Phi Kappa Phi 2002





Margie Yu
Public Affairs Spec.
(323) 343-3047


of Events

Cal State L.A. Honors Top Students at
Phi Kappa Phi Initiation

Biology Major Awarded a
National Graduate Fellowship

Los Angeles, CA – Biology major Tina Anh Thu Thi Nguyen (Diamond Bar resident), the recipient of the Cal State L.A. chapter’s Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior award, is one of only 52 students nationwide to receive the $8,000 Graduate Scholar Award from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. This is the fourth year that a Cal State L.A. student has been awarded a national Phi Kappa Phi graduate fellowship.

English major Michele Marietta (Los Angeles resident) and Political Science major Charys Francis Scotton (Altadena resident) both received the University’s Phi Kappa Phi Certificate of Merit. The awards were announced at the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society awards banquet on April 28, where more than 100 of Cal State L.A.’s top students were inducted into the University’s chapter. State Senator Gloria Romero, a Cal State L.A. professor of psychology, was the event’s keynote speaker. At the ceremony, Romero was presented with an honorary active-for-life membership to Phi Kappa Phi.

Each year, a limited number of outstanding Cal State L.A. students are invited to become members of Phi Kappa Phi, the largest academic honor society in the nation open to students in all academic disciplines. Those faculty members selected as Cal State L.A. Outstanding Professors and other faculty members who have demonstrated superior achievement are also nominated for membership at this time.

For more information on Phi Kappa Phi, call Dr. Raymond Garcia, professor of Chemistry at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-2144.


Phi Kappa Phi national winner and Cal State L.A. chapter’s Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior: Tina Anh Thu Thi Nguyen
Recognized for her intelligence, strong motivation, pleasant personality and good sense of humor by her professors and peers, Cal State L.A. chapter’s Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior Tina Nguyen is planning on pursuing a degree in medicine upon graduation from Cal State L.A. this coming June 15. At a young age of 18, she has already been accepted to Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City. She has recently been selected as the winner of the 2002 National Phi Kappa Phi graduate scholarship, one of only 52 in the country.

Nguyen’s goal to become a doctor sparked when she started accompanying her grandparents and parents to their doctor’s appointments to act as an interpreter. Nguyen explains, “Often because of language barrier, they didn’t understand the doctor’s directions or diagnosis. It was my job to ask the proper questions and translate the answers. During these visits, I began to wonder if I could be a doctor and if I’d be good at it….

One day, on a doctor’s visit with my grandma, I noticed something that has since helped me focus and given me a reason to make medicine my lifelong career. That day I saw a bad doctor. He was callous, short and didn’t seem to care about the person he was treating. He knew what he was doing, but his manner was impersonal and rude. We got nothing out of that visit. That visit inspired me to change medicine.”

Nguyen, who started her college career at age 14 in 1997 through the Early Entrance Program (EEP) at Cal State L.A., is dedicated to her studies. She is also a leader on campus and an active volunteer in her community. At Cal State L.A., she served as academic coordinator for the General Education Honors Club, historian for the American Medical Student Association, and president of the Early Entrance Program Club. She has been a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Student Club, Golden Key (service) Club, and the Beta Beta Beta biology club on campus. In her community, she has been a senior member of the St. Denis Hand Bell Choir, a youth counselor for the St. Denis Youth Ministry, and a sergeant at arms/secretary for the Circle K Service Fraternity. Additionally, she has served as a volunteer at the Whittier Hospital and interned at the Whittier Oncology Medical Center preceptorship program.

For the past two and a half years, Nguyen has also worked as a research assistant in the laboratories for professor Wayne Tikkanen of the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at Cal State L.A.

Tikkanen notes, “What is impressive [about Tina] is that she started her research project in my laboratories after taking only a non-major’s survey course in chemistry. …Her talent and her strong motivation to learn are apparent from my observations in the laboratories. She is interested in all aspects of the work, including the development of the ideas that led to the current ongoing projects, showing an intellectual maturity that is especially surprising in such a young woman.”

Howard Rosen, professor of biology, remarks, “Tina is an exceptional student.…She demonstrated a clear understanding of the scientific basis of each of the experiment performed. She was well-organized and well-prepared for laboratory sessions. Her experiments were swiftly and meticulously performed. The other members of her group accepted her as the leader in all group projects. Her laboratory reports were well-written and scientifically accurate….I would rank Tina among the top one to two percent of all students I have taught in the past thirty years.”

Nguyen’s honors include the National Dean’s List 1998-2000; Phi Kappa Phi Freshman of the Year 1997-98; Howard Hughes Biomedical Research Scholar 1998, General Motors Scholarship and Award 1999-2000; Early Entrance Program/Joyce Burke Senior of the Year 1999-2000; All American Scholar 2001; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges 2001; and the CSULA Alumni Scholarship 2001.


Certificate of Merit: Michele Marietta
Michele Marietta, one of three scholarship winners from the Cal State L.A. chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, will be either pursuing a Ph.D. in 19th Century British fiction or a law degree concentrating on literature and international publishing upon graduation from Cal State L.A. She has already applied to Cambridge University, UCLA and UC Berkeley.

“…Without a doubt, my choice to pursue my post-graduate education has been influenced by my professors and Phi Kappa Phi mentors at Cal State L.A.,” notes Marietta, who returned to school in January of 2002 to earn her undergraduate degree after a 13-year break in academia. She has maintained a 3.9 GPA in her upper level coursework as a full-time student while working 40 hours a week as an advertising media planner and buyer.

The English major has been on the Dean’s List and is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. She was also the recipient of the Clayton and Patricia Matthews English Scholarship.

Besides her rigorous work and study schedule, she also sponsors two children and one tribal elder on the Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota during Christmas.

Regardless what direction she takes, Marietta explains, “I know I will give back to the academic communities of Cal State L.A. and to Phi Kappa Phi. It is because of their full support and encouragement that I have chosen to continue my education…”

Says Michael Calabrese, associate professor of English at Cal State L.A., “[Michele Marietta] will make an excellent scholar and teacher, offering many important gifts to her future students….In class, Ms. Marietta is a natural leader, articulate, courtly, gracious, and poised—a model of professionalism and dignity for her classmates. She participated keenly in class discussion and wrote three fine essays, displaying intellectual depth and breadth…”

“Michele’s keen knowledge of and insightful and refined perspectives on a wide range of phenomena having to do with literature is genuinely impressive,” adds Geoffrey C. Middlebrook, lecturer in English at Cal State L.A.


Certificate of Merit: Charys Francis Scotton
Charys Francis Scotton, who started attending Cal State L.A. as a full-time student at age 15, is on her way to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science this June 15, 2002. She was able to skip most of high school through participation in the University’s Early Entrance Program, the only program of its kind in the nation that allows students to participate fully in college life.

A pre-law major, Scotton has been an intern for the Los Angeles Superior Courts, both in the civil and criminal divisions, since the summer of 2001.

Scotton says, “Through this experience, I have come to appreciate the role our judicial system plays in our government as well as develop a deeper understanding of the workings of the court and its actors.

Also, my work experience with non-profit organizations, such as The Healthy Babies Alliance and Leadership Pasadena, allowed me the chance to interact with many local and state government representatives, realizing the important responsibility they have in the management and organization of our country through the legislative aspect of our governments.”

Despite carrying a full study load and working a part-time job to provide for her own financial needs, Edward S. Malecki, acting associate dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences, shares, “Charys is an elected member of the Associated Students’ Board representing our college, Natural and Social Sciences. She is the current president of the local chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society for political scientists. She is also active in her church choir, but somehow she has found time to be a member and officer of the CSULA Cheer/Dance team and a member of the CSULA tennis team. She has a great deal of poise, which explains why she was selected as Miss Pasadena Teen USA Princess in 1997, Miss San Gabriel Valley Teen USA in 1998, and Miss North Los Angeles County Teen USA Princess in 1999.”

“She is ethical, articulate, intelligent, highly motivated, and most importantly, already a credit to Phi Kappa Phi,” adds Malecki.

Scotton received the Alumni Scholarship Award in 2001, the Associated Students, Inc. Board Member of the Month in July 2001, and the Political Science Department Scholarship Award for 2001. She is also listed in the National Dean’s List, the Who’s Who Among America’s Colleges and Universities, and the Fall 2001 CSULA Athletics High Honor Roll Honorees. This year, she was one of two CSULA recipients of the Phi Kappa Phi Certificate of Merit.

Richard S. Maddox, director of the Early Entrance Program, comments, “Charys’ future career goal of practicing law is fully attainable considering her extraordinary dedication to achievement, her industriousness and her remarkable ability to organize her priorities in light of her vast responsibilities…Her motivation to excel and her devotion to academics are outstanding.”


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