf, Sara Trechter, and Robert Burton, the Diversity Award was established to recognize and encourage student engagement with and commitment to diversity and inclusion. The recipient is selected based on an essay describing their commitment to diversity and inclusion through coursework, personal experience, volunteerism, activities in the department or field, and/or teaching.

Department of History

  • Juan Vega Ramírez - The Clarence McIntosh-William Hutchinson Memorial Research Award in California and Western History

    Recipient Bio

    Juan is receiving support from the McIntosh-Hutchinson Graduate Fellowship Award to help him research the complicated legacy of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) in Mexico. He will conduct archival research at the SIL's archive in Dallas and do oral history interviews with retired missionary linguists residing in Los Angeles and Tucson. Juan has already made impressive strides with this project, winning first place in the graduate category at the Northern California Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta (the History honor society) in early March of this year.

    Award Summary

    This award was established by the history department to honor the memory of faculty members Clarence McIntosh and William Hutchinson. Clarence McIntosh, a Chico State member from 1956–1985, later served as vice-president of the Butte County Historical Society. William “Hutch” Hutchinson was a well-known local historian, author, and lecturer. This award provides financial support to graduate students who are conducting research on the history of California or the American West. The award is intended to support research and travel related to off-campus research, as well as professional conferences.

  • Samantha Ezratty - The Department of History Writing Award

    Recipient Bio

    Dr. Kate Transchel wrote the following from Lüneberg, Germany: "Samantha Ezratty wrote a brilliant HIST 490 paper for me last semester. It was an examination of talismans and good luck charms that British soldiers took into the trenches in WWI. She analyzed the types of charms and how they changed over time indicating the soldiers' beliefs and fears about the war as it wore on. She was imaginative in finding and using sources, and she crafted and executed one of the best 490 papers I have ever read." Dr. Transchel also reports that Sam has been accepted into UC Irvine's Master's in Education program for fall 2020. Congratulations, Samantha!

    Award Summary

    The Department of History established this award to recognize and encourage excellence in writing in the history discipline. Award selection is based on essays written for any course offered by the History department, as recommended by faculty.

  • Juan Vega Ramírez - The Phi Alpha Theta award

    Recipient Bio

    Juan is the perfect first recipient of this new award. Hard work, good ideas, organizational skills, and a great attitude made Juan the perfect person to revive the History Club/Phi Alpha Theta in 2018, keep the club going through 2019, and then plan the Northern California Regional Conference of Phi Alpha (the History honor society) in early 2020. Juan also won prizes at the 2018 and 2020 Phi Alpha Theta conferences, published essays in our department journal, The Chico Historian, and edited the journal in 2019 and 2020. Congratulations, Juan!

    Award Summary

    This award recognizes the Phi Alpha Theta member with a distinguished record of service to the History Club/Phi Alpha Theta and/or a distinguished performance at the Northern California Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta, held every spring.

Department of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

  • Alexander Lopez - Boyle Outstanding Asian Language Student Award – Japanese

    Recipient Bio

    The recipient of this year’s Boyle Outstanding Asian Language Student Award – Japanese is Mr. Alexander Lopez. He is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, friendly, and always willing to help. He takes joy in learning languages. He is not only fluent in Spanish but also almost fluent in Japanese. He spends a lot of extra time practicing pronunciation and building overall vocabulary with many friends, including students from Japan. He also enjoys a variety of cultural products such as Japanese animations, TV shows, music from traditional to pop. He plans to be a video game programmer/developer and travel the world in the industry to experience all sorts of different ways of creating online games. He intends to be in Japan for business and also to re-connect with his Japanese friends to experience the overall history, events, and life style.

    Award Summary

    This award was established by John Boyle to recognize and award student excellence in the study of Asian languages. Professor Boyle taught East Asian History at Chico State from 1968 until his retirement in 1997. He received an MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1956 and a PhD in History from Stanford University in 1968

Department of Music and Theatre

  • Julia Daijogo - The Edith Gould Award

    Recipient Bio

    Outstanding Student 2020Julia is an officer in the student chapter of the National Association for Music Educators at Chico State. She is responsible for Social Media/Public Relations, but is always ready to volunteer as needed. She is also on the Band staff where her responsibilities include assistant librarian and fundraising coordinator. Julia has been involved in recruiting efforts for the department by volunteering to work events such as band/choir festivals and High School Ambassador days. She participates in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz X-press, Chico State Pep Band, Acapella Choir, Concert Band, and has her own jazz combo. Julia always has a smile on her face, she is a joy to be around, and helps the department in every capacity that she can.

    Award Summary

    This award honors the memory of Edith Gould, who served as secretary in the Department of Music for twenty-five years. Inspired by Mrs. Gould’s kind and supportive attitude, students and faculty considered her to be the “heart of the Music Department.” The award is given to students who demonstrate Mrs. Gould’s workplace spirit and who bring a sense of “family” to the department.

  • Kevin Anderson - Nick Ellena Aspiring Music Educator Award

    Outstanding Student 2020Recipient Bio

    Kevin is a talented vocalist who has participated in several ensembles including CSU, Chico Chamber Choir, Opera Workshop, CSU, Chico Acapella Choir, North Valley Chamber Chorale, the St. John's Episcopal Chancel Choir, and the Bidwell Chancel Choir. He is a member of the student chapter of the National Association for Music Educators and has volunteered in hosting band and choir festivals at CSU Chico. Kevin has completed a certificate from the Lingua e Canto, Sant’ Angelo summer opera program in Italy and is working on completion of his Kodàly certification from Portland State University. He has worked as a vocal assistant at Sierra College, and has volunteered with the Children’s Choir of Chico. Kevin is a dedicated musician and educator and is always learning ways to better his craft.

    Award Summary

    Regina Ellena established this award to honor the memory of her beloved husband, Nick Ellena. Her wish was to provide an award that would assist a graduating music education student who would be taking their next steps in accomplishing their goal. Recognizing that this is often a difficult transition, Regina wished to help with both financial support and encouragement.

  • Evan Goodson - North State Symphony Award

    Outstanding Student 2020Recipient Bio

    Evan is a multi instrumentalist who has participated in several ensembles including the Chico State Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Pep Band, Low Brass Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and North State Symphony (French Horn being the dominant instrument). Outside of campus, Evan has worked as a brass instructor for the Butte MTAC Music Academy, Orland High School Marching Band, Oroville Las Plumas Alliance Band, and the Nord Country School Rock Band. At ten years old, Evan formed the rock therapy band Jet Fuel Only with his two autistic brothers to help increase their social skills.  Since then, he has performed in myriad ensembles ranging from rock, pop, salsa, folk, classical, and jazz.  

    When not playing music, Evan is in the lab working on his Mechanical Engineering degree in hopes of finding a balance between the two disciplines. Evan has shown exceptional leadership and dedication in any ensemble he has participated. 

    Award Summary

    The Chico Guild of the North State Symphony, a dedicated group of volunteers, has supported the North State Symphony since 1959. Guild members help the orchestra, symphony staff, musicians, and community by assisting and awarding young musicians, giving donations, providing nourishment and housing for musicians, and promoting music appreciation. The Guild contributes annually to the North State Symphony Student Musician Award Endowment and the Symphony operations, in addition to providing flowers for soloists during concerts.