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Group of freshmen enter SFSU at head of class as Presidential Scholars



Matt Itelson
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1743
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Twenty-five top freshmen receive four-year scholarship worth up to $17,000

SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, 2003 -- Students with dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, journalists and filmmakers were recently tapped to lead the San Francisco State University freshman class as Presidential Scholars.

The total value of the scholarship for each student is about $17,000 over four years. It is the University’s most distinguished academic award for first-time freshmen.

The 25 students are among the more than 2,000 first-time freshmen at SFSU this fall.

Students in the Presidential Scholars program receive support for up to eight semesters of full tuition fees, aid for housing and textbooks, and priority course registration. They also take two general education courses together as a freshman cohort and attend special seminars and cultural events to develop academic skills and expand their intellectual experiences.

Students in this year’s incoming class of Presidential Scholars are: Caroline Allen of Folsom, Winnie Chow of Daly City, Dashiell Collins of Newport Beach, Christopher DeCarlo of San Pablo, Evie Fong of San Francisco, Vicky Fong of Daly City, Davina and Simin Jones of El Granada, Courtney Leslie of Belmont, Erin O’Donnell of Citrus Heights, Elizabeth Papp of San Jose, Wendy Pei of Chino Hills, Tiffany Poyadue of Oakley, Joseph Price of Bonita, Jessica Quan of San Carlos, Heather Riggall of Vallejo, Adam Sawyer of Palm Springs, Karen Schlesser of Stockton, Sara Shayesteh of Foster City, David Tabari of Tarzana, Sachiko Tahara of Folsom, Mirna Tarazi of Fremont, Joanne Ticsay of Daly City, Derek Waterman of Suisun City, and Sierra Zumwalt of Cambria.

Admission to the Presidential Scholars program is based on academic and personal achievement, extracurricular activities in high school and the community, leadership potential and the ability to express oneself effectively. It is open to first-time freshmen and California residents only. Most applicants have a grade-point average of 3.8 or higher and an SAT score of 1100 or higher.

Since SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan founded the program in 1995, many of its graduates have gone on to successful careers and prestigious graduate schools such as UCLA and Stanford University. Nick Krautter has started his own flourishing musician management company. Nelly Lau recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in electrical engineering -- one of only 46 awarded in the nation -- and enters Stanford’s doctoral program in electrical engineering this fall. John Dilley and Kit Fox became close friends and made a short film that screened at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

"I always enjoy getting to know the Presidential Scholars," Corrigan said. "They are the cream of the crop -- an enthusiastic, bright and diverse group who are easily the equal of their peers at the nation’s most prestigious universities. We are delighted to be able to provide them with ample financial support and participation in culturally enriching activities. We are proud that they have chosen to attend San Francisco State."

The Presidential Scholars program is funded by million-dollar gifts from the Bernard Osher Foundation and Evergreen group founder and Chairman Y.F. Chang, as well as other smaller donations. The University recently received an additional $100,000 from Chairman Chang to provide housing assistance for students in their first year.

For details on the SFSU Presidential Scholars program, call (415) 338-2789 or visit:

One of the largest campuses in the California State University system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.


NOTE: To arrange interviews with any of the Presidential Scholars, contact Matt Itelson of the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1743 or

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Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs