College of Arts and Letters announces its outstanding students


California State University, San Bernardino’s College of Arts and Letters has announced its top students: Andrew Wong, outstanding undergraduate student, English; Kennedy Van Houten, outstanding undergraduate student in the liberal arts program; and Elena Martinez, outstanding graduate student, communication studies.

College of Arts and Letters outstanding grads:  Andrew Wong (l) and Kennedy Van Houten

Andrew Wong (l) and Kennedy Van Houten

Commencement for the College of Arts and Letters will be Saturday, June 15, at 4:45 p.m. on campus at Coussoulis Arena.

Wong will receive a bachelor of arts in English, creative writing track. He has already published one of his poems in CSUSB’s English department’s literary journal, The Pacific Review.

The San Francisco native currently residing in San Bernardino said that although he started out with a passion for creative writing, his writing soon became analytical, viewing ideas schematically. He views writing as “a vehicle for harmony between self and community.”

Wong now plans to apply these values to the field of study that deals with human interaction with its community. With an interest in the areas of non-profit management and human resources, he will pursue a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Washington in fall 2013.

Van Houten is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She has volunteered many hours at Salinas Elementary School in San Bernardino, teaching prose and poetry to students in the “Salinas and Coyotes: Instruction in Poetry and Prose Program.” She is also actively involved on campus as president of TEACH, “Through Education Anything Can Happen,” and has worked as a resident assistant at CSUSB’s office of housing and residential life. Van Houten says the experience developed her appreciation for diversity, as well as her teamwork, community building and leadership skills.

The Riverside resident’s career dream is to become an educator. She plans to pursue a combined master’s program in special education and a credential in moderate-to-severe special education at CSUSB in the fall.

Selected as the college’s outstanding graduate student, Martinez will receive a master’s degree in communication studies after maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. She has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Annenberg School of Communication with a full scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in communication.

The 30-year-old San Jacinto resident also participated in the department’s graduate teaching associate program, teaching 15 sections of oral communication. In 2012, she received the department’s outstanding graduate teaching associate award and the department’s outstanding graduate student honors.

Martinez has also presented papers at numerous national conferences. In addition, she served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years.

Martinez will participate in a separate graduate student commencement ceremony on June 15 at 12:45 p.m.

All commencement ceremonies at Cal State San Bernardino’s Coussoulis Arena will be webcast live at the CSUSB Academic Computing and Media Live WebCast page.

For more information about the June 2013 graduations, visit the Commencement Web page.