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Awards & Honors

Master’s Thesis Earns Two Major Awards for Alumnus
by Dave Reid


from Dateline (February 27, 2003)

Steve Larson

Steve Larson

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Steve Larson, an alumnus now pursuing a law degree at UC Davis, has scored honors twice with his graduate thesis on developing and quantifying chemical breakdown products of amino acids – research important to hospital patients.

The thesis recently won the top prize awarded by the Western Association of Graduate Schools, an organization representing more than 90 institutions of higher education in 12 western states and several western Canadian provinces.

Larson, who earned a master’s in chemistry in June 2001, also was awarded the Giles T. Brown Award for the outstanding Cal State Fullerton graduate thesis produced in the 2001 academic year.

The recent graduate, who worked full-time at a research firm in Irvine while pursing his master’s degree, praised Cal State Fullerton and his graduate adviser, Scott Hewitt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“The quality of teaching is very high and Dr. Hewitt was very flexible in allowing me to pursue my research subject,” he said. “Cal State Fullerton is great because of the research opportunities students have and the outstanding teaching offered.

“At some other campuses, teaching is secondary, something they feel they have to do rather than want to do,” Larson noted.

Hewitt, a member of the faculty since1991, has advised many outstanding students, including astronaut Tracy Caldwell. In addition to Hewitt, thesis committee members included Harold Rogers and Christopher Meyer, associate professors of chemistry and biochemistry.

The latest award, which carries a $1,000 honorarium, will be presented in March at the annual meeting of the Western Association of Graduate Schools in Salt Lake City.

Larson’s wife, Laura, also is an alumna, earning her master’s in chemistry in 2001. The couple recently celebrated the birth of their first child.

A former Fullerton resident, Larson plans to return to Orange County with his family following completion of his law degree in 2004. He hopes to use his scientific background in a law career.

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