A dozen outstanding graduates to be honored at 2024 Commencement

Author: Strategic Marketing and Communications
May 7, 2024
A woman and man in Commencement regalia smile at the camera
Photo Credit: 2023 Hood Cristina Cabiles and former College of Health & Social Sciences Dean Alvin Alvarez at SF State's 2023 Commencement.

The student hood recipients will represent their academic colleges at the University’s 123rd graduation ceremony May 24.

A dozen outstanding graduates will be honored during San Francisco State University’s 123rd Commencement ceremony, to be held at Oracle Park Friday, May 24. They will represent their more than 7,300 graduating peers in the Class of 2024.

As part of a longstanding tradition, each of the University’s six academic colleges selects an undergraduate and a graduate student to represent their classmates and wear their college’s academic hood during the ceremony. Additionally, two of the hood recipients, one undergraduate and one graduate student, will each deliver a Commencement address.

More details about the ceremony are available on the Commencement website

Loan My Tran
B.A., Mathematics (Mathematics for Teaching)
College of Science & Engineering

Childhood experiences with mathematics, particularly those with her grandfather, made a lasting impact on Loan Tran. Her family emigrated from Vietnam. Growing up, she’d stay with her grandparents while her parents worked. Her grandfather taught her math and made worksheets for her. She’d happily memorize multiplication tables and enjoyed playing strategy games like Connect Four. Surrounded by so much math, she naturally gravitated towards STEM and Mathematics at SF State. In addition to majoring in Mathematics, she completed a minor in Computer Science. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Tran conducted original research as an undergraduate even though she initially didn’t know anything about math research. In 2022, she participated in the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Undergraduate Program. She set out to answer neuroscience-motivated math questions related to discrete math, geometry and computational algebra. For her academic achievements, Tran won the C.Y. Chow Memorial Scholarship, the Pamela Fong Scholarship in Mathematics, the David Meredith and Friends Scholarship and the Halmos Scholarship.

Interested in education, Tran volunteered as a tutor at Mastery Learning Hour and helped students with elementary school to high school-level math. She was also proudly a student assistant in the Department of Mathematics office. In her first

Loan My Tran

“real” job, she enjoyed building relationships with professors and using her problem-solving skills in a new setting. Working there for two years, she even wrote the operations guide for other student assistants.

Next, Tran will pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics to further explore her field and conduct more research. However, she still has an interest in a possible career as a high school math teacher.

Su Ilayada Ozcan

Su Ilayada Ozcan
M.S., Chemistry (Biochemistry)
College of Science & Engineering

Su Ozcan wants to develop new treatments without side effects. It’s a passion that stems from her early exposure to her grandfather’s battle with cancer. As an undergraduate in Turkey, she explored innovative therapies and gained two years of professional experience working with pharmaceutical companies. With women being relegated to the background and the value placed on science decreasing in her country, Ozcan decided to leave Turkey and pursue her academic goals in the United States.

As an international student at SF State, Ozcan focused on groundbreaking research in enzymology and medicinal chemistry to develop a novel side effect-free treatment for tuberculosis. She published these discoveries in scientific journals. She demonstrated her commitment to making a positive impact beyond the lab by serving as a teaching associate for two years. Accolades for her academic performance and commitment to science include the Henry Bertin Jr. Scholarship, the Agents of Change Build Merck Scholarship, the Bill Plachy TA (teaching assistant) Award and the CSU Trustees Award.

After SF State, Ozcan’s next step is to begin a Chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California, where she’s already been offered a graduate fellowship. Looking ahead, Ozcan is excited to continue her quest to develop new therapeutics and treatment strategies that will make an impact. She is eager to translate her academic research into

practical applications and hopes to eventually establish a pharmaceutical company. Beyond medicine, she aspires to continue being a teacher and create educational opportunities for underprivileged children. She also hopes to provide financial and moral support for others, especially women in science.

Read about all the other hood recipients on SF State News.