Meet this year’s Dean’s Council Scholarship recipients

Alejandra De Alba Galvan, Ivan Villanueva and Brooke Chau

The Dean’s Council Annual Fund supports students across the College of Arts and Humanities every year through the endowed scholarship. Your contribution plays a direct role in funding these student’s tuition, freeing them to focus on their studies. As these students graduate and find their place in the community, they are destined to elevate our lives and become an inspiration for life.

We are proud to present some of this year’s Dean’s Council Endowed Scholarship recipients.

Brooke Chau

Brooke Chau

Department of Communication

Department of Media, Communications​ ​and Journalism

Three years ago, Brooke Chau left her small hometown of Oakdale, California, to become a Bulldog, and she hasn’t looked back since. She is a senior at Fresno State, double majoring in Communication and Media, Communication and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. Chau will graduate in May 2022 and plans to become a news reporter/anchor. She says the campus community is extremely important to her and is part of the Delta Gamma Sorority, RTDNA, AAJA, Peer Ambassadors of Wellness, and ABC30 Youth Advisory Council at Fresno State! 

“I have a passion for community and storytelling, and I am looking forward to seeing what senior year has in store for me,” said Chau. “The College of Arts and Humanities has always inspired me to dream big and be bold. This generous scholarship will help me further my education in a stress-free way and allow me to focus on my passion – the news!” 

Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson

Department of Philosophy

Emily Nelson is a senior majoring in Philosophy with an emphasis in law. Born and raised in Fresno, she is proud to be graduating from Fresno State. Nelson said transferring to the university during the pandemic was unique and challenging. However, the support she received from the College of Arts and Humanities has been instrumental to her success. The relationships with faculty and peers have continually motivated her academically to reach new heights. Even though the pandemic closed the campus, she found many ways to become involved on campus, including presenting at the Voicing Ideas student conference, joining the Philosophy Club and Phi Alpha Delta, and representing the philosophy department in the College of Arts and Humanities Student Leadership Council. She says the philosophy department created a welcoming space to grow as a student and person, enabling her with the confidence and knowledge to succeed in her future endeavors. 

“I am so appreciative to be selected as a Dean’s Council Scholarship recipient. This opportunity is helpful to me in finishing my degree and allowing me to save money to put towards law school applications,” said Nelson. “Thank you for your generosity!” 

Ivan Villanueva

Ivan Villanueva

Department of English

Ivan Villanueva is a first-generation Latino college student majoring in English Education. With a desire to make a change on an individual level, he plans to become an English teacher and build a positive culture and environment for his students. Villanueva has worked in the CA-Mini Corps and ProYouth Expanded Learning programs as an academic tutor and leader. He says he is thankful for the experiences of seeing his students grow personally and academically — as well as himself. His parents are his biggest motivators, and although they find it hard to understand the hardships of college, they are with him every step of the way. He thanks them for their unconditional love, which has crafted him into the man and scholar he is today. 

“I have a love for the field of education because educators can change lives,” said Villanueva.I am very grateful for being awarded the Dean’s Council Scholarship because of how helpful the funds will be in furthering my education. It also motivates me to continue to strive in my academics and to always believe in my choices and myself.”

Racheal Maciel

Racheal Maciel

Department of Theatre and Dance

Rachael Maciel is a senior Theatre Arts major with an emphasis in Acting. She has always had a love for performing and has been involved in many productions. After just three years, she will graduate Spring of 2022.

“I aspire to be an actor and have a peak interest in screenwriting,” said Maciel. “Receiving the Dean’s Council Scholarship not only financially helps me pursue my dream but makes me feel that my hard work is recognized. I am grateful and honored to receive this scholarship.”

Stephanie Blanchfield

Stephanie Blanchfield

Department of Media, Communications and Journalism

Stephanie Blanchfield is a senior at Fresno State majoring in Media, Communications, and Journalism (MCJ) with an emphasis in Public Relations. She worked as the alumni, marketing and public relations coordinator for the student-run non-profit Camp Kesem at Fresno State. Blanchfield is also an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and has served as the Education and Public Relations chairman. After graduating, she plans to work with local businesses throughout the Central Valley to help create a larger audience through social media management and efficient advertising skills.

“I am immensely grateful for the scholarship I have been awarded by the Arts and Humanities Deans Council and will be using it to continue my education and final year at Fresno State,” said Blanchfield. “Go, Dogs!”

Alejandra De Alba Galvan

Alejandra De Alba Galvan

Department of Communication

Master of Arts

Alejandra De Alba Galvan is a graduate student in the Communications Department. Her short-term goal is to earn a master’s degree and teach in higher education. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree and focus her research on social justice issues centered around her identity as a “queer” Latina. 

“Receiving the Dean’s Council Scholarship has allowed me to focus on my education with more peace of mind. These funds have allowed me the opportunity to continue in the master’s program.” 

Cameron Harris

Cameron Harris

Department of Music

College of Arts and Humanities Honors Student

Cameron Harris just received his Music Education degree and is now pursuing his teaching credential from the Kremen School of Education. He also plans to return for a master’s degree in Music Education. Harris was introduced to music at River Bluff Elementary, where he learned to play the clarinet. His first year at Central High School, Harris transitioned to the bassoon — which reignited his love for music. At Fresno State, under the tutelage of Professor Larry Gardner, his bassoon skills blossomed, and he earned a position on the President’s Quintet. Harris said the President’s Quintet scholarship and the Dean’s Council scholarship allow him to focus on his pursuits as a music educator. 

“This scholarship will be going towards furthering my academic career and success.” 

Joshua van Heusen

Joshua van Heusen

Department of Music 

College of Arts and Humanities Honors Student

Joshua van Heusen is majoring in music with an option in music as a liberal art. He is active in the Central Valley music community, playing in the Fresno Philharmonic and the Sequoia Symphony. He serves as a coach for the Youth Orchestras of Fresno and sees his experience as a precursor to his career. Van Heusen’s goal is to become a music educator who teaches children to have a deeper understanding of themselves and appreciate the world around them through musical arts. He believes in cultivating well-rounded students and providing them with the proper tools to succeed. 

“I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities that are available to me because of the Dean’s Council Scholarship. This gift is a leap towards my goal of bringing music and the arts to the lives of children here in the Central Valley, and I will continue my journey towards that goal with my fellow peers here at Fresno State.”

Peyton Esraelian

Peyton Esraelian

Department of Music 

Peyton Esraelian is working towards her bachelor of arts in music with a music education option.  As a private teacher, she is a music educator in the Fresno area, the percussion coach at the Youth Orchestras of Fresno, and the Director of Percussion at University High School.  Esraelian has been a member of the ensembles such as the Fresno State Percussion and New Music Ensembles. She has also been the Principal Percussionist for the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra and the Fresno State Wind Orchestra.  Esraelian has performed with various groups such as the Orpheus New Music Ensemble, Fresno Community Chorus, Sequoia Symphony, and the Fresno Philharmonic. She has competed in the Percussive Arts Society California-Chapter Competitive Festival for several years, each year earning superior marks, and has won multiple performance categories in 2017 and 2019.  In 2019, Esraelian performed as a member of the Percussive Arts Society International Convention’s Collegiate All-Star Percussion Ensemble in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Receiving this scholarship has helped alleviate some financial stress this school year so that I can focus more on my academics and music.”

Ryan Bilbee

Ryan Bilbee

Department of English

Master of Arts

Literature has always been a fundamental factor in Ryan Bilbee’s life. He has been drawn to literature to escape and travel worlds while accepting his Crohn’s disease. His mother recalls a young Ryan refusing to put down his book, even while brushing his teeth as a child. Through his undergraduate literature and humanities courses, he saw a path forward through his love for reading. With a focus on Medieval literature, specifically Old English, Bilbee is in his second year of the Masters in English Literature program. He enjoys cooking, reading, video games, movies, and hiking when not focusing on school.

“I could not believe that I had been chosen to receive this scholarship. It takes a big financial weight off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on doing the best I possibly can as I finish up my master’s degree.”

Sydney Hinton
Sydney Hinton

Sydney Hinton

Department of English

Master of Fine Arts  — Creative Writing

Sydney Hinton is an MFA student studying creative nonfiction with an emphasis in editing and publishing. She hails from Illinois, and her friends affectionately (and accurately) call her “aggressively midwestern.” She’s the current managing editor for The Normal School Literary Magazine and hopes to continue editing more provocative and interesting pieces well after her time in the program.

“Receiving the Dean’s Council funds is an honor and something that will greatly help with my upcoming semester. This will help me focus more on my writing and studies as I approach the end of my time in the program. Thankful doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel.”


Several additional students from the departments of Art and Design, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, and Music preferred not to be named.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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