Skip to content
  • Print

Past Outstanding Students

Congratulations to our 2016 Outstanding Students

Each year, the Department of Biological Sciences recognizes outstanding students who have demonstrated academic excellence.

This May, we recognized the exceptional work of:

  • Renz Anthony Tan Antonio
  • Xiaoshan (Vida) Bao
  • Alston Shian Trinh

Congratulations to our 2014 Outstanding Students

2014 Early Award for Undergraduate Research:

Charlotte van Schooten
The Fred and Marguerite Early Undergraduate Research Award is given each year to recognize and support excellent undergraduate research. 

This year's recipient is Charlotte van Schooten (shoot-in). 

As a Biological Sciences major, Charlotte has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Tara Thiemann for 3 semesters and will continue work this summer. Charlotte has been an integral part of a research project describing the blood feeding patterns of mosquitoes in San Joaquin County and is currently helping to develop a molecular assay to detect dog heartworm parasites within mosquito vectors. 

Along with her hard work and motivation in the lab, Charlotte has maintained a fun and positive attitude - making her a truly outstanding undergraduate researcher. 

Outstanding Seniors:

Kamille Mercado
Kamille is a 3+3 pre-dental student who is graduating this spring with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. She has balanced her outstanding academic performance with many extra-curricular activities, including tutoring, active professional club and sorority memberships, shadowing at two dental practices, membership in Phi Kappa Phi, membership in the honors program, and work for the Center for Community Involvement.  Despite this busy schedule, Kamille has also maintained an interest in music and art.  With her unassuming demeanor and list of accomplishments, Kamille is poised to become a valuable and gifted member of the professional community. 

Lydia Schramm
Lydia is graduating with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in chemistry. She has taken many challenging courses, including organic chemistry, biochemistry, and immunology.  Lydia's accomplishment is all the more remarkable because she is a student athlete, required to devote many hours to training and competing as a member of the swim team. Lydia's irrepressible personality, permanent smile included, has endeared her to her professors during her time at Pacific. We have no doubt she will be just as popular and successful in medical school in her native Alberta, Canada.  We wish her great success. 

Sarah Anne Wong
Sarah Anne Wong is a remarkable student, who combines intelligence with hard work and compassion.  She started at Pacific as an accelerated 3+ Pre-Dental student, Honors student and Powell scholar, and she is graduating with a B.S. in Biological Sciences.  In 2013 she was admitted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.  She has a long-standing interest in neurobiology, and conducted undergraduate research first with Dr. Marcos Gridi-Papp from the Biology Department and later with Dr. Katerina Venderova from the School of Pharmacy.  

One of her ultimate goals is to combine her love of both dentistry and neurobiology by conducting research on the potential use of dental stem cells to aid in neuro-regeneration.  She may soon get her wish, since she was admitted into one of two spots in the DDS/PhD program in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at UCSF, which she starts in the fall. We look forward to her many accomplishments. 

Congratulations to our 2013 Outstanding Students

Each May, we recognize the exceptional work of our college's top seniors with the Outstanding Graduate award.

  • Maria Nattestad
  • Nadia Shaheen
  • Tracey Huey

Outstanding senior, Maria Nattestad is graduating in May with B.S. in Biological Sciences and 3.97 GPA.  Maria has started doing research with Drs. Joan and Geoff Lin-Cereghino and is already a published author on a paper in the international journal GENE.  She has also performed undergraduate research with Dr. Lisa Wrischnik and more recently with Dr. John Mayberry.  In the fall, Maria will pursue her interest in computation biology in the Ph.D. program at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.  We look forward to her many accomplishments

Nadia Shaheen is the 2013 recipient of the Fred and Marguerite Early Undergraduate Research Award.  As a Powell Scholar in the Biological Sciences Department, Nadia has pursued research opportunities in the laboratory of Drs. Geoff and Joan Lin-Cereghino.  Her careful and precise work in laboratory has yielded many good results that have resulted in one published manuscript and most recently, the Poster Session Award at the West Coast Biological Science Undergraduate Research Conference in San Diego.  But, you would never hear about her accomplishments from Nadia herself.  She is a kind and humble student who never calls attention to all of her hard work.  We are most pleased to honor Nadia with the Fred and Marguerite Early Undergraduate Research Award.

Tracey Huey started in 2007 as an accelerated 2+ Pre-Pharmacy student, and after two impressive years she attended the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, where she earned a reputation as professional, hard-working and very smart.  After graduating magna cum laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, she returned to the college in order to finish her BS in Biological Sciences, where she extended her reputation as bright and hard-working.  Of course, she is friendly and personable as well, going out of her way to help fellow students and acting as a mentor and role model.   Based on her performance in every course she has taken in the college, she should graduate this spring with a 4.0 GPA.  In the future she plans to work as a Pharmacist while she applies to Medical School. 

Congratulations to our 2012 Outstanding Students

Each May, we recognize the exceptional work of our college’s top seniors with the Outstanding Graduate award.

  • Kimiko Agari
  • Casey Ardrey 
  • Kristin Oshiro
  • Hansel Poerwanto

Kimiko Agari earned her degree in Biology and minor in Japanese in just three years. She has distinguished herself in both the classroom and laboratory.  After earning a Pacific Fund Summer Research Fellowship, Kimiko is already a co-author in a scientific publication and has another paper in the works. She was a Chemistry Workshop Leader and Microbiology Prep Coordinator. However, she is probably most recognized for walking backwards around campus as a Pacific Ambassador.

Kimiko plans to attend the UCLA School of Dentistry in the fall.

Casey Ardrey has earned the Outstanding Senior award not only for his consistently high academic performance but also because of his enthusiasm and true love of learning. In his time at Pacific, Casey performed research for Dr. Kirkwood Land for three years in the area of drug discovery. He presented his work at a recent Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference (PURCC).

Casey will begin Pharmacy school in the fall.  

Kristin Oshiro has been both a tutor and tutor coordinator at the Center for Community Involvement.  She led many service projects as Vice President and President of Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, such as showing kindergartners the science and joy of making root beer. She also performed research in the Lin-Cereghino lab for two years, which culminated in co-authoring a recent research article.

Kristin plans to attend medical school at Tufts University this fall.

Hansel Poerwanto earned his degree in Biology and minor in Japanese in just three years. He has done research for Drs. Kirkwood Land, Geoff and Joan Lin-Cereghino. He will become a published author after graduation. He helped students as a Chemistry Workshop Leader, the "prep guy" for microbiology lab, and as a resident student advisor. Many students recognize him as the friendly face behind the counter at the library.

Hansel will attend the UCSF School of Dentistry.

Stacy Luthy, Biology, and partners from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fishery Foundation of California, and Friends of the Lower Calaveras River conducted an education and outreach event on October 22 for students from A.A. Stagg and Bear Creek high schools.  The students learned about the upstream sections of the Calaveras River, which is the source of much of Stockton's drinking water and is critical habitat for threatened Central Valley Steelhead.


Students Receive Awards for Biomedical Research

During Pacific Research Day at the Arthur A. Dugoni Dental School, two awards were given for outstanding posters to Biology students participating in the biomedical research collaboration, Pacific Connection. One went to graduate student Rhea Hautea '11 (from the laboratory of Dr. Joanna Albala) for her work on vitamin D in head and neck cancer, and another went to undergraduate student Albert Lin '12 (from the laboratory of Dr. Craig Vierra) for his work on spider silk proteins.

Students Contribute to Spider Silk Research Featured in Publications and Presentations

The article "Sticky Business: Video Shows the Right Way to Extract Silk Glands from a Black Widow Spider" was published in the online version of Scientific American on January 19, 2011. The article features Dr. Craig Vierra along with graduate students Coby La Mattina, Yang Hsia, Eric Gnesa, Felicia Jeffery and Tiffany Tuton-Blasingame, who have been researching ways to make synthetic spider silk for commercial applications. The article is accompanied by a video that shows how to dissect a black widow spider and extract its silk glands. The video was recently released on JoVE, the online Journal of Visualized Experiments. 

Hsia (M.S. '11), Gnesa (M.S. '11), Jeffery (M.S. '11), and Vierra also had their chapter "Spider Silk Composites and Applications" published in Metal, Ceramic and Polymeric Composites for Various Uses (John Cuppoletti, ed., InTech, 2011). In addition, Hsia, Gnesa and Vierra presented "Glue Silk Proteins: Molecules with Novel Biomimetic Potential" at the American Arachnological Society (AAS) meeting at Lewis and Clark University in Portland, OR.

Meet Our Outstanding 2011 Graduates

At the end of the year, each of the academic departments and interdisciplinary programs in the college of the Pacific honors a truly exceptional graduating senior or group of seniors with the Outstanding Graduate Award. This award is given to students who have not only earned a consistently high academic record, but who have also been actively involved in the discipline through activities, research, or special projects.

Dayoung (Jessica) Song earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences in three years.  An outstanding student both inside and outside of the classroom, Jessica served the Pacific community as a peer leader for Organic Chemistry and as a recruiter for new Biological Science majors.  She also performed undergraduate research in Dr. Lisa Wrischnik's laboratory.  She is an exceptional Biology student, but is also a gifted scholar in other areas, as evidenced by winning the CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award. This award recognizes a freshman student who has demonstrated an excellent understanding of General Chemistry. Jessica participated in the pre-dental club and Beta-Beta-Beta, a National Biological Honor Society.  In the fall, Jessica is headed to the University of Pennsylvania Dental School. 

Carolyn Stark was a Powell Scholar and an outstanding senior in Biological Sciences. Though a humble student, during lectures Carolyn evoked fear in many of her instructors by asking probing questions-way beyond the depth of the course material. Carolyn hails from Dixon, California where she lives with her family and zoo of steer, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and an indeterminate number of chickens. In the fall, Carolyn will be attending the Ph.D. program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Amanda Tsoi has an impressive academic record, but just as impressive is her devotion to fellow students and the community through volunteer work. She has also demonstrated leadership through her roles with organizations such as Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Kappa Alpha Theta. In addition, she was a founder of the Delta Nu Tau Pre-Dental Fraternity. Though busy, she was a well-rounded person and brightened the halls with her smile. She will start at the Dugoni School of Dentistry this summer.

Off to Grad School

Here are some of the places our recent graduates will be heading this fall.

  • Eric Gnesa will be attending Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Stockton, CA.
  • Jordan Freeark, Kristin Heller, Tejas Mulye, Amanda Tsoi, Dhwani Shah, Christine Fu, and Justin Stephens will be attending Pacific's Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. More than 45 of our students have been accepted into Dental Schools across the country!
  • Carolyn Stark will be attending the Ph.D. program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • Jessica Song will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Daniel Sassoon will be attending the M.D./Ph.D. program at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
  • Cherie Musgrove will be attending University of California-Santa Cruz to earn a Ph.D.
  • Marilyn Chow will be starting the Ph.D. program at the Oregon Health Sciences Institute.
  • Tyler Van Hensbergen will be attending medical school at Georgetown.

Meet Our Outstanding Seniors for 2010!

Lauren Conway earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences in only three years with an outstanding GPA. An exemplary student both inside and outside the classroom, Lauren has served as a Student Representative for the Biology Department and a peer leader in Chemistry. An active undergraduate researcher, Lauren has worked with Dr. Kirk Land in Biology, Dr. Andreas Franz in Chemistry, and Dr. Dorothy Dechant at Pacific's Dugoni School of Dentistry, where she will start studies in the summer. Lauren has also volunteered for three years with the Southern Alameda County Dental Society's "Give Kids a Smile Program."

Seth GomezAfter leaving the baseball diamond for the laboratory, Seth Gomez has become an outstanding senior in Biological Sciences. In conjunction with his research partners, Jen Yau and Namphuong Tran, Seth has produced award-winning posters for the Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference two years in a row. Seth is already an author on two papers (one published, one in review) through his participation in Drs. Joan and Geoff Lin-Cereghino's lab. Whether Seth is pouring hundreds of agar plates as the "prep guy" for the microbiology lab, resolving problems at the residence halls as Assistant Director of Housing, or serving as a Supplemental Instructor for BIO 61, he is known for having a most pleasant and unflappable disposition.

Like Lauren, Cassie Karambela earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences in only three years with an outstanding GPA. Cassie has served as a peer leader for Chemistry and is an exceptional Biology student, but she is also a gifted scholar in other areas, as evidenced by her winning the Raymond College Alumni Associates essay competition in 2008 and the Thomas J. Long Foundation Scholarship for academic excellence in general education courses in 2009. Cassie will be attending the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton this fall.