Coyote Athletes Join Honors

Lana Klaib & Jeffrey Bongga

CSUSB boasts a number of talented and bright students who excel in their athletic and academic work. The University Honors Program is delighted to host our first varsity athletes, all of whom maintain a high academic standing, engage fully on campus, and participate in Honors-level coursework, all while committing countless hours  to their sport. The dedication, passion, and drive these students exhibit every day demonstrates the best that CSUSB has to offer. The University Honors Program is a steadfast supporter of all our university’s athletic programs and are proud of our student athletes who challenge themselves in the classroom as well as on the court. We look forward to inviting more outstanding student athletes to our program.

Nicole Tabuena, a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in psychology, is the first student-athlete to join the Honors Program. She is currently a defensive specialist on the Women’s Volleyball Team, helping the team push forward to being ranked No.1 in the DII Women AVCA poll for 2018. Kim Cherniss, head coach of the Women’s Volleyball Team, describes Nicole as extremely hard working and having a “team-first” attitude. “She is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team be more successful.” Though she was hesitant to join the Honors program as an athlete, as it is something that has not been done before, she ultimately decided to go for it. Nicole says that joining the Honors Program “has probably been one of the best decisions [she has] made.” She compares being part of the Honors Program to being a part of another team, and being part of a family that encourages her to continue to strive for greatness. Her advice for prospective Honors students would be; “Join the Honors Program! It sounds scary because you will be held at high expectations with some of the most intelligent people on campus, but everyone is so welcoming, understanding, and supportive.”

Cassidy Jessup knew she wanted to attend CSUSB after her first time touring the campus. In high school, she was driven to exceed scholastically, carrying that dedication through to her college career by joining the Honors Program. Because she is incredibly motivated academically and wanted to surround herself with like-minded students, Cassidy decided to join the Honors Program Living and Learning Community, which provides her the academic support and social connections that she now cherishes. She is majoring in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Dance and minoring in Education. Cassidy is currently a member of the CSUSB Dance Team, performing at on-campus athletic games and community events. Though her workload seems daunting, Cassidy balances all of her commitments without breaking a sweat. She is excited to continue as an Honors student for the rest of her time at CSUSB and is grateful for the Honors Program for allowing a space for students like her to grow and learn alongside other incredibly driven individuals.

Carly Luna is a Communications major with a concentration in Media Studies and a goalkeeper for CSUSB’s soccer team. She is grateful for the opportunities presented to her by the university, stating, “CSUSB offered not only offered me the opportunity to compete in one of the most competitive conferences in the country and have great coaching staff that made me feel welcome, but also an academic program that would challenge me to be just as competitive in the classroom.” The University Honors Program provides Carly with the academic support she needs to strike a balance between her schoolwork and soccer. She is grateful for the community of students that the program cultivates and for the resources that the program provides. Because of all-around positive experiences she has had during her time in the Honors program, Carly strongly encourages other student athletes who are eligible to apply to the Honors Program.

A fourth Coyote athlete, Marissa Angulo, joined the University Honors Program. The cross-country runner is a first-year student majoring in Kinesiology and Allied Health Professions. She and her coach were unavailable for comment.

Nicole Tabuena
Nicole Tabuena

Carly Luna
Carly Luna

Marissa Angulo
Marissa Angulo


Students Conduct Research at Universities Around the US

Jacey Balleweg & Lana Klaib
This past summer, CSUSB’s University Honors Program watched many of its students as they chose lab coats over bathing suits. As in prior years, members of the program embarked on journeys of discovery in research labs both locally and out of state.
Melissa Taha, a third year who has a double major in Arabic and Biochemistry along with a minor in Biology, had the opportunity to participate in research with Dr. Andreas Beyersdorf this summer. They researched oxidative potentials and how pollutants in the San Bernardino air affect lung performance and overall health. During a visit at a NASA site, she learned how they collect air samples while flying in an aircraft and how to use devices that are able to show what particles while collecting air samples.
Crystal Solano, a 4th year psychology major, was able to participate in a summer research internship at Tufts University in Boston, MA. For the past year and a half, Crystal has been investigating the emotions behind perpetrators of discrimination, as well as the effects that they have on the receiver.  In this past summer, she explored solutions to problems of discrimination.
Along with these two high achieving students, Hannah Fejzic, a 4th year Chemistry major, spent her summer in Washington DC growing organic charge transfer crystals at Georgetown University.
Many of the students in CSUSB’s University Honors Program take advantage of summer opportunities, most through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The REU program pays for undergraduates to participate in hands-on research at universities around the country. Past CSUSB Honors students have successfully applied to labs at Harvard University, Brown University, The University of Virginia, and the University of Washington, among others.


Melissa Taha

Melissa Taha on a visit to NASA site visit


Hannah Fejzic

Hanna Fejzic in Washington DC during an REU at Georgetown University


Headed to the Ivy League

In 2016, two University Honors Program students were featured in a video produced in advance of their summer Research Experience for Undergraduate summer programs. Karina Vega traveled to Brown University to conduct Biology research while Erika Gutierrez went to Harvard to work on robotics.