2022 Honors Program Graduates

Congratulations to All the Honor's Program Graduates!

Honors Faculty Awards (for graduating students)

  • Noa Lish
  • Diana Palacios

President's Scholarship (for incoming high school student)

  • Not awarded this year.

Noa Lish

The honors program has greatly contributed to my sense of academic competency. Each contract or class has given me the opportunity to improve a specific skill or knowledge set required to work with academic articles. The Microbiology contract with Professor Burch provided a wonderful framework for comprehending terminology, and understanding study-specific concepts within the larger framework of general microbiology. The Elementary Probability and Statistics contract with Professor Slovacek revealed the challenges that scientists and statisticians face in collecting accurate data on real world conditions and making it into useful predictive models. The General Biology I Honors class with Professors Sellers and Ooi provided a low-stress opportunity to practice presenting findings and thinking critically about how they might be applied. Each of these skills will help me as I pursue a career in public health. I am so grateful for the time that each of these professors has spent helping me to comprehend the complex material and encourage me to grow.
—Noa Lish

I had the pleasure of working with Noa Lish on several college committees and remain impressed with their confidence, poise, and passion for advocacy. Noa was a student representative on the Curriculum and Instruction Council (CIC) and the Student Equity and Achievement Committee (SEAC) and made valuable contributions, using their voice and position to advocate for more diversity and inclusion in our courses and to champion for improved services for our under-represented students. Noa took the initiative to co-author a library resource guide, Images of Inclusion, that assists faculty in building curriculum that recognizes and promotes diversity. Noa also co-presented a session on culturally responsive curriculum at our 2021 faculty professional day, offering a first-hand account of how curriculum that excludes certain groups negatively impacts students. Noa made other lasting contributions to our college in various extra-curricular activities. When our physical campuses were shuttered due to COVID, they appeared in a virtual video tour, exuding warmth and encouragement to new students. Noa is destined for great things and we are lucky that they graced our college with their passion and service. —Julie Cornett, Professor of Information Competency, Librarian

Noa Lish is a pleasure to have in class, as Noa is engaging, curious, intelligent, and kind. Noa is not afraid to ask questions and is quick to apply new material to the world around them. Noa's friendly, helpful and inquisitive nature is a comfort to those in class and helps others find their voice. Hopefully, Noa's career path allows interaction with lots of people as Noa is excellent with humans. I'm certain Noa is great with other species as well! —Claudia Sellers, Professor of Biology

Noa Lish.

Diana Palacios

I had the pleasure of working with Diana in my Music Appreciation Honors class back in Fall 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic, this was the first semester that the honors classes were offered entirely online, which posed a number of challenges for both students and instructors. Despite those challenges, Diana rose to the occasion, producing quality work week after week. Diana will tell you that she's a welding major, but based on the outstanding work that Diana submitted in my class, I suspect that she would be successful at whatever major she pursues. I also admired Diana's open-mindedness when it came to defining art and music, as she was one of the very few students to find music within those random ambient sounds that surround us daily (John Cage's “4'33”). I appreciate knowing that I'm not the only one who defines music in such broad terms, nor the only one who's crazy enough to define birds randomly jumping on electric guitars as music! I wish Diana all the success in the world, and the next time I need a welder, I know who to call. —Thomas Foggia, Professor of Music

It has been a pleasure having Diana as a student throughout the welding program. Diana is very hardworking and treats everyone with kindness. I am excited to see what the future has in store for her. No matter what she chooses in life, there is no doubt she will be successful. —David Villicana, Professor of Industrial Arts

Diana Palacios

Brianna Murphy

I was fortunate enough to have Brianna in both my Music Appreciation Honors class as well as my History of American Popular Music class. In both classes, Brianna did absolutely outstanding work. When it came to the weekly music theory assignments, which cover construction of intervals, scales, major-minor triads, and chord progressions, Brianna's answers were always perfect! Her many years of studying ballet undoubtedly aided her with some of these musical concepts, but it's still quite rare to encounter a student who grasps music theory as quickly as Brianna did. Brianna must also be commended on her in-depth research paper titled, “Music Therapy in Childhood Development,” where she discusses the importance of music during early childhood development, as well as the many uses of music therapy to treat a variety of childhood diseases. It was a pleasure having Brianna in my classes, and I want to wish her all the success in the world because I know that she will excel at whatever she pursues in life. —Thomas Foggia, Professor of Music

Brianna was an excellent chemistry student. She learned concepts quickly and was easily able to apply them to new situations in class. —Alex Gilewski, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Madison Grandas

Though I was able to teach Madison Grandas only in my ENGL C102 and its honor section last year, I was immediately impressed by this highly intelligent and inquisitive student. Even intermittent Internet problems in June Lake didn't obscure the always thoughtful and insightful comments she offered in class. She also wrote really fascinating and ridiculously well-developed essays, often, impressively, weeks before they were due. Finally, Madison has a winning personality and really was an absolute joy to have that semester; I just wish it hadn't been the only one. Congratulations, Madison! You're the best! —Cliff Davis, Professor of English

Madison Grandas is such a bright, helpful, and positive, personality she radiates an inviting likability even over a spotty zoom connection. Indeed, the fact zoom as a medium of classroom enabled me to work with Madison in real time in multiple classes and honors sections over the last year, inclines me to be quite thankful that some group of tech eggheads invented the damn thing in the first place. She seems so soft-spoken at first, but soon enough I came to realize that she has a confident and curious intellect packaged in a wonderfully positive and unassuming personality. Students like her so eagerly try to develop their understanding of alternative ideas and their ability to communicate effectively, that working with them in honors sections is just a wonderfully rewarding part of my job. Thank you, Madison. I truly appreciated working with you. —Matt Jones, Professor of History and Political Science

Madison Grandas.

Mikayla Jones

I wanted to say thank you to all of my professors and the faculty members that have helped me throughout the years that I have been at Cerro Coso. I have always been greeted with encouragement and excitement whenever I have come to a professor with an idea for a paper or assignment and I am grateful for such enthusiasm on the part of the faculty. I have learned a lot through my experiences, and gained confidence, patience, and respect for both myself and others throughout the many hours spent in lecture and late nights working on papers and exams. I can confidently say I have become a stronger and better person coming out the other side of these years spent and I am excited to move on to a new life for the future. —Mikayla Jones

Mikayla Jones is an exceedingly bright, articulate, and incisive young woman, whom I've had the great pleasure to teach in multiple English sections, ENGL C101, 102, 102H, 221, 235, and 235H. (I think.) She's the kind of student whose name on a roster instantly fills me with excitement about an upcoming literature class. She also has a great sense of humor and always works generously and helpfully with her classmates, and is, not surprisingly, very well-liked by them. A real shining star at Cerro Coso, she will be missed, I'm sure, by many professors, including me. Congratulations, Mikayla! You kick ass! —Cliff Davis, Professor of English

Mikayla is a fantastic student and stellar English major. She is creative and brilliant, good at everything I've seen her do. Class discussions were always more insightful and fun because of her intelligent comments and wit, and I always looked forward to reading her beautiful writing. —Christine Swiridoff, Professor of English

Anna Helvey

Anna Helvey is an intelligent student who applies information she is learning to the world around her very well. Anna's honors presentation on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and lifestyle provided an excellent reminder of the fragility of our reproductive system. Anna's attention to detail and hard work will serve her well as she accomplishes her academic goals. —Claudia Sellers, Professor of Biology

It was a joy having Anna in my MUSC C101 Honors class. Anna is currently majoring in science, but she also plays the violin. Anna is very modest and will tell you that she “only” plays in the second violin section within the orchestra, but truth be told, they wouldn't even let me play in the second violin section. With such an impressive background in classical music, it didn't surprise me when Anna told me she was learning cello to pass the time during the pandemic. What did surprise me was that she also commented that she was listening to a lot of Hank Williams. Hank Williams? I'm also a fan of Hank, but I'm not sure he's the best choice while being locked down during a pandemic given that two of his biggest hits are titled, “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” For the honors research paper, Anna wrote an absolutely brilliant paper on the use of music therapy for mental health conditions. With this ongoing pandemic, I think we all need some music therapy. I want to wish Anna great success in her future, and I hope she continues making beautiful music. —Thomas Foggia, Professor of Music