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March 29, 2001
Contact: Tim Woodhull



California State University, Dominguez Hills student wins prestigious national fellowship to pay for graduate study 

A graduating senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills has been awarded a major fellowship to pursue graduate school in his chosen field of study.

Luis Campos was selected from among more than 930 applicants to receive the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. The $20,000 per year pays tuition and fees for up to two years of graduate study in the United States. In all, 30 recipients are selected. 

Campos is a product of the university’s Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase the number of under represented minorities obtaining doctorates in the biomedical sciences.  He plans to receive his degree in organic chemistry and continue his post-doctoral work at a research institution.

Honors have not always come easily to Campos, who migrated 11 years ago from Mexico with his family. In fact, Campos says he felt alone and separated from classmates in elementary school because of his inability to communicate in English.

Determined to succeed, he studied long and hard to overcome those challenges. By the time he graduated from Gardena High School, his grades placed him among the top 5 percent of his class. Uncertain of the college for which he was best suited, Campos consulted a community college counselor who encouraged him to consider a four-year school. Eventually, he settled on CSU Dominguez Hills.

Science seemed a natural choice for Campos: His mother has a degree in biochemistry and some of his earliest memories are visiting her in the laboratory where she worked in Mexico. “Her mentoring advice and support to follow her footsteps and continue my education in college began at an early stage of my life,” he says.

In fact, his introduction as a student to chemistry at Dominguez Hills convinced him to change his major. He has never regretted that decision.

“Research is like a dream,” Campos says. “I enjoy it so much that I could spend the whole day in the lab. To me, research is like unfolding a mystery story.”

Having already been accepted for graduate study at Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Northwestern, UCSD and UCLA, Campos notes, “Being the first in my family to pursue such a degree and belonging to an underrepresented group in the sciences motivates me to do my best.”

Further information may be obtained by contacting Thomas Landefeld, associate dean, Faculty Affairs and Scholarly Activities, (310) 243-3389.