Thursday, July 18

Undergraduate Award recognizes two students

Tuesday, November 26, 1996


Academics, service to community among the criteriaBy Kathryn

Daily Bruin Contributor

Anyone attending college can attest that the undergraduate years
are the foundation of a successful academic or professional

These years are where it all starts, where responsibility kicks
in and the real world becomes … real.

As much of a challenge as this can be, some students at UCLA
continue to rise to the occasion.

Brian Lester and Maria Virginia Dicono are two such students.
Lester and Dicono both received the 1996 College of Letters and
Science Undergraduate Award.

The Undergraduate Award is one of the more prestigious awards
given by UCLA. This year, in honor of Chancellor Young and his
wife, the award is called the Chancellor Charles and Sue Young

To be considered for the Undergraduate Award of $1,000, students
must be nominated by a member of the UCLA faculty. The college then
requires two recommendations, a resume, an academic transcript and
a personal statement from the student. The nominations are then
reviewed by the dean of the college and final recommendations are
submitted to the provost. Each student is evaluated according to
their academic standing, extracurricular activities and other
student contributions to the UCLA community.

According to the College of Letters and Science, this year’s
winners far surpassed these criteria.

Brian Lester, majoring in biochemistry, has a perfect 4.0 GPA
and in recent quarters has received multiple A+s for his academic

The College Honors senior will complete his degree this spring
and is in the process of applying to medical school.

"I’ve received multiple acceptances already from other
universities such as University of Michigan, University of Chicago
and Northwestern," said Lester, "but again I’d love to come to
UCLA," he continued.

Among his past distinctions, Lester has been named UCLA Regents
Scholar and National Merit Finalist. He is also a three-time winner
of the UCLA Alumni Achievement Award.

Lester has also participated in undergraduate research,
including the statistical aspects of a psychological study on
developmentally delayed children and quantum mechanics.

Maria Virginia Dicono, a fourth- year Spanish and Portuguese/
Linguistics student, recently completed her graduation requirements
this fall.

During her undergraduate career, she has maintained a perfect 4.
0 GPA while working full time as an interpreter and translator.

Born and raised in Latin America, Dicono and her family moved to
Los Angeles 17 years ago. Earlier this year, she became a U.S.

In her acceptance speech, Dicono attributed her success largely
to the support of her family.

"My being here this evening is an extension of the constant and
unfailing love and encouragement of my loving mother and sister,"
Dicono said.

Dicono will spend four months in Costa Rica teaching local
children English and Spanish grammar. Dicono says that her field
observations will be used to write her graduate school entrance
essay. Like Lester, she expressed interest in pursuing a graduate
degree at UCLA in applied linguistics.

"UCLA is like a home for me. It always had been and it always
will be," Dicono said.

In her acceptance speech, Dicono referred to a quote reflecting
the sentiment of both students ,"The only place where success comes
before work is the dictionary."

In this is the spirit and determination that both Lester and
Dicono have shown at UCLA.

"We recognize outstanding students … The only way we can see
into the future is to see into the effort of brilliance and
steadfastness of those that we teach," said actor Richard Dreyfuss,
who served as master of ceremonies for the awards banquet.

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