Dr. Jolene Koester Praises Cal State Northridge Scholar-Athletes

Northridge, Calif. - More than 100 family and friends, faculty members, coaches, and University and athletic department personnel honored 55 outstanding Cal State Northridge scholar-athletes for their success in the classroom on Thursday afternoon at the home of University President Dr. Jolene Koester.

The large gathering included distinguished members of Dr. Koester's cabinet including Tom McCarron (Vice-President, Administration & Finance), Bob Barker (Associate Vice-President for Finance), Terry Piper (Vice-President for Student Affairs), Dr. Aki Hirota (Faculty Athletic Representative), Fred Dukes (Executive Assistant/Administration & Finance VP), Hilary Baker (Vice-President for Information Technology), Barbara Gross (Chief of Staff/President's Office), and Matador Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto.

"All of you (student-athletes) honored today are students first," said Dr. Koester. "Athletics drives an enormous portion on how you structure each day of your lives. Each of you works an incredible number of hours in support of the sports you have chosen to participate in. The amazing thing about what you do is how you manage to keep the word `student' in the student-athlete equation at an extreme high level. The University is very pleased to participate in honoring that `student' part in who you are."

The scholar-athletes, who have completed a minimum of one season of varsity competition and have a minimum 3.2 grade point average for the previous two semesters, were named to the 2008 Varsity `N Academic Athletics Honor Roll.

The Cal State Northridge Athletic Department has held this annual event since 1982 to honor the academic excellence of their student-athletes. While the student-athletes participated in intercollegiate athletics, their ability to balance athletics and demonstrated academic excellence is highly regarded at Cal State Northridge.

"Congratulations to this group of outstanding student-athletes," said CSUN Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto. "We honor you for your excellence on the playing field, and in the classroom."

Also acknowledged was CSUN history professor James Sefton, who originally thought of the concept of honoring Cal State Northridge student-athletes called the Varsity `N Academic Athletics Honor Roll.

Sarah Kahn-Shamout, a member of the softball team, was named the 2008 Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Kahn-Shamout, a junior, is majoring in Biology. Nic Saylor, a member of the track & field team, was named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Saylor is a senior who will graduate with a degree in Sociology.

Jessica Beach, a member of the Matador track & field team, was given the Outstanding Graduate Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Beach, in 2007, earned the Wolfson Scholar award, the University's highest honor for a graduating senior. Beach graduated with a 4.0 gpa in Pre-Med/Biology.

Beach offered two suggestions on how to be and continue to be a successful student-athlete.

"Use your resources," said Beach. "Your coaches, professors, academic counselors, your tutors ... they are all here to help you. They want you to be the best student-athlete you can be. Don't be afraid to ask for help and take advantage of those resources.

"Secondly, don't be afraid to offer your help. As a successful student-athlete, you have the opportunity to serve as a role model for not only other student-athletes but to other students in the general population. My experience as a tutor and a mentor has taught me that there is nothing more rewarding than helping other students get a good grade through encouragement and a little guidance."

New Inductees
Alex Alvarado (Sophomore, Visalia, Calif.) - Softball
Major: Psychology

Jeff Baxter (RS Freshman, Simi Valley, Calif.) - Men's Volleyball
Major: Kinesiology

Allison Brookes (Senior, San Diego, Calif.) - Water Polo
Major: Kinesiology

Ashley Cambaliza (Senior, Palmdale, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Kinesiology

Nicolas Christou (Sophomore, Palmdale, Calif.) - Men's Soccer
Major: Finance & Real Estate (over) Marissa Crook (Sophomore, Bakersfield, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Kinesiology

Kellie Drenner (Sophomore, Palmdale, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Undeclared

Theo Edwards (Sophomore, Northridge, Calif.) - Men's Volleyball
Major: Urban Planning

Kathleen Fox (Freshman, Simi Valley, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Kinesiology

Rachel Gillis (Senior, Saugus, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Mathematics

Siara Grayson (Sophomore, Sandy. Ut) - Women's Volleyball
Major: Undeclared

Valerie Kepler (Junior, Simi Valley, Calif.) - Women's Volleyball
Major: Business Marketing

LaJoyce King (Compton, Calif.) - Women's Basketball
Major: Apparel Design & Production

Kankey Koichumanova (Senior, Bishkek, Kyrgystan) - Tennis
Major: Asian-American Studies

Kristin Krohn (Senior, Northridge, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Kinesiology

Kirra Kylander (Sophomore, Murrieta, Calif.) - Water Polo
Major: Kinesiology

Sherrina Lofton (Sophomore, Fairfield, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Marketing

Mercedes Lovato (Senior, Simi Valley, Calif.) - Softball
Major: Communication Studies

Kristin McLaughlin (Sophomore, La Canada, Calif.) - Water Polo
Major: Political Science

Lauren Michaels (Sophomore, Tempe, Ariz.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Marine Biology

Laura Nunes (Sophomore, Garden Grove, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Undeclared

Bobbie Patton (Senior, Santa Maria, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Kinesiology

Jeremy Quant (Freshman, Santa Clarita, Calif.) - Men's Track & Field
Major: Art/Animation

Krystal Quinn (Senior, Palmdale, Calif. ) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Sociology/Criminal Justice

Emily Rogers (Junior, Mill Creek, Wash.) - Women's Swimming
Major: Business Management

Jaclyn Rymer (Sophomore, Bakersfield, Calif.) - Softball
Major: Undeclared

Jonathan Sakurai (Alea, Hawai'i)- Baseball
Major: Psychology

Nic Saylor (Senior, Quartz Hill, Calif.) - Men's Track & Field
Major: Sociology

Bethany Scamara (Sophomore, Fontana, Calif.) - Water Polo
Major: Kinesiology

Olesya Senicheva (Novgorod, Russia) - Women's Swimming
Major: Economics

Jillian Stapf (Sophomore, Hudsonville, Mi) - Water Polo
Major: Kinesiology

Mike Stotland (Senior, Encino, Calif.) - Men's Track & Field
Major: Finance/Information Systems

William Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) - Baseball
Major: Biology

Katrina Thompson (Sophomore, Sylmar, Calif.) - Women's Basketball
Major: Kinesiology

Nanci Velarde (RS Freshman, Lake View Terrace, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Kinesiology

Bethany Wagenhoffer-Strader (Brea, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Kinesiology

Repeat Honorees
Jessica Beach (Senior, Olympia, Wash.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Pre-Med/Biology

Lucy Davies (Senior, Northridge, Cakif.) - Women's Golf
Major: Broadcast Journalism

Mallory Gonzalez (Junior, Sylmar, Calif.) - Women's Golf
Major: Exercise Science

Kevin Guppy (Junior, Chino Hills, Calif) - Men's Soccer
Major: Sociology

Crystal Hahs (Junior, San Clemente, Calif.) - Women's Basketball
Major: Deaf Studies

Kelley Hanson (Junior, Moorpark, Calif.) - Women's Volleyball
Major: Kinesiology

Katie Holloway (Senior, Lake Stevens, Wa) - Women's Basketball
Major: Journalism

Terrell Jones (Carson, Calif.) - Men's Basketball
Major: Business

Sarah Kahn-Shamout (Junior, Quartz Hills, Calif.) - Softball
Major: Biology

Kathryn Kerr (Junior, San Diego, Calif.) - Women's Swimming
Major: Kinesiology

Isaac Kneubuhl (Junior, Pukalani, Hawai'i- Men's Volleyball
Major: Kinesiology

Sonya Kumar (Senior, Amber Grande, Singapore) - Tennis
Major: Kinesiology

Simone Luker (Junior, Adelaide, Australia) - Women's Swimming
Major: Journalism

Suzanne Mischenko (Senior, Arcadia, Calif.) - Women's Soccer
Major: Kinesiology

Kevin Nious (Senior, Alameda, Calif.) - Men's Track & Field
Major: Television Production

Cody Pearce (Junior, Folsom, Calif.) - Men's Track & Field
Major: Kinesiology

Eric Vance (Junior, Camarillo, Calif.) - Men's Volleyball
Major: Economics

Sandra Velarde (Sophomore, San Fernando, Calif.) - Women's Track & Field
Major: Spanish Language & Culture

Kayla Wright (Junior, Murrieta, Calif.) - Women's Volleyball
Major: Business Marketing