2023 Arts in Motion recognizes the college’s top students

Arts in Motion - Celebrating Student Excellence. Photos of the 2022 President's Medalist Audia Dixon and Steven Hensley along with a bass drummer in the Rose Parade, a painter working on a mural and actors on stage.

The College of Arts and Humanities “Arts in Motion” is our annual celebration of student excellence and reminds us of how our College’s faculty provide an excellent education that transforms lives. We are excited to acknowledge the achievements of our College’s most accomplished students. From the creative artists to the humanists, every scholarship winner and Student of Distinction reflects the experimentation, compassion, and curiosity that Fresno State fosters.

The Arts in Motion event is at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. A reception will follow in the band room. During the event, one undergraduate and one graduate student of distinction will be named Dean’s Medalist. While attendance to this event is by invitation only, we invite the community to enjoy the fruits of our students and faculty during the Arts and Humanities Showcase.

2023 Arts in Motion Program

NOTE: Please download PDF for the accessible version

Dean’s Medalists

Student of Distinction: Lucca Lorenzi

Lucca Lorenzi – Department of Media, Communications and Journalism

“I had not won an unlucky lottery, but rather, a second chance at life and an opportunity to spread the healing power of creativity.”

Student of Distinction: Mialise Carney

Student of Distinction: Mialise Carney – Department of English

“I grew up silenced and sheltered from society, but through education, community and art, I’ve discovered a place in a world I didn’t believe had space for me.”

Standard Bearers

Student of Distinction: Lindsay Norton

Lindsay Norton – Department of English

“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.”

Student of Distinction - Sunshine De Castro

Sunshine De Castro – Department of Theatre and Dance

“As I enter the entertainment industry as an early career professional, I am committed to emphasizing diversity and inclusion in my work. I strive to be a voice to move the entertainment industry forward to include the perspectives and stories of many.”

Graduate Dean’s Medalist Honorable Mentions

Student of Distinction: Mia De La Cerda

Student of Distinction: Mia De La Cerda – Department of English

“At Fresno State, I, for the first time in my life, felt accepted and found a sense of belonging. I was encouraged to write poetry about the experience of farm laborers, tell the story of my grandparents and delve into topics that have been underrepresented.”

Student of Distinction: Sarah Theller

Sarah Theller – Department of Art, Design and Art History

“I seek to address how the effects of trauma and limited scopes of personhood shape identity. In both my studio work and thesis scholarship, I investigate what it means to be ‘human’ across time.”

Undergraduate Students of Distinction

Student of Distinction: Hyfa Alsahybu

Hyfa Alsahybu – Department of Art, Design and Art History

“My ultimate goal is to create an art school for children in Yemen. For them, art can serve as a means of escape, a symbol of hope, a form of self-expression, and even therapy.”

Student of Distinction: Melissa Tejeda

Melissa Tejeda – Department of Communication

“I will take all the skills obtained in my communication degree and strive for social justice and inclusivity among my peers, not only in my career but wherever life takes me.”

Student of Distinction: Icarus Bailey

Icarus Baileyy – Department of Linguistics

“I am grateful for all the skills and education I have gained here. I am excited to use those skills to give back to our community in a deeply meaningful way by preserving our Central Valley languages.”

Student of Distinction: Paulina Mendoza Sanchez

Paulina Mendoza Sanchez – Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

“I aspire to a master’s degree in linguistics and then a doctorate because I am interested in never stopping learning so as to never stop teaching.”

Student of Distinction: Jego Canlas

Jego Canlas – Department of Music

“Finding it within myself that I want to be a teacher and mentor to students and make such an impact on them that my directors and professors have made on me is what I thrive for.”

Student of Distinction: Omar Perez

Omar Perez – Department of Philosophy

“A key takeaway from ancient philosophy is the idea that philosophy is not only a form of study; rather, it is a way of life. [D]espite facing adversities, one is still able to bloom.”

Graduate Students of Distinction

Student of Distinction: Jasmine Ibal-Nolasco

Jasmine Ibal-Nolasco – Department of Communication

“I plan to be the first person in my family with ‘Ph.D.’ after her name. I am hopeful for the new relationships that I will make in my future, and I am grateful that it has all started within the space of Fresno State.”

Student of Distinction: Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan – Department of Linguistics

“My goal is to utilize both my linguistics and TESOL degrees to further our understanding of autism from the perspective of both linguistics and education.”

Student of Distinction: Laura Cortez

Laura Cortez – Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

“Juggling work, school, marriage life, experiencing an ectopic pregnancy and commuting two hours to attend classes while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA has been a challenge. However, in a few months, I’ll be the first one in my family to graduate with a master’s degree, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.”

Student of Distinction: Jordan Pulido

Jordan Pulido – Department of Music

“Jordan is very passionate about his art and has a strong desire to share that passion with not only his current colleagues but future music students.” ~ Dr. Cari Earnhart.

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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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