Recognizing Excellence at NSM

The College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics 40th Annual Awards Reception was held on April 28, 2023, in the Titan Student Union Pavilion.

Group shot of Awards students

The College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics 40th Annual Awards Reception was held on April 28, 2023, in the Titan Student Union Pavilion. During the ceremony, outstanding undergraduate and graduate students were recognized with scholarships and awards from the college, individual departments, research scholars programs, and health professions organizations. Exceptional faculty and staff also received awards from the college.

Read the full list of recognitions.

Here are a few highlights:

Master’s degree candidate Barbara Orozco received the Dr. & Mrs. Donald Bright Environmental Scholarship, a merit scholarship awarded to an undergraduate or graduate biological science major whose career plans include employment in environmental science. Orozco conducts research on the impacts of sand on the California mussel in the lab of Jennifer Burnaford, professor of biology and co-director of the Southern California Ecosystems Research Program. After pursuing a Ph.D., she plans on a career in science education focused on marine organisms working for a nonprofit or government agency.


Chemistry master’s degree candidate Damian Ventura was recognized with the Maria Linder Nielson Endowed Graduate Fellowship, which recognizes excellence in biochemistry research. Ventura, who earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from NSM in 2022 and immediately entered the master’s program, works in the lab of Stevan Pecic, assistant professor of medicinal and bioorganic chemistry. His career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and join either the private or government sector.


Andrew Williams received the Prem K. Saint Hydrology Award, which recognizes outstanding academic performance in course work and/or research in hydrology, hydrogeology, or water quality. As a master’s degree candidate in environmental studies, Williams has conducted work on an artificial wetland in Norco, collecting water quality data over a period of time and comparing it to historical readings from the same wetland. In doing so, he was able to evaluate the changes that have taken place and determine that the wetland was functioning as planned and was an effective filter for local runoff.


Natalie Medina earned the Cheryl and Carl Carrera Mathematics Scholarship, which recognizes a student majoring in mathematics who faces unique challenges, personally and/or academically. Medina’s nomination says she “epitomizes the Titan spirit of never giving up even when the odds are against you. Over seven years at CSUF, she has grown to become one of the most brilliant and dedicated minds in the mathematics program.”


Blaise Richelieu was recognized with the Dr. Robert W. Kedzie Award for Physics, for students who have improved their performance in physics courses. Richelieu is the most improved student for 2023, and he will complete his bachelor’s degree in physics in fall 2023.

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