San Marcos,
10:33 AM

Biological Sciences Student Earns CSU Trustees' Award

Press Release | By Eric Breier

Francisco Fernandez arrived in the United States in 2011 with dreams of pursuing an education so he could help his family in Mexico.

Francisco took English classes, obtained his GED and enrolled in community college while working at a car wash to support himself.

While enrolled at Palomar College, Francisco participated in the North San Diego County Bridges to the Future Program, a partnership between CSUSM, Palomar and MiraCosta to help prepare underrepresented students for a seamless transition to a four-year university and a career in biomedical sciences. The program includes a stipend for students, which allowed Francisco to ease up on the number of hours he was working each week and spend more time focusing on his classes and research.

Now in his senior year at Cal State San Marcos, Francisco was recently awarded the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, which is given each year to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need.​​​

“I made my goal to help my family, and the best way to do that was by obtaining an education,” said Fernandez, who is a Trustee Emeritus Kenneth Fong Scholar.

Francisco, a molecular and cellular biology major, is part of CSUSM’s highly competitive Maximizing Access to Research Careers-Undergraduate Student Training Research (MARC U*STAR) program.

Working in the lab of CSUSM professor of biological sciences Matthew Escobar, Francisco worked on a project focused on characterizing the role of class III glutaredoxins in Arabidopsis thaliana root development. Francisco has presented his work at conferences, symposiums and research competitions.

Francisco will graduate from CSUSM in May. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical research and continue his mentorship of educationally at-risk students.

The CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Foundation Board of Governors, faculty, students and staff publicly recognized the scholars during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 19. The scholars include one student from each of the CSU's 23 campuses, along with the top-scoring CSU-wide scholar.

More than 340 CSU students have been honored with this award since the program’s creation in 1984.

The scholarship program was established by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation as an endowed scholarship fund to honor William Randolph Hearst, founder of the Hearst newspaper chain. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees, CSU Foundation Board of Governors and private donors.


About California State University San Marcos

Building on an innovative 27-year history, California State University San Marcos is a forward-focused institution, dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities and solving critical issues. Located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the City of San Marcos, it is the only public four-year comprehensive university serving North San Diego, Southwest Riverside and South Orange Counties.

The University enrolls nearly 17,000 students. With approximately 2,000 employees, the institution is a Great College to Work For® (The Chronicle of Higher Education). As a recipient of the annual HEED Award since 2014—a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—CSUSM is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.