Cerro Coso Community College

2021 Honors Program Graduates

Congratulations to All the Honor's Program Graduates!

Honors Faculty Awards (for transferring students)

  • Athena Baca
  • Naomi O’Connor

President's Scholarship (for incoming high school student)

  • Halle Evans

Bryce Amster

It was a joy having Bryce in my Music Appreciation Honors class. Bryce is clearly a natural born leader, which explains why he’s currently the VP of SGCC. His positive attitude and good nature are contagious, and this made the class more enjoyable for both his fellow students as well as myself. As a math major, Bryce immediately latched onto the connection between math and music, and this led to his brilliant research paper, “Exploring Math’s Influence on Music Theory.” In his paper, Bryce explored the use of Pythagorean ratios as the basis for the western tonal system, but then went on to demonstrate how the Fibonacci sequence (Fn = Fn−1 + Fn−2 (n ≥ 3) and F1 = F2 = 1) can also be applied to music. Bryce clearly has a very bright future ahead of him, and I have no doubt that he will be successful at whatever he pursues in life. —Thomas Foggia, Professor of Music

I fondly remember Bryce as an energetic elementary school student, a bouncy ginger kid in karate classes. As an adult, Bryce still has all that energy, but it manifests itself as enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity. Whether in the classroom or in student government, he is fully present and engaged, and he genuinely seems to have fun learning. His presence makes every class better, and I thoroughly enjoyed our honors contract together. Whether we stayed on topic or chased tangents, conversations were always interesting. He is one of the most personable and likeable students, and he somehow makes his academic success look easy. It takes a combination of intelligence and hard work to seem so smooth. —Christine Swiridoff, Professor of English

Athena Baca

Congratulations everyone--we made it! Thank you to all the amazing people along the way. I am forever grateful for my experience at Coso. Shoutout to my family for the support. Manifesting happiness and success to all who read this. XOXO.

Transferring to Cal State LA to major in Biochemistry

Athena very quickly grasps traditionally difficult concepts, and easily applies them to novel situations. As a budding scientist, her inquisitive nature and understanding of her capabilities and willingness to seek help when (rarely) necessary will certainly be assets to her in her future healthcare career. I look forward to hearing about her contributions to her chosen field. She is a delight to have in class and the type of student that every professor loves to have. —Alex Gilewski, Professor of Chemistry

Athena Baca is motivated, highly intelligent, hardworking, and kind. She is quick to apply concepts to everyday life and is highly motivated. It was a pleasure to have Athena in class. Athena is certain to attain any academic goal she sets her sights on. —Claudia Sellers, Professor of Biology

Athena Baca

Christine Joy Coronel

Christine was a thoughtful and hardworking student. She was committed to her studies and shared valuable insights with me and her peers. I have no doubt that she will succeed in her future endeavors. —Nicole Bojko, Professor of French

Christine is so polite to the point of being shy but that belies her very capable and hardworking nature. She is highly motivated and determined, delivers high quality work, and always rise to expectations. She is persistent in her goals and never waivers in achieving them. I wish her all the well-earned success in her future endeavors. —Guck Ooi, Professor of Biology

Naomi O'Connor

I am so grateful for all of the professors I’ve gotten the chance to know at Cerro Coso. They have impacted my life in so many amazing ways, and I would not be the person I am today without them. Being a part of the honors program here has taught me so much. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” —A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Transferring to UC, Irvine to major in English

I've known Naomi through my family since she was born and was pleased to get to see her blossom at Cerro Coso. I had the pleasure of participating in the tutor training program when she was training to become a tutor and could see how her cheerful energy and enthusiasm was benefiting those around her. She is hard working, well-spoken, and articulate. It's hard to conceive of Naomi not succeeding in anything she tries to do because of her terrific attitude and work ethic. Congratulations, Naomi! —Julie Cornett, Professor of Information Competency

Naomi O'Connor

Naomi has been successful in her education, taking on new challenges both in and beyond the classroom. She served as a Phi Theta Kappa vice president and chapter president. She visited Tehachapi prison to collaborate with our Phi Theta Kappa students there. Her first year as an officer, she helped create and produce the college's student-led podcast, Tumbleweed Talks. The next year she helped create the college's Garden Club. I have enjoyed seeing her grow as a leader and, even more, have enjoyed working with her. Naomi is a delightful, hardworking student. She took five classes with me and impressed me in every one. I was so confident in her abilities that I agreed to have an embedded tutor only if I could have her in that role. She has been encouraging, knowledgeable, and helpful. I can tell that she will make a fantastic English professor. —Christine Swiridoff, Professor of English

Cameron Reese

I’ve had the great pleasure of teaching Cameron Reese in a number of English classes over the years—I no longer remember how many—and he has always impressed me with very sharp, sometimes even mordant, analyses of literary texts in discussions and in his papers. Combining a powerful intellect with surprising humility and grace, Cameron is a truly unique student and a great young man, one bound for success in any future endeavor. From what I have heard and observed, he has also done great work with honors and Phi Theta Kappa. I’ll honestly miss his sly grin and incisive comments in my literature classes. Congratulations, Cameron! — Cliff Davis, Professor of English

Cameron is a soft-spoken and thoughtful student who continually works hard to become what he is today – a talented, witty and responsible student who excels in both academics and extracurricular activities. He asked insightful questions and is retrospective in his deliberations. He works extraordinarily hard and can be seen in campus at all odd hours working on the medley of projects that require sheer perseverance and dedication to accomplish. —Guck Ooi, Professor of Biology

Coby Roberts

I want to thank all of the professors who helped me get to where I am today. Without them, I know I would have not been able to make it as far as I have.

Transferring to UC, Santa Cruz majoring in Biology.

An extraordinarily nice guy with a great sense of humor, Coby Roberts is an exceedingly driven, hard-working, and diligent student who has excelled in every class he’s taken with me. He also was a stellar embedded tutor in my ENGL C101 class, working patiently and tirelessly with my students and significantly raising the level of their writing. Coby is universally well-liked and respected by his professors and classmates, the kind of person everyone wants to be around—and for good reason: he makes phenomenal home-made ice cream. Congratulations, Coby! —Cliff Davis, Professor of English

Coby Roberts

It has been so long since I have had a semester without Coby taking at least one of my classes that I might go through withdrawal symptoms now that he is transferring. He has been such a stable, competent, and serving presence at the college and in so many classes that I suspect the institution will run slightly less effectively for this next academic year as a result of losing him. He is a dedicated student, a humble learner, and a reliable who, once more interpersonal confidence develops, is on a path to confidently modeling the concept of servant-leadership. He will be missed by many people...but not me, I don't care that he is leaving...sniffle — Matt Jones, Professor of History and Political Science

Emily Roman

I have learned so much during my 2 years at Cerro Coso. I am so grateful for the opportunities that the college has given me, especially the Honors Program. The program has pushed me to use critical thinking while going above and beyond normal curriculum expectations. I am going to miss the community of Cerro Coso the most; everyone has been so kind and helpful to me during my education journey.

I am going to pursue my passion of filmmaking at Antelope Valley College by getting my associates in Film and Television.

I was fortunate enough to have Emily in both my Music Appreciation Honors class as well as my History of American Popular Music class. While some may know Emily for her research titled, “Encouraging Legal Immigration: An Economic Outlook and Solution to Illegal Immigration,” which was submitted to and published by the Honors Transfer Council of California, many may not know that Emily is also a musician and guitarist. In my MUSC C101 honors class, I subject students to weekly music theory assignments covering construction of intervals, scales, major-minor triads, and chord progressions, and what intrigued me about Emily’s answers were that they were not only perfect each week, but that she was also able to apply those theoretical concepts to playing the guitar. Emily also submitted an incredibly insightful research paper titled, “The Importance of Music in Our Youth: A Look Into the Biological Effects of Music on the Brain,” where she explores the psychological and physiological effects of music on child development. It is my hope that Emily will ultimately consider pursuing a Ph.D, because she clearly excels at academics. —Thomas Foggia, Professor of Music

Emily Roman

Unfortunately, I only had Emily as a student for one class, which is somewhat maddening. However, she is such a bright and energetic mind and personality that I am quite thankful I at least received one semester of her as a student. Her thinking, and talking, seems to move so fast that she can charmingly confuse even herself, but in the midst of that speed is a thoughtful creative process that is trying to work through complex and nuanced variables in order to understand complex and nuanced phenomenon. This combined with her positive energetic personality makes her a wonderful student who I regret only took one of my classes. —Matt Jones, Professor of History and Political Science

Sarath Suresh

Sarath is a quiet and very capable student who reads and comprehends complex molecular biology papers well. I remembered when students in his honors biology class were asked to pick a topic of personal interest for their presentation, and Sarath chose a dense and complex manuscript which is difficult to comprehend even for an experienced scientist. Nevertheless, his project on CRISPR gene-editing (‘The Essential Puzzle Piece of Accurate Genetic Editing: Reduction of Off-Target Effects’) was accepted for oral presentation at the 2021 UCI-HTCC Student Research Conference. He clearly excels in Biology, and I wish him all the best in becoming a talented scientist. —Guck Ooi, Professor of Biology

Sarath Suresh currently operates at the level of graduate student. He is prepared and seeks to understand at a level beyond what the textbook offers. His work is impeccable. Sarath’s ability and drive guarantee his success in pursuing a graduate degree in synthetic biology. —Claudia Sellers, Professor of Biology