|CSUF Alumni Honor Top Students, Top Achievers
Mona Mohammadi aims for a law degree and Cynthia Tran has her sights on an educational docorate.
Story by Mimi Ko Cruz
June 15, 2006 :: No. 257
Mona Mohammadi wants to earn a J.D. in international law
and become secretary-general of the United Nations.
Cynthia Tran wants to earn an Ed.D. and produce a cookbook
featuring healthy Asian meals with American flavor.
These ambitious women are two of Cal State Fullerton's
top students who participated in commencement last month.
Mohammadi, CSUF's Associated Students president for
2005-06, and Tran are this year's recipients of the
Alumni Association's Outstanding Senior and Outstanding
Graduate awards, respectively. Mohammadi, 21, completed her
bachelor's degree in political science and Tran, 26,
completed her master's degree in kinesiology.
Mohammadi has accepted an eight-month fellowship at the
state Capitol in Sacramento, starting in October. As part
of the fellowship, which will pay her a $1,900 a month stipend,
she will take courses on public policy at Sacramento State
and work in the Capitol.
"My goal is to one day be secretary-general of the
United Nations," said Mohammadi, who was born in Iran. "But
first, I hope to go to law school. I'm interested in
running for public office some day because I like advocating
for people and causes such as keeping higher education accessible
and affordable for everyone."
The Tustin resident immigrated to Canada with her family
when she was 6 and then, three years later, to California.
"My cultural background gives me a global perspective
on life," Mohammadi said. " I hope to one day
come back to Cal State Fullerton and donate money so that
other students will have the opportunity to experience everything
I got to experience during my college years here."
Mohammadi was a President's Scholar since she became
a CSUF student in 2002 and she maintained a 3.5 grade point
average. Besides being a campus leader in student government,
she helped professors organize the university's Constitution
Day festivities and served as secretary of the student Model
United Nations Club. She also served as the vice chair of
external affairs of the California State Student Association
and is a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Fullerton
and the Marjan Foundation, a nonprofit organization that
raises money for needy orphans in Iran.
"Mona is truly a remarkable young lady, a true leader
on campus and in the community, and is a genuinely nice person," said
Donald J. Matthewson, lecturer in political science. "She
has a style and charm that is characteristic of great leaders.
Her contributions to CSUF and the Cal State system cannot
be overstated. She has a first-rate mind and is an outstanding
Tran, of Anaheim, who earned a teaching credential and a
bachelor's degree from Cal State Fullerton in 2004,
is planning to attend graduate school at the University of
"I hope to work at the community college level, teaching
about health and fitness, and do some coaching of women's
tennis," said Tran, who has played tennis since she
was a teenager and last month received the Female Athlete
of the Year award from Fullerton College. "I love the
idea of developing the whole person not only academically,
but physically, socially and emotionally."
The youngest of nine children, Tran arrived in America on
Christmas Eve in 1979, when she was 20 days old.
"I was born when my family was island hopping to come
over here," she said. "All my siblings were born
in Vietnam, where my Chinese parents lived for a long time."
Tran grew up speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Teochow (a Chinese
dialect) and Vietnamese and learned English in school. She
learned French when she lived in France for a year five years
Her aptitude for speaking six different languages aside,
she has an appetite for healthy Chinese food and she wants
others to share her enthusiasm, especially as the numbers
of people who are obese in this country continues to grow.
"The American lifestyle is so fast-paced that people
don't have time to make healthy meals and I want to
publish a cookbook that blends good Eastern foods with American
flavors," said Tran, who favors her mom's wonton
soup. "The book would have recipes that are easy to
make and that wouldn't take a lot of time to prepare."
As a CSUF grad student, Tran participated in a physical
education program for elementary school children in Santa
Ana and her thesis project relates to combating childhood
"Cynthia has established herself as a student leader
in the field of kinesiology and is a credit to Cal State Fullerton," said
Lee E. Brown, associate professor of kinesiology. "She
examines the big picture as she goes about her educational
and work duties... It is my opinion that Cynthia will
continue to excel at whatever she chooses."
Donald J. Matthewson, Political Science, 657-278-3354 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee E. Brown, Kinesiology, 657-278-4605 or email@example.com
Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 657-278-7586 or firstname.lastname@example.org
back to News Front