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Students of Distinction

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STUDENTS OF DISTINCTION 2022


It is with great pride that we present the following students as the 2022​ Students of Distinction.  These students were nominated by faculty in their discipline for their outstanding academics.  

Ailiah Nguyen

Ailiah Nguyen

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 Communications
 Nominated by Professor Ammanda Moore 

'In Fall 2021 (Eng 9) and Spring 2022 (Hum8/Eng8), Aaliah Nguyen has displayed her immense desire to learn and engage deeply with the literature she encounters. In Fall 2021, she consistently engaged at a high level and thoroughly engrossed herself in understanding Shakespeare's work even in an online environment. Aaliah chose to examine challenging topics such as gender and sexuality in Shakespeare and expressed her learning through various forms, including essays, visual projects on Sway, and group discussions and annotation assignments. She is a pleasure to have as a student, and I'm sure she'll continue to do well in this field, wherever it takes her. I'd like to see her honored for her work.'-Ammanda Moore

Student of Distinction: Ailiah Nguyen


Briseida Faudoa

Briseida Faudoa

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 Biology
 Nominated by Professor Jesus A Reyes 

'Briseida has been a hard working student in my Biology courses for over a year, on top of pulling the highest grade in my 50B course, she is a mother that is balancing her family and school extremely well. Briseida is also a model student, she involves her classmates in her study sessions/quiz sessions. She actively encourages her classmates to create study videos and stay after class to go over the course material. She is a very bright student.'-Jesus A Reyes


Erick Pena

Erick Pena

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 Kinesiology
 Nominated by Professor Ruben Aguilar 

'It gives me tremendous pleasure to recommend Erick Pena to you for Students of Distinction. Erick is, in fact, a person about whom I can’t say enough.
I’ve known Erick for a year now, and over that time, I have had the privilege of watching an already seasoned young man acquire maturity, direction, responsibility, and achievement. I first met Erick when I was lucky enough to serve as his professor at Norco College. He was a young-minded student trying to navigate his way through college. I had the pleasure to meet with Erick in an office hour, where he explained his life situation and struggles of being a man of color in a place, he felt he didn’t belong, college. He failed my class and biology the previous semester and gave it one more chance in the face-to-face setting. After sharing my story and challenging him to change his study habits, surround himself with like-minded students, meet with professors during office hours, and read positive affirmation quotes daily. I have seen a complete change in Erick. He passed my class with an A, and although he struggled in biology, he was able to attain an A. Erick was on the verge of moving schools because he had failed biology two times already. This was his last semester to be successful, and he did. Erick is now fully active on campus; he is getting ready to be voted as the President of the Kinesiology Student Association (KSA) and has been involved with the events Men of Color and Umoja have hosted. Erick is a man of honesty and integrity whose depth of character is a model for others to emulate: he is a success-driven, results-oriented, committed, hard-working individual who possesses determination when faced with adversity and reflects caring and empathy in his interactions with others.
All these attributes make Erick Pena a wonderful person to know and, more to the point, to mentor. I have known many good souls at Norco College, but I can think of few I have encountered more deserving of acceptance such as this than Erick Pena. I recommend him for the Kinesiology Student of Distinction’.-Ruben Aguilar


Gael Montoya

Gael Montoya

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 Buisness
 Nominated by Professor Daniel Jesus Grajeda 

'Gael embodies the definition of being a servant leader. Through his empathetic leadership as president of MoC Community, the care and respect he shows his team, he helped grow the community from 40 to 80 members. Gael and his team set up community talks and social events for those he serves on a weekly basis with at least 20 attendees per event. Gael has consistently earned his teams respect and love. This is because Gael understands he must take care of his team through seeking to understand and care before asking for something. Gael Montoya does this while always remembering to be a scholar first. He just accepted to be a future Titan. A fitting mascot for this servant leader. Powerful, humble, community builder, and shakes the ground where he sets his heart.'-Daniel Jesus Grajeda

Student of Distinction: Gael Montoya


Jennifer Navaro-Garcia

Jennifer Navaro-Garcia

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 Art
 Nominated by Professor Megan Lindeman 

'A+ student, super active Art Club board member, current Art Major transferring to Cal State Long Beach in the Fall, she manages a lot of responsibility between her schoolwork, her home life and her outstanding art work and employment.'-Megan Lindeman

Student of Distinction: Jennifer Navaro-Garcia


Michael Ortiz

Michael Ortiz

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 Music Industry Studies
 Nominated by Professor Brady Kerr 

'Current president and ICC rep for MIS. Excellent recording studio tech. Friendly, helpful and engaging with peers. Sets a great example of what it means to be a valued part of the Norco Music family.'-Brady Kerr


Payton Cavanagh

Payton Cavanagh

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 Computer Information Systems
 Nominated by Professor Judy Perry 

'Payton demonstrated a curiosity about learning C++ programming beyond what was demonstrated in class. He has a determination to understand the concepts and put them into action. He made use of all the resources available to ensure not only his success, but outstanding performance in class. His ability to communicate is outstanding and he utilized that ability to help others in class. I then referred him to tutor training and he completed ILA-1 in preparation for a paid tutor role. Payton is an outstanding individual.'-Judy Perry


Posese Pulu

Posese Pulu

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 Political Science
 Nominated by Professor Christine Jun 

'Posese Pulu's contribution to class has been outstanding. He not only reads the material in the class but demonstrates his critical understanding of the material in the weekly discussion assignments and essays. Not only that, he meaningfully replies to his classmates' post rather than perfunctorily replying, "I totally agree with that you had to say". Alas, a handful of students still think that this is an appropriate reply. '-Christine Jun

Student of Distinction: Posese Pulu


Tony Gesualdo

Tony Gesualdo

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 Drafting
 Nominated by Professor Farshid Mirzaei 

'Tony has been taking Drafting classes such as ENE-42 and ENE-21 since Fall 2021. Regardless of his age limits as an adult student he pushed all his limits away and have been at top of my class as an example of success. He shows up always on time and brings good questions to class. Also Tony helps his classmates and guides them through the challenges of their education. Engineering CAD courses are often very complicated with minds with no background but he did a great job in all his homework and assignments.'- Farshid Mirzaei


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