Commencement 2014: Undergraduate Hoods
San Francisco State University will celebrate its 113th Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 23 for graduate students and Saturday, May 24 for undergraduates. Among the undergraduates receiving degrees will be this year's hood recipients, who are the top graduating students chosen from each of SF State's six academic colleges to represent their peers. Read more about the undergraduate honorees:
José Alfaro, B.A. English literature (Liberal and Creative Arts)
José Alfaro is a new kind of English major with a multicultural focus. Raised in Sacramento in a working class Mexican-American family, Alfaro took inspiration from the works of authors whose backgrounds were similar to his own. The writings of Chicana scholar Gloria Anzaldúa were particularly inspiring, as were the works of activist-writer Audre Lorde.
Though Alfaro transferred to SF State from Sacramento City College in 2012, his civic interests helped him form connections throughout the campus community. As a member of “SalSanFran,” SF State’s Latin rhythms student group, he helped host free dance workshops for students, faculty and staff. After living on campus, Alfaro elected to work as a residential assistant for freshmen students in the Towers at Centennial Square. While completing his senior coursework, Alfaro was an academic and personal mentor to his residents.
Alfaro has been accepted to the University of California, Riverside’s English literature Ph.D. program. He hopes to become an English literature professor.
Dana Anvari, B.S. business administration, marketing (Business)
Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Walnut Creek, Dana Anvari is the College of Business hood recipient. Like many young people, Anvari struggled to find her passion after high school. She found early success without a college degree, doing freelance graphic design and photography while working full time in the banking sector. When the opportunity to return to college arrived through her work with Patelco Credit Union, Anvari jumped at the chance.
Anvari studied business administration with a concentration in marketing, and her design skills and professional work ethic made her a standout student. She completed her undergraduate degree early, in fall 2013, and was able to transition directly into the MBA program. Anvari hopes to advance through the corporate world as a marketing executive and department director and one day become a CEO.
Erin Campbell, B.A. communicative disorders (Education)
Erin Campbell always knew that she wanted a career that involved helping others. After she graduated from high school, she wasn’t quite sure which career that would be, so she enlisted in the U.S. Navy while she figured it out. She worked as an emergency repair specialist for four years while stationed in Japan.
When returning to college with help from the G.I. Bill, Campbell knew she wanted to study something that would have an impact on society. She considered social work and counseling while studying at City College of San Francisco and discovered SF State’s communicative disorders program when transferring. While working to complete her requirements, Campbell volunteered as a teaching aide at the Auditory Oral School of San Francisco, a school for students with hearing loss. She also volunteered with Reading Partners, a nonprofit that works with schools throughout the Bay Area. Through volunteer work, Campbell was given the opportunity to privately tutor a young boy with language deficits. Next year, she will continue her studies in SF State’s communicative disorders master’s program to become a speech-language pathologist.
Richard Cockrell, B.S. sociology (Health and Social Science)
Richard Cockrell’s path to higher education had its own particular challenges. The sociology scholar grew up in public housing in Wilmington, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, where he witnessed poverty and gang violence from an early age. At 17 he was incarcerated, but soon realized he needed to turn his life around.
Inspired by “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” Cockrell earned his GED, took community college correspondence courses and read everything he could get his hands on. After serving nearly 20 years behind bars, Cockrell transferred to SF State with help from Project Rebound. In addition to his sociology coursework, Cockrell works for the Redwood City Public Library and for the nonprofit Tayba Foundation, which provides correspondence courses for inmates. The Dr. John Irwin Memorial Scholarship allowed Cockrell the financial freedom to further his education in social studies. Next year, Cockrell will continue his studies in SF State’s Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program, focusing on nonprofit management.
Kyle Mason Vance, B.A. American Indian studies (Ethnic Studies)
Kyle Vance’s interest in American Indian studies was sparked by his own Choctaw heritage. The San Mateo native transferred to SF State in 2011 and has since become active in student groups and the Native American community at large. Vance served as the treasurer and the president of SF State’s branch of SKINS, the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations. Working with the group, he helped plan the 37th and 38th annual powwows at SF State, which featured traditional dances, music and storytelling. Establishing further intertribal connections, he participated in the 2013 Paddle to Quinault. After being referred to the project by Melissa Nelson, associate professor of American Indian studies, Vance helped build and transport a traditional Tongva canoe to Quinault, Wash., with a former SF State professor.
Vance keeps busy with volunteer work at the Indian Canyon sanctuary and a job as a park aid for San Mateo County’s Memorial Park. Kyle plans to spend the summer working in Memorial Park while considering master’s programs in counseling or teacher education.
Commodore Perry St. Germain, B.S. biochemistry (Science and Engineering)
The first time Commodore St. Germain attempted to complete his higher education, his father’s tragic death pulled him away to support his family. For nearly 12 years, St. Germain worked full time in chemical water treatment, helping to keep his family in their home and send his younger brother to college.
After first completing his associate’s degree at Napa Valley College, St. Germain transferred to SF State in 2011. With support from the SF State Minority Access to Research Careers program, St. Germain began research in Professor Teaster Baird’s lab. Working to better understand enzymes, proteins and proteases, St. Germain presented a poster at the 2014 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego and hopes to publish an academic paper soon. Next fall, St. Germain will pursue his doctorate at the UC Davis program for Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology.