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Student Perspective Speaker


Jeannie Quan

To all the graduates, family members, and professors, it is an unbelievable honor to be part of this celebration for the APIDA graduation ceremony at Cal State Los Angeles. I know we are currently going through difficult times as a community in trying to stay safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As you are reading this, you will notice this is not a typical graduation ceremony, but still a way to honor your accomplishments. Even though we are not all in a room together, you can see and feel how much you have accomplished in these past few years. There is such an intensity of emotions during this time by all the support and love for all the graduates being celebrated. Some of us might be feeling anxious as our college years come to end and some of us are looking forward to embarking on new adventures. It can be scary but remember your experiences and journey that have brought you to your successes here today have prepared you for what is next to come. So, don’t be afraid to soar, Golden Eagles!

My name is Jeannie Quan and after years of packed scheduled days of work, school and internship, I am graduating with my Master of Social Work. My successes and challenges have cultivated me to become a better version of myself. The seeds my parents and family planted motivate me to do better and be better in ways that were never made available to them growing up. Like many immigrant families coming to the United States, they had what they could carry on their backs and had to start fresh from nothing. It was either take the risks for refuge in America or be deprived of opportunity in their countries of origin. As I look through the graduates’ statements from the Class of 2020, I see others who look like me and who have also reached a place of surreal success. The stories of our ancestors and the Asian community have added to our character when we realize the struggles and privileges of being Asian American. It is because of my upbringing and my parents’ journey that have added a blend of ethnic practices to make up who I am. I must admit, I learned a lot about myself while completing my internship hours and it made me more curious to uncover my roots, my origin. I am privileged to be able to share this experience with you to honor our families and take pride in our cultures that encompass the APIDA community here on campus.

So much has changed for me since I decided to apply to graduate school, but the one thing I can take away from growing through all this, is that strength comes in so many different forms, like adhering to our multiple roles outside of the classroom and still being able to focus on what is important. Our journey does not stop today; this is just the beginning of my work giving back to our community. We need more Asian Americans in social services, in mental health roles and all sectors of social sciences. We are not the Model Minority as we are called, we so much more than that. Our unique strength is what sets us apart and our sense of community here at Cal State LA has built integrity and perseverance within each of us. Like some of you reading this, we are the first ones in our family earning a Master’s degree, or the first to earn a Bachelor’s. We set the stage of opportunity for our siblings and those to come after us. In my case, my younger sister set the stage for me here. As a former Eagle, she showed me around my first year and even gave me a private tour. She has demonstrated how high an Eagle can soar, and how obstacles are just obstacles because we are equipped with aspirations to overcome those hurdles. A Chinese Proverb quoted, “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

I want to wish you all the best of luck to my fellow graduates of the Class of 2020. Trust yourself and be confident in what you have built throughout this arduous journey.

Thank you again for giving me the honor of writing this for our graduating class of 2020!


Doctorate Degrees


Synethia Ennis
She/Her/Hers

Synethia Ennis

Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership

I love you my support system. Thank you.

Denia Guadalupe Morales
She/Her/Hers

Denia Guadalupe Morales

Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership

I would like to thank all the friends, colleagues, family, and classmates that supported me during this journey.

Heather Reynolds
She/Her/Hers/Herself

Heather Reynolds

Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership

I want to thank Yang Yang.

Yang A. Yang
He/Him/His

Yang A. Yang

Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership

Ua ntej no, kuv xav hais ob peb lo lus rau kuv tsev neeg. Muaj nej txoj kev hlub, kev txhwab nqa, thiab kev txhawb zog kuv tiaj li kawm ntawv tiav. Yog vim muaj nej, kuv tiaj li muaj txoj kev npau suav. First and foremost, this is for my family. Without your love, support, and encouragement this would not have been possible. It is because of you, I dare to dream.


Master's Degrees


Jeannie Quan
She/Her/Hers/Herself

Jeannie Quan

Master of Social Work

I feel truly blessed to have my mom, dad, fiancé, sister, and family show me unconditional support throughout my MSW journey. This has been the most humbling experience to learn so much in my professional and personal life. I am so grateful to have met the most amazing people in this field. Without my mentors and colleagues who inspired me to further my education, I would not be the person I am today. Thank you!


Bachelors Degrees


Daniel Ernesto Barahona
He/Him/His

Daniel Ernesto Barahona

BS in Electrical Engineering

Thank you God, for the patience and strength you've provided with my team at Cal State Los Angeles. I would like to thank my brothers David and Robert. Thanks for the amazing support and love. Thank you mom and dad, for the patience, wisdom and overall support in my career and education. I'd like to thank my friends, for your strength and care.

Johnny W. Chan
He/Him/His

Johnny W. Chan

Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice

I would like to thank my mom, brother, and close friends for all their support and encouragement throughout my long journey in college. I would also like to thank all my professors, advisors, and Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honors Society) for making me a better leader and encouraging me to strive for a higher level of achievement.

Stephanie Chu
She/Her/Hers

Stephanie Chu

Bachelor of Science, Public Health

I want to thank my family and friends for being there for me. Thank you for all of your love and support. I wouldn’t be where I am without you guys.

Alexandra Victoria Dela Rosa
She/Her/Hers

Alexandra Victoria Dela Rosa

Bachelor of Arts, Electrical Engineering

My journey here at Cal State LA would not be the same without the support of my parents and family. I will be forever thankful for the unconditional love that I receive from them everyday. I also would like to thank the amazing friends and mentors that I met here. I really could not imagine how my college experience would be without them.

Sulema Gonzalez
She/Her/Hers

Sulema Gonzalez

Bachelor of Science, Nursing

GRACIAS A MIS PADRES, HERMANOS, MIS HIJAS, ESPOSO Y FAMILIA POR APOLLARME EN ESTE LARGO TRANSCURSO. LO QUIERO MUCHO!

Phillip Hong
He/Him/His

Phillip Hong

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

I would like to thank my family for being supportive of my 6 years in college. Although it has not been the easiest journey, I believe that graduating with a business degree would be the best decision that I have made for myself. The professors at Cal State Los Angeles have been very motivational and caring about my education and journey through life. For that I am grateful.

Leslie Tu La
She/Her/Hers

Leslie Tu La

Bachelor of Science, Public Health

I would like to thank all the influential people in my life. I would not be who I am today without their love and support. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices my parents made for us when they immigrated from Vietnam, leaving behind family and friends in order to give us a better life.

Marjorie Lamban
She/Her/Hers

Marjorie Lamban

Bachelor of Arts, Graphic Design

I would like to first thank my family for being there for me and supporting me every step of the way. I am thankful for all the great friendships I've made throughout the four years that made school tolerable and fun. I will not be where I am today if it wasn't for my family and friends so thank you. I appreciate and love every single one of you.

Janice Samortin Marquez
She/Her/Hers

Janice Samortin Marquez

Bachelor of Science, Accounting

I would like to thank my parents for tirelessly standing by my side throughout my entire college career. I would not be as motivated and determined to make the best of my future if they had not provided their unwavering love and care for me and my future. Thank you for being my rock through everything, I love you

Jennilene F. Morada
She/Her/Hers

Jennilene F. Morada

Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology

I want to thank my family and friends for their constant love and support, my professors for their guidance in reaching my goals and DPHIE, for all the wonderful memories. I would also like to thank Mark, who has always pushed me to go beyond my capabilities. I will not forget the experiences that I have made in this University.

Maria Jasmine F. Morada
She/Her/Hers

Maria Jasmine F. Morada

Bachelor of Arts, Communicative Disorders

I would like to thank all my friends and family for all their love and support. Thanks to all my professors for preparing me for what comes next after this part of my chapter ends. I have made such great memories and got to experience many things at this university, none of which I will ever regret.

Marie Owyong
She/Her/Hers

Marie Owyong

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Option in Entrepreneurship

I want to thank my friends, family, partner, and all those who made my time here so meaningful. Special shout out to my APIDA Ignite family for giving me the opportunity to find community with my API identity. I can’t thank Elaine, Chris, Veejay, Hannah, Jonathan, Jennifer, and Taraneh enough for being the amazing people that they are, and for giving me the chance to be a part of something incredible.

Alyssa Jillian Paglinawan
She/Her/Hers

Alyssa Jillian Paglinawan

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Option in Business Prelegal
Minor in Asian Studies, Management

To my friends, thank you for all of the laughs, food runs and study sessions we had together. These helped me get through some tough semesters and I am grateful for the memories. To Mom and Dad, thank you for all of your continued love, support and encouragement through my college career! I would not have been able to accomplish my goals without the two of you! I love you all!

Noah Ryan Salvador
He/Him/His

Noah Ryan Salvador

Bachelor of Arts, Communication Disorders

I would like to thank my family and friends for their constant love, support, and always pushing me to do the most. I would also like to thank my professors for giving me the knowledge and tools to go out into the world of Speech Pathology with confidence. Last but not least, I would like to thank Kalahi for making my college experience memorable and the best years of my life thus far.

Danica Kristine Salem Samonte
She/Her/Hers

Danica Kristine Salem Samonte

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

Throughout my years at Cal State LA, a lot of people have helped me grown personally and professionally. The biggest shoutout goes to my family for reminding me to keep going even when i feel like giving up. Another shoutout to my co-workers and friends back in Northridge and my friends at Cal State LA who have given me their time and support. Here's to new memories and a new chapter.

Alyssa Soukhaseum
She/Her/Hers

Alyssa Soukhaseum

Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science

Thank you to my biggest support systems. To my parents, everything I do is to make you proud. To my brother and my family, thank you for your advice and your tough love. To my friends, college would have not been the same without you, thanks for the good times. Lastly, to my CSI family, thank you for the constant support and love throughout my time here. I love all of you. Souks out!

Valeri To
She/Her/Hers

Valeri To

Bachelor of Arts, Graphic Design

As my chapter at Cal State LA is ending, I want to thank those who have supported me on this journey. I would like to send my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, colleagues and professors—your constant support and collective thoughts have enabled my to grow. To those who may not continue on the same path as me, know that your impression on me will forever shape my life.

Vivian Schuiching Tse
She/Her/Hers

Vivian Schuiching Tse

Bachelor of Arts, Television Film Media Studies

I would like to thank my family, friends, and teachers for their support and love they have given me throughout my college years to study film and pursue a film career. Despite the hardships that come with being an Asian female in the film industry, the belief from my family, friends, and teachers continuously push me to believe I can overcome those hardships, fulfill my dream, and push for change in the industry.

Jolyna Mariel Ramos Vicerra
She/Her/Hers

Jolyna Mariel Ramos Vicerra

Bachelor of Arts, Art
Option in Animation

I would like to thank my parents for their love and support during my time at Cal State LA. Through my family and friends, I was able to have the courage to chase my dreams. I am forever grateful for the memories I've made so far, and can't wait for what the future holds. To my family and baby, mahal na mahal kita.

Alden Zhang
He/Him/His

Alden Zhang

Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice
Minor in Law & School

I want to thank everyone who helped make this possible. To my friends who endured countless hours with me at the boba shop studying, to my professors who helped me to become a better student and finally to my family who was there every step of the way, cheering me on and supporting my every decision. I am grateful for everything in the last 4 years, and I am excited about the next chapter.