20 FC transfer students will be acknowledged at the annual Students of Distinction Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 12, 2017.
On April 17, 2017, the Office of Student Activities released the list of finalists.
Students of Distinction are divided into four categories and consists of five students per achievement, which is as the following: Academic, Competitive, Personal and Service Achievement.
For their high achievements and dedication to the college, these FC top scholars will be receiving an award of $300-$500 scholarship.
Two students with the highest scores from the voting process will be presented an additional $450 and will be deemed “Distinguished Student of the Year.”
Several of the awardees shared their excitement upon receiving the distinctions.
Russell Hillabrand, recipient in the Personal Achievement category, expressed his gratitude for this award.
“I feel honored to be awarded this distinction along with the many other wonderful students,” Hillabrand said, “Each of the nominees had spectacular stories of triumph and perseverance through difficult circumstances. Selected or not, I hope each student continues to strive for their goals.”
Hillabrand will be transferring to Pomona College, one of the five prestigious Claremont Colleges, with a full-ride scholarship.
Ian Kolaja is “incredibly humbled to share the honor with such respectable and determined people.”
Kolaja, who received a UC Berkeley admission but is still waiting for MIT, plans to major in nuclear engineering and continue work on his team’s Direct Methane Conversion project and combat climate change.
Many of the awardees were initially stunned by the announcement.
Nicholas Le, who will attend UC Berkeley as an Economics major, described his reaction to receiving the honor as “a pleasant surprise.”
“It was a wonderful way to leave my mark on Fullerton College,” Aryiel Sanchez explained, “Especially since it has a close place in my heart. My decision to enroll at Fullerton really was a pivotal moment that has impacted my life for the better.”
Sanchez plans to participate in FC’s study abroad program and then attend either UC Berkeley or UC Santa Cruz as an anthropology major.
“I was really excited,” Scott Begneski admitted, “I have seen a good number of my friends that I look up to get the same award the past years and to be one of them has been a honor.”
Begneski plans to pursue a degree in civil engineering at UC Davis.
Suzanne Row, who has been accepted Hope International University in Fullerton, was “extremely amazed” to become one of five finalists in the personal achievement category.
In the competitive category, Alyssa Aguilar was thrilled to be recognized for her debate accomplishments.
“I was really excited to get it,” Aguilar noted, “I know especially in competitive achievement I was probably up against some amazing student athletes.”
Aguilar plans to study political science at UC Irvine and attend law school in the near future.
Jennifer Nguyen revealed her appreciation for the opportunities that FC had given her, especially with the Robotics Team as she competed in various UC schools.
“I hope to continue competing and spreading my love of STEM,” Nguyen said, “As for my future, I would like to work with Robotics or Artificial Intelligence and become an advocate for girls drawn to STEM.”
She intends to transfer to UC Davis as a computer science and engineering major.
Jameson Hohbein voiced his appreciation for the nomination committee and the college as a whole.
“Their confidence in me will inspire my character for years to come,” Hohbein said, “Fullerton College is a great school and I’m so thankful I was able to be apart of this.”
Hohbein will attend UC Berkeley with a major in political science.
“I think that it’s quite an honor to be considered a Student of Distinction,” Jason Yu expressed, “I am thankful for the support I’ve received.”
Yu plans to attend either UC Santa Barbara or UC San Diego as a chemistry major.
He is looking forward to Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Western Washington University this summer, working in a lab with graduate students and faculty advisers on a research topic.
Kassandra Flores revealed her honor and admiration describing it as “just so nice to be recognized by Fullerton College.”
“I know the competition was really tough and I was really excited to be named one of the finalists,” continued Flores.
She will be transferring to UC Irvine in the fall, double majoring in psychology and social behaviors along with criminology, law and society in hopes to work in federal law enforcement.
The annual Students of Distinction Awards Ceremony will commence on Friday, May 12 in the dining hall.