College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

President at Graduation 2019


The following students are honored for their academic achievement, leadership, and contributions to their departments and the University.
  • Terrence Bell- Outstanding Student – Religious Studies Online

    Oustanding Student Religious Studies Terrence BellTerrence Bell joined the Religious Studies program at Chico State in 2018. Terrence resides in Sacramento, California, where he currently works full-time for a California law enforcement agency. As a first-generation college student, scholarship in RELS has not only provided Mr. Bell the opportunity to acquire an enriched understanding of social and cultural experiences, but has also been instrumental in fostering the knowledge, skills, and abilities conducive to engage in the rigors of education with passion and confidence. Terrence is an online student who has shone from day one. He always writes extremely insightful comments on the lectures and goes through them so carefully that we can use his notes to remind us what we said. His papers are invariably well written and well researched, displaying all the skills we would like to see in a budding scholar of religion: they are theoretically sophisticated, carefully argued and show an impressive sensitivity to the complex valences that are at play in the religions of the world. He is a model online student. Upon graduation, Terrence plans to matriculate at a local law school and study public law.

  • Yuliana Calvillo Solis - Outstanding Student – Humanities

    Outstanding Student Yuliana Calvillo SolisYuliana Calvillo Solis, who is representing the College as an HFA Student Ambassador, joined us at Chico State in 2015 to double major in Humanities and French, with a double minor in European Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. Yuliana is an intrepid Humanist and a delightful and sparkling presence in all her classes and many activities at Chico State. Following her first year, Yuliana traveled to France for a year of study at the CSU’s IP campus in Aix-en-Provence. Nevertheless, she soon realized that one year was not enough. She remedied this intolerable situation by taking the exceptional step of applying to spend an additional year studying abroad in Paris. She returned wearing only black clothing, of course. Recently she has been teaching herself medieval French and Spanish (and has completed three semesters of Arabic language as well!). Yuliana’s Honors Thesis in Humanities centers on the representation of Muslims in the two foundational epic poems of medieval France and Spain, La Chanson de Roland and El Cantar del Mio Cid. Yuliana hopes to one day earn a PhD, and wishes to use her knowledge of English, Spanish, and French to work with refugees and immigrants around the world.

  • Michael “Mikey” Riser - Outstanding Student – Religious Studies

    Oustanding Student Michael RiserMichael Riser came to Chico State in 2017 after studying and working in his home state of Texas for many years. A double major in Comparative Religion and Asian Studies with a Japanese minor, Michael has displayed an unflagging work ethic, a bottomless hunger for intellectual adventure, and has served as a College of HFA Student Ambassador. He studied Japanese at a direct exchange to Shinshu University in Matsumoto, Japan during 2018-2019 and studied at a Buddhist temple in Ningbo, China over the summer of 2017. Michael has truly risen to the demands that we have made on him and prepared excellent papers, presentations, and tests that demonstrate he has learned a tremendous amount about the religions of the world. He is an open-minded and adventurous thinker who is not afraid to ask big questions and is eager to do the deep research needed to answer them responsibly. He is able to bring together knowledge from a variety of domains both within and outside of comparative religion to provide context and insight into the issues that we deal with in this program. He would love to continue working (and possibly studying) at CSU Chico, and is considering future study of Buddhism, language, or library science.

  • Angela Stieber -Outstanding CORH Leadership Award

    Oustanding Student Angela SteiberAngela 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.

  • Sylvia Pape - Outstanding Student – BA in English

    Outstanding Student 2020

    Sylvia Pape is one of the most active and prominent English majors on campus. She embodies the involved citizen in her varied department, university, and community roles, having served as an editor for Watershed Review, a reviewer for the campus’s Book in Common selection committee, and as an integral community volunteer during the Camp Fire. Faculty in English praise Sylvia’s academic and creative work, which includes everything from multimodal projects to award-winning poetry.

  • Tanner Hansen - Outstanding Student – BA in English

    Recipient BioTanner Hansen exemplifies the traits we hope to see in every English major: intellectual curiosity, rigorous inquiry, and remarkable academic and creative writing talents. Faculty who have had Tanner in their classes are uniform in their praise not only of his work ethic, but his kind and compassionate nature. His work has encompassed projects that go beyond the traditional academic papers, including filmmaking in China and collaborating on a digital story investigating a local waste site. Tanner plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing.

  • Ian Allen - Outstanding Student – MA in English

    Oustanding Student MA English Ian HansenIan Allen completed his creative project, a collection of short stories entitled “Reasons to Worry,” in fall 2019, chaired by Dr. Rob Davidson. The collection includes both flash fiction and longer stories. Ian experiments with a variety of genres, from sci-fi to the Gothic, and modes, from narrative to lyric. What connects these different stories is a powerful theme of anxiety, one of the “Reasons to Worry” alluded to in the title. Another unifying principle is the charming presence of a fabulist, or non-realistic, element in every tale, from talking cars to mythic monsters hiding in the night. But fear not, Ian frequently writes with a strong sense of humor, lightening the mood. It’s an impressive collection of work, and surely a hint of what’s to come. Ian was also a successful graduate teaching associate, and taught multiple sections of Beginning Creative Writing (Engl 220W) while in the program.

  • Katherine Curless - Outstanding Student-History

    “I have had her in a few classes, in Chico and in Prague, and she is exceptional,” writes Dr. Kate Transchel. “Her writing skills are first rate as are her oral presentations. She is always prepared and engaged in class. She is bright, motivated, and accomplished. When CSU Chico ended the Russian-language courses, Katherine continued to study Russian on her own.” Katherine is graduating with a major in History, a minor in European Studies, and a certificate in Public History. Congratulations, Katherine!

  • Justin Jodaitis - Outstanding Student- History

    Outstanding Student HistoryDr. Jason Nice writes the following: "Justin Jodaitis is a singular student and historian. He is extremely hard working and always well prepared for the task at hand, but most importantly he approaches historical learning with determination and wonder. Justin writes history as a poet who is always faithful to his sources. Once, when analyzing a 1968 etching as a piece of history, Justin explained that 'in order to achieve the depth and gravity of the plaza one should be able to understand how the past is integrated within the present...this memory is a tangible entity and resembles a fire that continues to burn. However, for one to extinguish the flames of violence, one must first understand where and how the fire began.' Justin understands the force of history, the responsibility of the historian, and the importance of aesthetics in historical thinking and writing."

  • Wesley Smith - Outstanding Student – French

    Outstanding Student 2019Both a French and International Relations major, Wesley Smith has an outstanding work ethic and this trait propelled his trajectory from the time he arrived at CSU, Chico. He lived in Africa and began learning French there. He continued French study in high school and he began in intermediate French at CSU, Chico. He took advanced courses every semester thereafter. This year he is enrolled with CSU International Programs at Aix-Marseille University. He plans to work for an international agency where his background in French will be in high demand.

  • Katharine Worcester - Outstanding Student – German

    Outstanding Student 2019Kate Worcester has approached her two majors, German and Civil Engineering, with equal commitment and engagement. Her stellar academic performance in German, which earned her membership in the National German Honor Society Delta Phi Alpha, is coupled with an obvious passion for the language and culture. Following a year abroad at the University of Tübingen in Germany, Kate has encouraged numerous others to follow in her footsteps. She initiated many a Chico State student in the world of German games and taught German to fourth-graders in a local elementary school. Kate has been an inspiration and an outstanding role model.

  • Michelle Pusich - Outstanding Student – Spanish

    Outstanding Student 2019Michelle Pusich joined the Spanish program in 2017 and she will graduate with a Spanish major this spring. For five years, Michelle commuted from Grass Valley to Chico and managed to do pursue her education while raising a family and working full time in her own beauty shop in Grass Valley, California. She is capable of understanding complex issues and ideas, is sympathetic to the needs of others, and is very motivated and unafraid of new challenges. She has been a joy to work with due to her uplifting personality, cheerful nature, and positive outlook on life.

  • Gilsa Castellón de la Rosa - Outstanding Student - Spanish Pre-Credential

    Outstanding Student 2020

    Gilsa Castellón de la Rosa joined the Spanish Program in 2015 and she will graduate with a Pre-Credential Spanish major this spring. For five years, Gilsa commuted from Corning to Chico. In 2019, she was inducted into Phi Sigma Iota, the International Foreign Language Honor Society. She is planning to become a bilingual high school Spanish teacher. As a first-generation student, she is a role model for our students and her siblings.  

  • Kelsi Snyder - Outstanding Student – Latin American Studies

    Outstanding Student 2019Kelsi Snyder is completing a double major in History and Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish. She aspires to become a high school teacher and coach and eventually hopes to become a university professor in what she identifies as a male-dominated field. She has a passion for “learning about and furthermore educating others on topics that are not commonly presented or discussed in pre-university education” and she wants to teach in underserved school districts. During her time at Chico State, she has also worked as a peer advisor and senior staff member for summer orientation, and she also plays for the lacrosse team, dances with Envy (Chico State’s hip-hop dance team), participates in the history club, and volunteers for CAVE and Chico Community Food Pantry. After completing her BA in Fall 2020, she plans to enroll in the credential program at Chico State.

  • Monica Lopez Acosta - Outstanding Student – Teaching in International Languages

    Outstanding Student 2020When Monica Lopez Acosta joined the MA program in Teaching International Languages (TIL) in Fall 2018, we were thrilled to have attracted a gifted teacher and young scholar of exceptional promise. Indeed, she fulfilled this promise entirely, finishing the program with an outstanding thesis that explored Spanish learners’ awareness of variation in the use of modes of address. Monica’s intellectual curiosity is matched by a contagious zest for learning and teaching. Her students thoroughly enjoyed her Spanish 101 classes and she also quickly earned the respect and affection of her fellow graduate students, who elected her to serve as president of their graduate student association (TILSA)

  • Michael “Mikey” Riser - Outstanding Student – Asian Studies

    Outstanding Student 2019Michael Riser joined us at Chico State in 2017 after studying and working in his home state of Texas for many years. A double major in Asian Studies and Comparative Religion with a Japanese minor too, Mr. Riser has soaked up every opportunity the Asian Studies program has been able to offer, taking nearly every course in our catalog and studying in both Japan and Taiwan, and has done yeoman service as an HFA Student Ambassador.

  • Royee Avitzur - Outstanding Student – Music Industry

    Outstanding Student 2020Royee stands as one of the finest examples of a student candidate for this award. His exceptional academic achievement placed him at the top of his class in Music Industry, while earning a double major in Recording Arts. His technical and organizational skills, humble character, reliability and leadership skills shined, earning him an undisputed reputation among his peers as the MVP and most unsung hero behind the polish and success of countless SOTA Productions events. He has been recognized similarly for his work with A.S. Productions, high profile internships such as EventBrite and more.

  • Rebecca Solis -Outstanding Student – Music Education

    Outstanding Student 2020Rebecca Solis has been the president of the student chapter of the National Association for Music Educators at Chico State for the past 2 years. Responsibilities include planning events, running meetings, organizing K-12 music festivals, and getting guest speakers. She has been on the state collegiate council for the same organization and has proven to be a leader for other student chapters in CA. Additionally, Rebecca is also the president of the Band Staff which is responsible for all the band set up, equipment, sectionals, as well as hosting festivals.

  • Kelsey Campbell - Outstanding Student – Musical Theatre

    Outstanding Student 2020

    Since arriving at Chico, Kelsey has been a leader in the musical theatre program. She has appeared in featured roles in Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, and Our House. As makeup designer, her work has appeared in River Bride, She Kills Monsters and In the Heights.

  • Gabriel Samaro -Outstanding Student – General Music

    Outstanding Student 2020During his four years here, Gabe has been heavily involved in many aspects of the Department of Music and Theatre. Not only is he on the verge of successfully completing a double major in Recording Arts and General Music, he also has been a part of the Honors Program the entire time he has been enrolled at CSU, Chico. In addition to his academic studies, Gabe has also held leadership roles in the Audio Engineering Society and Student Composer’s Forum student organizations. As acting president of the Student Composers Forum for the last three years, Gabe has personally been responsible for procuring funding for the New Music Symposium, contributing to its success.

  • Edson Cruz Martinez - Outstanding Student – Recording Arts

    Outstanding Student 2020As a part of the Recording Arts program Edson has exemplified what a great student can be. Over the last two years Edson has served as our studio manager, integral in the well functioning of our recording studios. During that time he’s been a great friend to others, an always helpful peer and an exceptional academic student. Edson has been a wonderful influence on all and we here in Recording Arts look forward to what we expect will be a fruitful career.

  • Tristin Knox - Outstanding Student – Theatre Arts

    Outstanding Student 2020As an actor, Tristin appeared in featured roles in How to Succeed in Business, and Dancing at Lughnasa. Additionally, Tristin has served as costume designer for

  • Harmony Ordaz - Outstanding Student - Philosophy

    Outstanding Student 2020Harmony came to CSU Chico from San Diego with the intention of studying nursing. Her first semester here she took PHIL 102 Logic and Critical Thinking with Prof. Brooke Moore, and at the end of the semester asked him “Can I be an assistant in this class?”. She worked with Prof. Moore teaching that class until her final semester at Chico State. Along the way, she developed a passion for philosophy, and switched her major. Her professors describe her as “smart,” “curious,” “hardworking,” kind,” “impressive” and “outstanding.” Next year she will begin an accelerated nursing program, and plans to then pursue a master’s degree in philosophy with a focus on bioethics.

  • Jory Harms -Outstanding Student – MFA in Art Studio

    Outstanding Student 2020Jory 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.

  • Will Mobley - Outstanding Student – BFA Art Studio

    Shai 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.Will Mobley, the Department of Art and Art History’s Outstanding Student, is a highly dedicated student and artist. He always comes to class with an enthusiastic and energetic approach. He is passionate about the technical complexities of printmaking, is a great problem solver, and is unafraid to experiment and take risks; he enjoys challenging himself and sets the bar high in classes. His culminating BFA exhibition successfully brought viewers’ attention to contemporary social issues centered around wealth, corruption and social media.

    Will is a natural leader. He is personable, organized, and excels at analyzing his peers’ work. I can always rely on him to provide insightful feedback during class discussions.

    Beyond classwork Will has made several contributions to the department and college, such as serving as an HFA ambassador, an officer position of the student print club, a department employee, and he has been actively involved in fundraisers so that he can attend and participate in national level conferences.


  • Martin Townsend - Outstanding Student - BFA Art Studio

    Shai 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.Born in Memphis, TN in 1992, Martin Townsend explores observations on the human condition primarily through the use of paint. With a background in drafting and design, Townsend received his Associates of Art from Fresno City College as well as a Bachelor's of Fine Art and a Bachelor's of Art in Art Education from California State University, Chico. Townsend is currently based out of Fresno working with the local community to create more engaging public art.

  • Tara Schjeldahl - Outstanding Student – BFA Interior Architecture

    No bio available.

    Outstanding Student 2020

  • Chantal Kiffe - Outstanding Student – BA in Art Hist

    No bio available.

    Outstanding Student 2020

  • Shai Porath - Outstanding Student - BA in Art Education

    Shai 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.

    Outstanding Student 2020

  • Yolanda Ochoa - Outstanding Student - BA in Art Studio

    Yolanda is a first-generation university student from a Mexican-American family that has spent her lifetime working in the migrant farm labor community. It was not easy for Yolanda to seek a different path from the one her family were so familiar with, and this often showed in her artwork. She was a shy young woman in the classroom, but also exceedingly courageous, overcoming all obstacles to succeed in her dream of an art studio degree. Since graduating she has illustrated a children’s book and is looking forward to her graduation: the first ever for her family.