Distinguished Student Achievement Award Recipients 2017

Select a Year: 20182017

Jump to a Section: Graduate HoodGraduate HonorsUndergraduate HoodUndergraduate Honors

Graduate Hood

Graduate Hood Robert Nakamoto

Robert Nakamoto

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Bobby Nakamoto's dissertation focuses on how to support public school educators to overcome implicit bias that arises from stereotypes. His dissertation flips self-knowledge on its head and seeks to create equity bias through critical self-knowledge. The dissertation examined if and how teachers' practice changed following implicit bias training. Bobby Nakamoto is one of the most involved student in the Graduate College of Education and in his local community. At the GCOE he serves as a teaching assistant and a graduate research assistant. He advises and supports undergrads to understand complex material around issues of educational equity, provides mentorship, and offers writing support. He is respected by all of his colleagues and is a true leader who takes on conflict with authentic care and confidence.

Back to top

Graduate Honors

Graduate Honors Gat Savaldi-Harussi

Gat Savaldi-Harussi

Ph.D. in Education

Gat's dissertation research is ground breaking and of great importance to the educational opportunities of a vulnerable population, children who rely on AAC to communicate. Gat has described the emergence of clause formation and verb use in interaction of these children with adults. In addition, Gat has presented her research in regional, national and international conferences and published a paper on Language Sampling and Analysis in AAC.

Graduate Honors Molly Wessell

Molly Wessell

MA in Special Education

Molly is an outstanding student in Early Childhood Special Education and meets all requirements with commitment and enthusiasm. Her early childhood education classroom is a model for inclusion for all students, including those with disabilities. Molly is kind and caring toward all of her students, assuring their progress through individualized instruction. Her classroom is a happy and cooperative learning environment where all children are encouraged to explore and learn through hands-on, developmentally-appropriate activities.

Graduate Honors Daniel Pearlstone

Daniel Pearlstone

MS Speech Language Pathology - Communicative Disorders

Daniel's research was motivated by the belief that children of all abilities can benefit from inclusion in community sports activities just as he has as a lifelong athlete. He won the SFSU Research Competition in Behavioral and Social Science and represented SFSU at the statewide CSU research competition as well as at the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference. Daniel was also awarded a federal scholarship to gain specialized training in autism and completed a Graduate Certificate in Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Both programs involved extensive community service. For Daniel, this included volunteering as a coach in a community sports program, a respite care provider to families of children with disabilities, and provider of classroom supports for students with complex communication needs.

Graduate Honors Noah Price

Noah Price

MA in Education Special Interest - ELSIT

In all of his coursework Noah was a superb student, earning a 4.0 GPA. His thesis project, California State University Challenges to Internationalization: A Critical Theory Perspective, employed an exhaustive content analysis methodology to construct case studies of three CSU campuses to explore the impact of the CSU Academic Senate resolution on supporting international Experiences and global perspectives in CSU education. Noah was an active leader among the MA program graduate students. He was particularly sensitive to the needs of our International students. He volunteered as a TA for ISED 740: Education and Globalization and was also a facilitator over multiple years in the ELSIT Department's "Building Common Ground" event for incoming graduate student cohorts.

Graduate Honors Jolynn Washington

Jolynn Washington

MA in Education Educational Administration - ELSIT

In all of her course work Jolynn was a superb student. In addition to completing the portfolio required for EDAD 892: Culminating Supervised Practicum, Ms. Washington completed a special project critically analyzing both Positive Behavioral Supports and Restorative Practices from a an equity and social justice perspective. Her work has culminated in the integration of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Positive Behavioral Supports into a single framework through a Critical Theory Perspective to address concern about racial disproportionality in schooling. Jolynn was an active leader among MA program graduate students, a mentor for many of the students. Ms. Washington has 10 years experience as a principal in SFUSD. Ms. Washington has a legacy of extensive community serve in both the OMI and Bayview neighborhoods of San Francisco, and has mentored numerous aspiring teachers and administrators with an unwavering commitment to equity and social justice.

Graduate Honors Lisa Bates

Lisa Bates

MA in Education Adult Education - ELSIT

Lisa has maintained a 4.0 GPA over the past 2 years while teaching and mentoring. Her thesis research addresses the gap in adult learners developing a math doer identity in a basic adult education math classroom. Lisa is currently a lecturer in the department of Equity, Leadership Studies and instructional Technologies where she teaches the undergraduate math class to freshmen and sophomore students. As Lisa, has been a math teacher and tutor over the past 15 Years, she brings her experience to leadership roles in the Department and has written and published an article, Practitioner Perspective on Numeracy in the Spring 2017 Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary and Basic Education.

Graduate Honors Marisol Quevedo

Marisol Quevedo

MA in Education Equity and Social Justice - ELSIT

Marisol's thesis project was a study that developed and evaluated an after-school curriculum applying a social justice-based, transformative resistance approach to the issue of school bullying. She field tested the curriculum over a 6-week period at her former high school in an agricultural community in the California central valley. Results suggest that targeted curriculum such as this can support the development of critical consciousness in students. Marisol was consistently active among her classmates in the MA program. She was particularly prominent as a leader and lead presenter for the department's annual "Building Common Ground" event for entering graduate students, which aims to socialize new students and provide them with a social justice perspective on educational issues.

Graduate Honors Jennifer Wind

Jennifer Wind

MA in Education Mathematics Education - Elementary Education

Jenn's research focused on middle school students' small group interactions during mathematics lessons, and in particular on the way their talk, body language, and gestures positioned each other as good at math. She coupled this fine-grained discourse analysis with student survey data to create case studies of the 4 students in the small group, and conjecture on the kinds of roles the students were willing to take on, which ultimately impact their access to the mathematics. Jenn's attention to the power dynamics between students is a good example of her commitment to equity in her mathematics teaching. Jenn has been a model student, but more importantly she has served as a mentor to current students in the graduate program who needed support in the steps towards graduation, and in getting a handle on the potential of practitioner research.

Graduate Honors Carmen Chan

Carmen Chan

MA in Education - Elementary Education

Ms. Chan was an excellent student throughout her time in the Elementary Education MA program. Her work in the San Francisco public schools defined her focus of study, culminating in research on building young students' readings skills through student-made books. Ms. Chan believed her young students were unmotivated to read the standard-issue reading material and encouraged them to write and dictate their own stories. She then observed her students' positive change in attitude. As a new teacher, Ms. Chan is making a difference to the school community by being a highly engaged and reflective practitioner. Ms. Chan works in schools that serve large numbers of Mandarin and Cantonese speaking students. Her graduate work allows Ms. Chan to enhance the English literacy skills of these young children.

Graduate Honors Maria Reigosa

Maria Reigosa

MA in Education Early Childhood Education - Elementary Education

Maria graduated with an MA in Early Childhood Education. Her field study, Self-study on Early Childhood Professional Identity through Adaptation to a New Country, utilized narrative inquiry and interviews to examine the experiences and perspectives of several international teachers working in the San Francisco Bay area. Maria is a dedicated early childhood professional who speaks three languages and currently is a preschool teacher in San Francisco Unified School District.

Graduate Honors Kathie Behlen

Kathie Behlen

MA in Education Early Childhood Education - Elementary Education

In her study, Kathie examined how a preschool teacher could support young children's needs to participate in big body play and begin to confidently assess and manage risk. The analysis of data revealed three distinct themes: (1) children can develop exploration, creativity, and cognitive skills while using materials in innovative ways; (2) children are capable of learning how to assess and manage risk; and (3) big body play can promote empathy, collaboration, and friendship skills. Ms. Behlen has been working as an early childhood educator for over 10 years. As a head teacher in a pre-K classroom, she developed, planned and implemented developmentally and culturally appropriate curricula for young diverse learners in the Bay Area. Within the play-based approach to education, Ms. Behlen has incorporated inquiry-based learning into the field of early childhood education and has advocated for the concept of inquiry-based curriculum in this field.

Graduate Honors Lindsay Hatfield

Lindsay Hatfield

MA in Education Language and Literacy - Elementary Education

Lindsay Hatfield has been an outstanding student throughout her time in the Masters in Education: Concentration in Language and Literacy Program. Her extraordinarily high level of analysis, writing skills and professional demeanor showcase her leadership Potential in the area of literacy education. Ms. Hatfield's current research looks at the factors that create positive mentoring relationships between public school teachers and their literacy coaches. Ms. Hatfield brings two decades of service to the educational community having taught extensively in Mexico and in communities Where students have been traditionally underserved. Ms. Hatfield has drawn upon her experience to refine her analysis of current Issues In literacy education, contributing enormously to class discussions and serving as a guest speaker in elementary level Credential courses. Ms. Hatfield has continued to work full-time as a district-wide literacy coach in San Francisco Unified School District While pursuing her degree.

Graduate Honors Mia Newman

Mia Newman

MA in Secondary Education Science

Mia applied a mixed-methods approach to study the effect of direct instruction on 84 sixth grade students' abilities to engage in scientific argumentation. She found her students' attitudes and abilities improved after her implementation of a protocol designed to explicitly instruct how to effectively engage in and construct scientific arguments. At her middle school, Mia is the lead teacher facilitating the development of 6th and 8th grade curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California. Enabling students to effectively engage in scientific argumentation is a critical component of the inquiry approach mandated by the NGSS.

Graduate Honors Amalia Medina-Glover

Amalia Medina-Glover

Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential - Elementary Education

Amalia Medina-Glover has excelled as a student in both the MA in Language and Literacy and the Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential Programs. As a highly skilled educator, Amalia brought not only an insightful analysis to the area of literacy education but a strong commitment to social justice. Amalia's current research focuses on the use of culturally authentic children's literature to build empathy and self-awareness in elementary-age children. Amalia has taught young Children in Virginia, Palo Alto and Bayview Hunters Point. She has a keen commitment to serving children that are traditionally marginalized in the public school system, focusing on both academic skill development and building emotional and social resilience.

Graduate Honors Karina Du

Karina Du

MA in Special Education plus ECSE Credential

Karina has exemplified dedication in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively support young children with disabilities, and their families. As part of this, Karina engaged in research to understand early educators' perceptions of leadership, and the impact of a study abroad in South Africa within early childhood settings. Karina is a member of the leadership committee planning the Annual ECSE conference and is part of the first cohort of ECSE students completing an 8 week study abroad in South Africa. Karina is currently employed as an ECSE teacher at the Family Development Center of Felton in San Francisco.

Graduate Honors Julia Coffa-Barber

Julia Coffa-Barber

Single Subject Credential Mathematics

Julia Coffa is identified by her faculty members in Secondary Education as one of the best middle-school student teachers to enter and to complete the program. She brings her ability to listen, her insight, and her innovative spirit to one of the most difficult middle schools in the city, and her belief that all of her students can and will learn math is clear in her teaching, in her academic work, and in her collaboration with classmates.

Back to top

Undergraduate Hood

Graduate Honors Pia Etchegoin

Pia Etchegoin

Communicative Disorders Program

Pia Etchegoin grew up in Argentina and came to San Francisco State after several years of travel and work in Europe, Asia and Australia, where she met her husband. Etchegoin is graduating with a degree in communicative disorders. She tutored other students, worked as the lab manager for the Gray Matter Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Teresa Gray, where she has contributed to developing research projects and worked with adults with aphasia. Additionally, she has volunteered at a speech and language clinic in the Mission District.

Back to top

Undergraduate Honors

Graduate Honors Monika Zacharewicz

Monika Zacharewicz

Communicative Disorders Program

Monkia Zacharewicz is a top student in the Communicative Disorders Program, with an overall GPA of 3.85. In addition to her academic excellence, Monika has volunteered and worked in a number of settings to support individuals with disabilities and communicative needs including: assisting to provide speech and language services with a young child with Down Syndrome; mentoring other CD students; and working in the Gray Matter Lab with Dr. Teresa Gray as a team lead to conduct research with adults wtih aphasia and are bilingual. She is an active student member of state and national professional associations in speech-language and hearing. Her fluency in English, Polish and American Sign Language, in addition to her achievements will contribute to her professional goals in the field.

Back to top