News @ the Beach

Three Valedictorians from Long Beach Are Part of 20th Incoming Class of President’s Scholars at Cal State Long Beach

Altogether 25 from throughout the State Will Receive the $70,000 Scholarship

When classes start at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) on Monday, Aug. 25, three valedictorians from Long Beach Unified School District high schools will officially begin their collegiate careers as members of the university’s 20th incoming class of President’s Scholars. Altogether 25 from throughout the state have received the $70,000 scholarship. As part of the program, Roxanne A. Jacobs, Joshua M. Pignon and Allison L. Wall, all from Long Beach Unified School District, start at CSULB on full, four-year scholarships covering all expenses.

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The incoming class of President’s Scholars are top row (l-r) Elyssa Lawrence, Elizabeth Tyler, Sabreen Thorne, Justin Cortina, Quentin Pestner, Amanda Burns, Marco Zamora, Erik Larsen and Tyler Wayne. Pictured on the bottom row are (l-r) Roxanne Jacobs, Christopher Fernandez, Alexis Wildman, Joshua Pignon, Miranda Horton, Ryan Florence, Hope Daley, Katelyn Campbell, Lea Fong, Nicolas Olenslager-Orton, Shealyn Engfer and Allison Wall. Not pictured are Scott Morris, Christina Tapia, Andrew Warren and Amy Yang.

The CSULB President’s Scholars Program was created in 1995 in an effort to bring valedictorians and national scholars from California high schools to CSULB. It is recognized as a premier program of its kind in the state, and more than 1,100 students from 42 of California’s 58 counties have been chosen for the program since its inception.

“Even after 20 years, the President’s Scholars Program at Cal State Long Beach continues to attract many of the brightest and most academically talented high school graduates in California,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “The program is extremely competitive.  Each year, we receive hundreds of applications for these scholarships, but this year only 25 students were selected to be part of this incoming group of scholastically outstanding individuals.”

The 25 students were selected for the program from an applicant pool of nearly 650 students statewide.

“Because of the efforts of hundreds of supporters who annually raise the necessary funds privately, we are able to offer these academically talented students a full scholarship and the opportunity to receive an outstanding education in a variety of academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” explained Valerie Bordeaux, director of the CSULB President’s Scholars Program.   “In return, they add a great deal to the stature of the university through their academic pursuits in research, academic competitions and other activities.  They also perform thousands of hours of community service and are outstanding representatives of the university wherever they go.”

Jacobs, a valedictorian for the Class of 2014 at Robert A Millikan High School, is the daughter of Eric and Charmaine Jacobs of Long Beach. Even though CSULB is less than a 10-minute walk from her home, she was pushed to look into the university and its offerings by her mother, an alumna of CSULB who graduated from the campus’ physical therapy program with honors.

“My mother rightly pointed out that this is a top program and that CSULB could provide many excellent academic and extracurricular opportunities. But who listens to their parents?” Jacobs wrote in her application essay. “Yet, as I researched colleges throughout the country, this university popped up time and time again. Normally, I hate it when she is right, but not this time. CSULB is a golden opportunity sitting right in front of my eyes, and I never realized this until I did my homework.”

Jacobs admits that she is not sure about what career to pursue, but she enters CSULB as a pre-civil engineering major. “Engineering sounded like an intriguing option because my dad is also an engineer,” she said.

Pignon, a valedictorian for the Class of 2014 at Lakewood High, is the son of Kelly and Lynn Pignon of Long Beach. Active in his church and Boy Scout Troop, Pignon will study criminal justice at CSULB with a career goal of becoming a lawyer or judge. Wall, also a valedictorian from Millikan High, is the daughter of Scott and Geralyn Wall. At CSULB, she will major in nutrition and dietetics with plans to become a clinical dietitian.

“This school is one of only 16 colleges throughout the state of California to have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND),” Wall wrote in her application essay. “The dietitians I have spoken to say CSULB has the best to offer in this area.”

As President’s Scholars, Jacobs, Pignon and Wall receive full scholarships, covering their tuition and fees, an annual book allowance and paid housing in the campus residence halls for four years.  In addition, they receive priority registration, personal academic counseling and more. To be eligible for the CSULB President ‘s Scholars Program, students must be a senior class valedictorian, ranked No. 1 at their high school, a National Merit finalist or semi-finalist, a National Achievement Scholar or a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar. The benefits for qualifying valedictorians and national scholars from accredited California high schools are made possible through the support of the CSULB Alumni Association, President’s Associates and the Corporate Scholars Council.

Other recipients include: Amanda Burns, Sabreen Thorne and Justin Cortina, Palmdale; Katelyn Campbell, Fresno; Hope Daley, Torrance; Shealyn Engfer, Mariposa; Christopher Fernandes, Yucaipa; Ryan Florence, Big Bear Lake; Lea Fong, Auburn; Miranda Horton, Cool: Erik Larsen, Visalia; Elyssa Lawrence, Terra Bella; Scott Morris, Vacaville; Nicolas Olenslager-Orton, Tulare; Quentin Pestner, Corona; Christina Tapia, Rancho Cucamonga; Elizabeth Tyler, Merced; Andrew Warren and Tyler Wayne, Lancaster; Alexis Wildman, Colfax; Amy Yang, Rancho Palos Verdes; and Marco Zamora, Plumes Lake.