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Three SSU students honored with top CSU system awards

Sally Casanova scholarship recipients 

SSU students Ruzanna Gasparyan and Ismael Lopez are 2023 recipients of the prestigious Sally Casanova Scholarship, awarded annually to only 75 students among the 23 CSU campuses. The award provides each recipient with a $5,000 stipend that supports their professional development and exploration of doctoral programs.
“With the funding, I’ve started to learn what it means to be a scholar. It enabled me to join professional affiliations and both conduct [my own] and contribute to other research projects,” said Lopez, a first-generation college student who plans to get a Ph.D. in sociology. “I’ve been asked to present my research at regional sociological conferences in Washington, D.C. and San Diego.

Armenia-born Gasparyan is exploring Ph.D. programs in Soviet history, an interest that took hold as an undergraduate at Sonoma State. Now an SSU graduate student, she said the scholarship helped her complete key research for her thesis at Stanford’s Hoover Institution; attend a convention and meet scholars from around the world; and visit doctoral programs on the East Coast and elsewhere. 

“My mentor, Dr. Stephen Bittner, has been a great source of support. All the faculty in the history department are phenomenal mentors – not only to me, but to everyone in the program,” Gasparyan said.

Ruzanna Gasparyan
Ruzzana Gasparyan
Ismael Lopez
Ismael Lopez
Angelo Incitti
Angelo Incitti

2023 CSU Trustees’ Award

Angelo Incitti of Sonoma State was selected as the Trustee Emeritus Kenneth Fong Scholar among the 2023 CSU Trustees’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement, one of the top honors students can achieve. “I aim to make meaningful contributions in the California conservation field,” said Incitti, who now studies environmental disturbances on marine mammals with the National Marine Mammal Foundation.   Hired as a farmhand at Curbstone Valley Farm in the midst of the pandemic, Incitti was mentored by a veterinarian and celebrated research scientist who fueled his passion to become a research biologist. “Angelo is a model of what we idealize as the highest benefits of a CSU education – service, research, learning, and benefit to the community at large,” SSU President Mike Lee said in his letter nominating Incitti. Lee praised him for overcoming obstacles to achieve his educational goals. 

Read more from Insights / Spring 2024