Graduating seniors Mairead Argus and Carlos A. Vergara, both of Long Beach, have been named President’s Scholars with the 2013 incoming freshman class at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). As such, the two have been awarded full, four-year scholarships from the university worth about $70,000 each.
Argus, a valedictorian for the Class of 2013 at the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS) in Carson, is the daughter of Frank Argus of Long Beach. She is planning to major in chemical engineering at Cal State Long Beach with a career goal of a job in the space industry.
Vergara, a valedictorian in the Class of 2013 at Lakewood High School, is the son of Maria Vergara of Long Beach. He has declared a major in aerospace engineering.
The CSULB President’s Scholars Program was created in 1995 in an effort to bring valedictorians and national scholars from California high schools to the Long Beach campus. It is recognized as the premier program of its kind in the state, and since its inception, nearly 1,100 students from throughout the state have been selected for the program.
“The President’s Scholars Program at Cal State Long Beach is recognized as the premier scholarship program of its kind in California, and it is extremely competitive,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “We received more than 700 applications for these scholarships this year, but only 25 students were selected to be part of this incoming group of academically talented students.”
A two-year member of the California Scholarship Federation, Argus is a competitive Irish dancer. She is a four-year member of CAMS’ dance program and performed in and choreographed for the school dance show for four consecutive years. Among her other extracurricular activities, Argus served as president of the Book Club.
“I want to be a chemical engineer…because it’s what I am interested in,” Argus noted in her essay, which also pointed out that her father and grandfather are chemical engineers. “I know from my dad that CSULB is one of the top schools recruited by local engineering firms. CSULB is known on the west coast for its engineering program, and attending CSULB as a President’s Scholar (will) help me reach my career goal of getting a job at a large engineering company like Boeing.”
While at Lakewood High, Vergara co-founded three different groups, serving as president of the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement) Club, president of the Remote Operated Vehicle Team, and secretary/treasurer of the Playa Playa Club, which focused on teaching young people good social etiquette and chivalry. He was also president of the school’s Solar Grand Prix Team in 2012 and a member of Lakewood’s Academic Decathlon team. Outside of school, he completed more than 400 hours of community service at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
“By getting involved in clubs related to my interest in science and engineering, I continue my quest to understand life,” Vergara said in his essay. “I want to put my knowledge to work in ways never imagined before to solve the problems this world has recently encountered, whether it is to find a renewable source of energy or help explore the cosmos as an aerospace engineer.”
As President’s Scholars, Argus and Vergara will attend CSULB on full scholarships, which cover tuition, student fees, an annual book stipend and paid housing in the campus residence halls for four years. In addition, they will receive priority registration, personalized advising, guaranteed acceptance to the University Honors Program and an opportunity for international study abroad housing and more.
To be eligible for the President’s Scholars Program and scholarship, students must be a senior class valedictorian or ranked No. 1 at their high school, a National Merit finalist or semi-finalist, a National Achievement Scholar or a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar.
The benefits for qualifying valedictorians and National scholars from accredited California high schools are made possible through the support of the CSULB Alumni Association, President’s Associates and the Corporate Scholars Council.
With more than 36,250 (fall 2012), Cal State Long Beach is among the largest university campuses in California. It is a part of the 23-campus California State University system, the largest public higher education system in the nation.