Student of Distinction: Lindsay Norton

Student of Distinction: Lindsay Norton

Lindsay Norton is graduating with a double major with a B.A. in English literature and a B.A. in geography. She is the Dean’s Medal nominee for the Department of English and Standard Bearer for the College of Arts and Humanities.

“That she has also contributed so much to the Fresno State community is worthy of both our recognition and gratitude. I cannot speak highly enough of Lindsay, which is a sentiment shared by two department faculties in their combined celebration of her achievements,” said Dr. Melanie Hernandez, chair of the Department of English. 

Norton experienced extremely tenuous circumstances before her college career, one of which was the loss of her father at age 16. Because of these circumstances, she turned down an acceptance to U.C. Berkeley and attended Fresno City College. Despite this, Norton persevered. To help her mother financially, she worked at Target and got her associate’s degree for transfer in English in three semesters.

In 2021, Norton’s mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer; she has been her mother’s primary caretaker while working several jobs since then. Despite the circumstances, she has excelled in all facets of her interwoven school-work-home life. She is currently a supervisor at the Fresno State Writing Center, where she has helped hundreds of students develop their writing. Norton has also helped a professor with his upcoming book as an undergraduate research assistant.

“To further the research I began in my classes, I joined the College of Arts and Humanities and College of Social Sciences Honors Programs. In both, I have investigated the overlap of Indigenous literatures, theories and place-based practices in the context of our racialized climate crisis,” said Norton.

Norton is completing her College of Social Sciences honors thesis exploring the relationship between the North Fork Mono Tribe’s environmental conceptions and their oral traditions. She will present on Kiowa senses of space in Momaday’s “The Names” at the Sigma Tau Delta Conference. She has also presented at three “Undergraduate Conferences on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas,” one “Students of English Studies Association” symposium and is a member of three honors societies.

“I marvel at both the fortitude and the generosity of one so young, so full of promise, who chose to give up her dream of a wider world after high school to stay close to her mother and care for her with whatever resources of time, energy, and money she has at her disposal,” Professor Samina Najmi said.

Norton will take a semester off to care for her mother but has big plans for the future. 

“I will then get my Master’s in English Literature with an emphasis in American Indian Studies. My ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D., eventually teaching at a university while contributing to the emerging field of Indigenous-focused environmental humanities.”

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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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