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Computer Science, History Students Selected for Fresno State's Highest Academic Honors
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By News
Published 1 month ago on
May 17, 2024

Fresno State's top academic students were recognized Thursday. Nathan Theng, at left, was selected as the President’s Undergraduate Medalist, while Angel Rojas was selected as the President’s Graduate Medalist. (Fresno State)

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Fresno State students Nathan Theng and Angel Rojas have been awarded the university’s top academic honors for the class of 2024.

Chosen from a group of nine Undergraduate Deans’ Medalists and nine Graduate Deans’ Medalists, they were surprised with the honor during the President’s Recognition Reception on Thursday, May 16.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations on this well-deserved honor,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “Angel and Nathan have committed themselves wholeheartedly to making our community a better place, and through their own lived experiences, have chosen to pursue an education and professional path that uplifts others. They both represent the dynamic and creative intelligence that characterizes our Fresno State students.”

Theng, of Fresno, was selected as the President’s Undergraduate Medalist, the university’s top honor for an undergraduate student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a 3.97 GPA, was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in 2023 and is a semi-finalist for a Fulbright Greece Fellowship.

Rojas, of Fresno, was selected as the President’s Graduate Medalist, Fresno State’s top honor for a graduate student. He earned a master’s degree in history with a 3.92 GPA. He is the first in his family to attend and graduate from a four-year university and the first to graduate with his master’s. He will attend the University of Pittsburgh in the fall to pursue a doctoral degree in history.

Nathan Theng, President’s Undergraduate Medalist

A Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholar, Theng originally studied biochemistry with a plan to pursue medicine, but he realized how programming and technology could transform health care as he took classes virtually, scribed for physicians via telehealth and got professional certifications in applied artificial intelligence and machine learning specializations during the pandemic.

He has received several awards and scholarships as his academics soared but he also developed a passion for community service. He mentored students and tutored adults through the Computer Science Department, volunteered at Camp Kesem to support children who have family members diagnosed with cancer, and volunteered at the Fresno Needle Exchange/Fresno Free Clinic. He interned with the Hub of Digital Transformation and Innovation, and Northwestern Mutual. Theng plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science. His goal is to research computational diagnosis tools for underserved communities.

Angel Rojas, President’s Graduate Medalist

Rojas was interested in pursuing chemistry but, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rojas learned about the structural disadvantages that harm marginalized communities in health care. He spent his graduate program understanding the early modern dynamics of science as an institution and voice of power and authority. His thesis, on the intersection of British colonial and indigenous medical practices, required learning how to read in Latin and French. Rojas took courses in both languages at Fresno State and attended a summer session at the Middlebury Language Institute in Vermont to learn more French.

He presented his research at more than 10 conferences, served as vice president of the History Graduate Student Association for two years and is now president. He hopes to become an educator and mentor at a four-year public university where he can inspire others from a background like his to pursue higher education, teaching or to become amazing people.

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