Outstanding Graduate and Seniors
Honored by Alumni Association
May 24, 2004 :: No. 257
Trangdai Tranguyen, Adam Byrnes and Cynthia
Tran are being honored by the Alumni Association during Cal State
Fullerton’s 45th annual commencement festivities.
Tranguyen, recipient of the Outstanding
Graduate Award, and Outstanding Senior Award honorees Byrnes and
Tran each will receive $1,000 and commemorative plaques at the university’s
annual Honors Convocation Friday, May 28, on the eve of commencement
The awards are presented to the graduating CSUF graduate
student and seniors who are academically outstanding; demonstrate
service to their departments, university and/or community; and are
active in extracurricular, academic or professional activities.
As a 2001 CSUF undergraduate, Stanton resident Tranguyen
was a quadruple major — English, liberal studies, child and
adolescent development and ethnic studies-Asian American studies
— of which she says, “I had fun. I came here from Vietnam
when I was 19, and I wanted to catch up. As an immigrant, people
were afraid I wouldn’t make it, but I considered it a great
privilege and a great opportunity. It took time management and determination.”
Upon receiving her master’s degree in history,
Tranguyen will prepare for her next journey, as a Fulbright Scholar.
She will head to Stockholm University in June for half of her fellowship,
where she will work in the area of social anthropology, researching
first-generation Vietnamese immigrants in Stockholm. The second
half of her fellowship will find her touring Europe, conducting
similar research and field observations among Vietnamese immigrants.
As an interviewer in the university’s Oral and Public History
Center, she worked on the Vietnamese American Project, which captured
the experience of the Vietnamese-American community in Orange County.
Incorporating audio and video recordings, she will use similar techniques
during her studies abroad.
Upon her return to the states, Tranguyen aspires to
earn a doctorate in anthropology, teach at the university level,
conduct research and promote research among students. “If
you do good research, it benefits students and also people in general.
Recently, she won first place in the humanities and
letters category of the 18th annual CSU Student Research Competition
for her work “Orange County, Yellow History: An Intimate Encounter
With Vietnamese American Lives.”
In addition to a full academic life, she is active
in her church, and has served as a volunteer tutor, language teacher
and translator. Tranguyen also has worked in nursing homes, raised
money for flood victims in Vietnam and Central America, and helped
organize a variety of benefits and fund-raisers.
In her nomination letter for honoree Byrnes, Sandra Sutphen, acting
director of the Faculty Development Center and professor of political
science, says of the Fullerton resident,” What makes him a
very successful student — and what will make him a great success
in his career — is that he is constantly seeking more: more
experience, more learning, more avenues to expand his base of knowledge.”
Byrnes is a double major —
political science and American studies — and has taken advantage
of various on- and off-campus opportunities to enhance his university
experience. He served as an intern in the Sacramento office of state
Sen. Joe Dunn and the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Rep. Loretta
Sanchez. His activities on campus included serving as director of
statewide affairs for the Associated Students, senior photography
editor for the Daily Titan, student representative to the Academic
Senate, member of the Model United Nations and student representative
to the Cal State Fullerton Foundation.
He has been on the Dean’s List for eight semesters,
and among the scholarships and awards he has earned are membership
in the Golden Key Honor Society and the Leon and Sylvia Panetta
Institute Congressional Internship.
Among his options following graduation are pursuing
a master’s degree in public policy at Rutgers University or
George Washington University, a Coro fellowship in San Francisco
and a California state Senate fellowship.
“Eventually,” says Byrnes, “I’d
like to go into politics. For now, I want to do multiple things
in politics — work for a public servant, learn how to run
a campaign, learn how to raise funds, get a wide range of experience
in the political realm.”
Asked about any achievements or moments of which he’s
most proud, he replies, “The rally that I was part of the
coordinating effort — protesting the state’s proposed
budget cut. When I look back at the pictures, it’s pretty
Among her 2,300 hours of service in the community
and local classrooms, West Covina resident and future teacher Tran
cites one experience that made an indelible impression: “working
with special education children — 3 months to 3 years old.
They’re very adorable and very sweet. Although it takes a
little more time for them, they’re just like other children.”
In addition to her work in the classroom, Tran —
who grew up in Anaheim — has volunteered for numerous community
interests, including Special Olympics, serving Thanksgiving dinners
at St. Michael’s soup kitchen, packing food items for a food
distribution center, YMCA crafts and arts day, beach/park cleanups,
Paint Your Heart Out Anaheim, spending time with abused children
at Olivecrest and being a ‘big sister’ to children at
Halcyon homeless shelter.
She has distinguished herself on campus in many ways,
including as representative to the Credential Student Advisor Board,
lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, program facilitator
for EMBRACE (Educating Myself for Better Racial Awareness and Cultural
Enrichment), Dean’s List for every semester, University Honors
Program, Student Leadership Institute and member of the Student
California Teachers Association.
Also a double major — child and adolescent development
and French — Tran spent her junior year in France and discovered
much about herself. “I learned that I am very flexible and
adjust and adapt to new environments — learning the language,
learning the culture. I found I have the strength to find the resources
to survive, or find others to help me.”
||Gail Matsunaga, Public Affairs,
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