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Merced College Student of the Month

February 2009

Jennifer Stark

Outstanding Student of the Year 2008-09

Jennifer Stark

Major:                           Psychology 

Interests:                       volunteer work 

Future Goals:                PhD in Psychology, law school 

Nominating Instructor:  Dr. Gary Gargano, Professor of Psychology 


 Jennifer Stark has been chosen as the February Outstanding Student of the Month for 2009.  She is from the bay area and currently lives in Mariposa with her nine-year-old son, Nathan.  Jennifer has overcome some hardships with the death of two family members and she had to drop out of school at that time.  This is now her fourth semester and she is preparing to graduate in May.  Dr. Gargano, Professor of Psychology states, "Jennifer is the the most outstanding student I have taught in my six years at Merced College." He notes, " she is a great role model not only for her son and family, but for other single mothers." 

She is graduating with honors and currently has a 3.97 transfer GPA.  She received the Cynthia E. Garcia Community Service Scholarship and has been inducted into both honor societies on campus, AGS and PTK. Jennifer has demonstrated academic excellence in both written work and oral presentations, and has shown the ability to work as a leader on group projects, notes Gargano. She is highly motivated not only in the classroom but she also started a psychology club on campus to get students involved in campus events and activities.  The membership includes 60 students and participation continues to rise.  She started a speaker series to promote student awareness in the fields of psychology.   The club is also involved in community service. In addition, she is a student representative for the Research Assistant Team here at Merced College.   Jennifer states, "I personally believe that being involved and helping others contributes to academic success. I want to encourage as many students as possible to aim for academic excellence." 

Outside of school he is a member of the American Association of University Women and the Mariposa Habitat for Humanity.  She mentors teenage girls in a local group home and helps to develop life skills and set healthier lifestyles.  She was honored to be chosen by a local judge to be a member of the Mariposa County Grand Jury.  Jennifer attributes much of her success to the vast opportunities she had at Merced College.  Through her experiences and the  wealth of knowledge from her instructors she has taken the direction of research psychology.  She has been accepted to UC Merced and is applying for Stanford University and UC Berkeley and  would like to earn her PhD in psychology and continue on to law school for her Juris Doctorate. 


 Jennifer was recognized at a recent Board of Trustees Meeting with a certificate and parking permit for the month as well as a check for $50. Congratulations to Jennifer Stark the February Outstanding Student.  

Jennifer was recently chosen as the Merced College Outstanding Student of the Year.  She was presented her award among friends and family  for her outstanding achievement at the May Board of Trustees Meeting.  She expressed her excitement for this award and sincere thanks to Dr. Gary Gargano for helping her throughout her career here at Merced College.  In the fall she will attend UC Merced to continue her education endeavors. Best wishes to Jennifer!   


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Last updated on 05-22-09 by Michelle Pecchenino