Two outstanding students wear College’s academic hood at Commencement
Every year, each of San Francisco State University’s six academic colleges selects two students — one undergraduate and one graduate — for the honor of wearing their college's academic hood during the Commencement ceremony. On May 27, two outstanding students represented their College of Health & Social Sciences classmates at SF State’s 115th Commencement.
The College’s undergraduate hood recipient was Colin Wong (B.A. '16, Liberal Arts and Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics). Prior to starting his senior year of high school in Fresno, Wong went from having perfect eyesight to complete blindness during the course of one month. Stricken with a rare condition called Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, he had to relearn how to function in a world without sight and has since made it his life's mission to excel far beyond any and all obstacles placed in his way. Wong will be earning bachelor's degrees in both liberal studies and consumer and family studies/dietetics after only three years as an undergraduate student.
While at SF State, Wong and his golden Lab guide dog, Wednesday, have kept quite busy between classes, with Colin volunteering as a peer counselor at The SAFE Place — a student resource center for sexual violence prevention and crisis intervention. As a public speaker for Guide Dogs for the Blind, he has taught awareness and understanding of the importance of guide dogs to Bay Area school children. He also serves as an athletic coach with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, part of KEEN San Francisco, a nonprofit providing recreational opportunities to children and young adults with disabilities.
In the fall, Wong will attend Louisiana Tech University to pursue a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology with a concentration in orientation and mobility. He aims to return to the Bay Area following school to continue teaching and inspiring children learning to live with blindness.
Jamie O’Quinn (M.A. '16, Human Sexuality Studies) received the College’s graduate hood. When O'Quinn was a child growing up in Thousand Oaks, her parents constantly stressed the importance of obtaining a quality, high-level education to her and her sister so they could one day seize opportunities her parents never had. Not to disappoint, Jamie's sister went on to graduate from law school, and Jamie herself will be earning her M.A. in human sexuality studies.
While at SF State, O'Quinn has won multiple scholarships and awards, including the prestigious California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral scholarship. She has presented her research at annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, the Pacific Sociological Association and Sociologists for Women in Society in addition to working on two research assistantships in HIV studies. O'Quinn's thesis analyzes the first proposed national standards for comprehensive sexuality education, “The Future of Sex Education." She explores how life course theories, sociological feminist analyses and queer theory can advance society's vision of sexuality education's capacity to affect social change.
Working toward her ultimate goal of being a sociology professor, O'Quinn has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in sociology with a concentration in gender at the University of Texas at Austin, where she will work in another research assistantship this summer and begin her doctoral study this fall.